Lyn McConnell, a member of the Tauranga Floral Art Group, has taken out the New Zealand Floral Art Designer of the Year title at the recent national conference in Gisborne.

Her design, which featured sunflowers on the competition theme of First Light Day Bright, was a 3m-high representation of Mt Hikurangi and also included a vine from her neighbour’s garden and driftwood.

Lyn, who lives at Mount Maunganui, has been involved with floral art for 40 years but almost didn’t make the national competition after being placed second in the qualifying regional contest – however, the winner was unable to go to Gisborne so Lyn was asked to take her place.

The Tauranga group scored another coup at the conference with Fay Edgecombe being elected as the new national president, the third time someone from Tauranga has held this post.

Natalie and Brian Simmonds with their Grand Champion plant, Tillandsia tectorum. Photo: Sandra Simpson

I’ve mentioned the success of Natalie Simmonds previously, but will recap here as I now have a photo and a little bit more information about the sucess of the BOP Bromeliad Group at the show held as part of the Australasian conference in Auckland.

Natalie’s plant, a birthday gift from husband Brian 18 years ago, also won Best Large Tillandsia, Best Tillandsia Species and Best Specimen Plant.

The local group also had two other winners – Johanna Elder took First place in the Tillandsia Small Foliage class, also with a tectorum, while Audrey Hewson was First in the Pitcairnioideae class with a Deuterocohnia brevifolia, a clumping bromeliad (see some pictures here).

“I’ve had my Tillandsia tectorum for 15 or 20 years,” Jo says, “and it’s still only about 10 inches by 8 inches. It’s a very tight-growing plant and is like a ball of cotton wool.”


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