A French Adventure…

Former lawyer Karen Cope has found her true vocation as a florist! Karen completed her Level 3 Diploma with us and then spent part of the summer gaining work experience with French Flower Style in France. Here’s her personal account of what sounds like the perfect adventure!

step 5 - add central focus

Floristry barbecue design

Now’s the time to make the most of the longer days and (hopefully) sunny weather with a barbecue or party for your family and friends. Whether it’s a birthday, sporting event or the end of exams, there’s bound to be a reason to celebrate – and a floral table design adds the finishing touch.

Laura Leong shares best practice with floristry tutors

Floristry tutors learn new skills from award winning designer

Reaseheath floristry department championed industry best practice at their latest ‘floristry tutors event’ for floristry tutors. Over 30 tutors traveled to the Nantwich college from as far afield as Scotland and Southampton on Sunday 5th February to take part in professional development sessions with international floral designer Laura Leong. The 2016 Europa Cup for Florists winner, Laura, presented and inspired tutors with her innovative strategies designed to help enhance the delivery of professional design theories to both Level 2 and 3 floristry students.

florists explore colour

Florists explore colour at tutor day workshop


Tutors spent time observing Laura demonstrate European design principles and also took part in a variety of floral workshops including exploring linear design and colour.

Laura Leong shares best practice with floristry tutors

Laura Leong shares best practice with floristry tutors


The day proved a great networking opportunity with plenty best practice shared. Reaseheath floristry team are now looking to work more closely with Wigan and Leigh and Durham Colleges in the near future.

Find out more about Reaseheath full-time floristry courses here.

For the latest floristry day workshops and other and other leisure courses see here.

Sue Poole, Programme Leader for Floristry and Horticulture

Nantwich Flower Festival

Nantwich Flower Festival

Nantwich Flower Festival

Reaseheath Floristry students got involved in British Flowers Week this week, producing designs for the Quinquennial Flower Festival being held at St Mary’s Church, Nantwich.

Level 3 Diploma students, Shiona Fosh, Jackie Tudor and Abbey Rowley and Level 2 Diploma student Miriam Lewendon, went to the Nantwich church to design displays for the Nantwich Flower Festival. Held for four days from Thursday 16th June to Sunday 19th June, the festival’s theme is ‘The Glory of Nantwich’.

More than 40 floral displays will feature many aspects of Nantwich life, both past and present. Our students completed designs for the altar area.

If you’d like to see their designs for yourselves entry is just £3 and free for children.

Covent garden flower market

RHS Chelsea

Photo credit @shaneconnollyandco

Photo credit @shaneconnollyandco

It all began with a blog from Rona Wheeldon congratulating Shane Connolly on his invitation to produce a floral arch at the Chelsea Flower Show to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.  In this blog, Shane commented on how students of floristry would be assisting with this project. On reading this, we emailed @Shane Connolly & Co to offer our services, we were already competing in the College of the Year competition and to represent Reaseheath Floristry on a second occasion at the prestigious event would be fantastic. We received an email accepting our offer of help and so the journey began.

On Friday 20th May, 2 lecturers, Fiona Davies, Helen Cooke and 4 students, Clare Street, Lee Law, Sophie Garratt and Abi Rowley travelled to Covent Garden flower market and helped condition the beautiful British flowers and foliage that were arriving throughout the day.

On Saturday 21st May, Fiona and Helen worked through the night with a team of volunteer florists and the incredible professional and caring team from Shane Connolly installing the floral arch. Watching this structure grow from a scaffold frame to a stunning arch way bedecked with fabulous British foliage, plants and flowers was incredible, a floral journey we will never forget.

The arch way was a gift to the Queen, all time and materials used were offered on a voluntary basis, a true gift of beauty and opportunity.


standardisation day CROP

Setting the standards for Floristry training

standardisation day CROP

Hugh Baird College’s Floristry team hosted industry professionals, training providers and florists from across the country for a Floristry Standardisation Day.

The aim of the day was to get as many employers, professional florists and training providers as possible to maintain high standards in all of the qualifications delivered.  Working in collaboration ensures that the training provided helps our students develop the skills, knowledge and experience employers need in their future staff.

