A Milton Keynes social enterprise, Branch-out MK CIC, won its first medal at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021. Their entry was in the Floral Art and Floristry Competition.
Branch-out MK CIC, is based in Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes and work with adults with learning differences and autism. They grow flowers in a sustainable manner without pesticides or peat. As well as growing the flowers they also create sustainable bridal flowers, farewell tributes and hand tied bouquets.
Theresa Wedderburn, director, designed and created her display entirely from the flowers grown and dried by the adults who work with her. She said:
“We entered the competition because I wanted to educate people about our social enterprise and to highlight that everyone in society can be involved and contribute to a rich and vibrant community. We were obviously delighted to be selected out of hundreds of submissions to create a floral window display for the Chelsea Flower Show. And then, winning a bronze was amazing! I’m not a formerly trained florist so it was pretty nerve wracking having the very best of UK florists judge our work. We lost points for not being technically accurate. But, the judges absolutely loved our creativity and it seemed to be a firm public favourite.
About the Display
They made the eco-friendly display entirely from MK grown (not flown) flowers. Each part works in harmony with nature. Because of her love of nature, Theresa avoids the use of chemicals, paints, dyes and plastics. Even the papier-mâché skull is made from paper with almond and potato starch glue. Along with this, they grow the seasonal flowers and foliage in peat-free soils. Finally, they naturally preserved the flowers before using them to form a skull surrounded by insects.
“My inspiration for the display was ‘Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it’ which is a quote by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The exhibit captures fleeting moments of life, preserved in time and is based on my interpretation of preserved flowers. These are often seen as dead and only good for composting, but in fact seed heads and dying flowers are rich habitats for overwintering insects so therefore help to nurture new life. When preparing your garden for winter, don’t make it too tidy!”
The display will be available to view until the show closes on Sunday, 26 September. At the end of the exhibition, view the incredible work of art at York House Centre, Stony Stratford.
Many thanks to Karen Parker for the photograph of Theresa at Chelsea Flower Show.
About Branch Out MK CIC
Branch-out MK CIC is a Community Interest Company, a not-for-profit organisation that supports adults with learning differences and autism through social & therapeutic horticulture.
We grow a wide variety of seasonal, speciality, cut flowers to sell from our workshop, at farmers markets & through local independent shops.
In addition, you can also commission us to create bridal bouquets and wedding flowers, farewell flowers and special occasion displays. Alternatively, we can supply cut flowers to event and wedding florists.
Every person who attends Branch Out sessions will improve their self-confidence and learn new practical skills. They’ll also enjoy a relaxed social atmosphere where they can meet new people and make new friend. All of this while helping to grow top quality British cut flowers.
Branch-out MK CIC is based at York House Centre in Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes.