Published: 11 June 2013
NAFAS Blooms Below The Waves
Arranging flowers underwater by members of NAFAS was not part of their 2013 Chelsea Show display. What was on view however was some high tech science mixed with stunning floral displays.
Once again the ladies from NAFAS produced an inspiring floral display that had a huge message attached.  

The title of this year stand was ‘Far Below the Sea Blooms’ and gave the show team an opportunity to showcase a unique and vibrant presentation that was certainly a crowd pleaser.

The creation evolved from the pioneering work of world famous biologist Jacques Cousteau who first raised our awareness of the beauty and fragility of the marine life within our seas.

The focus of the floral display replicated the underwater structures and coral reefs by using plant material to replicate the mass of rainbow colours and subtle tones as well as highlighting the iridescence found amongst marine life.

Scottish Connection

NAFAS members worked with some key horticultural establishments including the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Logan Botanic Garden and Threave Estate Castle Douglas [NTS]. These centres provided much of the plant material for creating the display.

The Scottish connection went even deeper with the use of sustainably harvested seaweed from Orkney being used as the fertiliser for propagating and the growing on for many of the plants being used.

The designers also worked in partnership with the Marine Biodiscovery Centre at the University of Aberdeen. Here the chemists have ongoing research programs with marine life forms that are yielding new drugs to combat certain diseases, including certain cancers. A presentation explained the impact that marine derived pharmaceuticals are now having in the world of medical treatments.

Natural Alternatives

Natural fibres used as alternatives to wool included Seacell, this is made from seaweed, and looks and feels like Tussah silk with its long lustrous honey coloured fibres that are good for spinning. The soft white fibre produced from Bamboo was also used in the display.

The Chelsea exhibit also used other sustainable materials derived from marine and plant material to create the underwater seascape.

Examples of the natural dyes used as an alternative to paint included Beetroot, Brambles, Alkanet, Rhododendron ponticum and Turmeric. 

Key Objectives

One of the key objectives of this great display was to raise the awareness of how important the health and biodiversity of the oceans are and what an integral part they play in many of the Earth’s natural systems, including the climate.
One of the NAFAS organisations objectives is to ‘Encourage the conservation of rare and endangered species of flowers and plants’.  By going ‘underwater’ this year’s show display is a great reminder of the importance of our marine flora.   

The 2013 Gold medal winning display was created by members from Scottish branches of NAFAS, next year a different region will design and build the Chelsea exhibit.  

The NAFAS team with an admirer
Reported by Chris Allen  

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