Members of Reaseheath’s floristry team joined other delegates (including employers, international designers, a BFA representative and a leading wholesale manager) for the day jam packed with latest updates on industry best practice. The morning session involved representatives sharing news and updates from both the British Florist Association and Country Baskets Wholesalers.

delegates to industry standardisation day

The event also included updates from Kate Whelan who was representing the British Florist Association and the Institute of Professional Florists. The afternoon session looked at current and upcoming qualifications and an internal quality assurance exercise, enabling delegates to compare their own assessment methods and levels with those of other providers, as well as against examining guidelines.

The finale of the day was a demonstration by International designer Julie Pearson who inspired the team with her innovative and creative work.

Robyn Longden

Robyn prepares for competition on a world stage

Talented Level 3 Floristry student Robyn Longden has been long listed for the WorldSkills UK squad 2017. WorldSkills is a global, Olympics style competition which showcases the skills and value of young professionals in vocational industries.

Robyn’s talent was spotted during a strong performance in the WorldSkills UK national finals last November.  Potential team members from a wide range of backgrounds, from aeronautical engineering to jewellery making, are now on a programme of training. Those finally selected for Team UK will contest the next WorldSkills finals in Abu Dhabi in 2017.

Reaseheath College's Assistant Principal  Jo Maher leads training activities with WorldSkills UK long squad

Reaseheath College’s Assistant Principal Jo Maher leads training activities with WorldSkills UK long squad

We hope that Robyn will follow in the footsteps of former Reaseheath horticulture student Matt Beesley, who, with fellow team member Jonathan Gill from Northern Ireland, won Team UK’s first ever medal in landscape gardening at the WorldSkills final in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2015.

Robyn’s training began with a motivational training camp attended by 160 talented young people from across the country. Three Reaseheath staff members, including Assistant Principal Jo Maher, played key roles in the camp by delivering interactive psychology sessions.

Robyn Longden

Robyn Longden

Jo Maher has been supporting Team UK as their Performance Psychologist since WorldSkills Leipzig in 2013 and travelled with Team UK to Brazil last summer.

Here we join Robyn on her journey….

Our training weekend started off with a presentation telling us about what to expect and congratulating us on making it through to the UK squad.

On Saturday we had to carry out a number of teamwork activities including climbing through a spider’s web made out of string, testing our reactions and even playing darts while sitting down.

Sunday began with Zumba at 6.30 am. During the day we got to know our mentors and found out more about the training we will be receiving.

This weekend was all about making new friends and getting to know the people in the squad and also meeting the people that will be supporting us along the way in our bid to compete against the rest of the world in Abu Dhabi.

Robyn Longden - RHS Tatton

Second win for Reaseheath florists at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park

Reaseheath floristry students were celebrating after winning the RHS Tatton Park Floristry College of the Year Competition for the second year running.

The prestigious competition, which was launched in 2014, is open to UK based floristry colleges and training providers and showcases the talent of students.

Reaseheath’s victorious team were Level 3 Diploma in Floristry students Carol Edgington, 45, from Kidsgrove, Robyn Longden, 19, from Stockport and Rachel Collinson-Fletcher, 26, from Shawbury, Shropshire. They were supported by Head of Floristry Sue Poole.

The students, who were commended by Chairman of Judges Ian Lloyd for their contemporary design skills and for the impeccable condition of their flowers, foliage and materials, have now qualified for the national finals at the Chelsea Flower Show 2016. Reaseheath’s student team took the ‘runner-up’ title at Chelsea this year.

The challenge at Tatton was to create four designs which represented ‘Musical Through Time’.  Reaseheath’s florists chose ‘My Fair Lady’ as their theme and created a hat, a wired bouquet, a buffet table arrangement and an arrangement for the entrance of the theatre.

As well as winning the college competition they also won a silver gilt medal for their stand.

Ian Lloyd, who is a senior RHS floristry judge, said: “The stand was immaculate and the finish and presentation were excellent. The whole exhibit was a real credit to Reaseheath’s students and all the judges were extremely impressed.”

Visit our winning student design in the Floral Design Studio at RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, open until Sunday July 27.

For more about our floristry courses visit

Robyn Longden - RHS Tatton

carol edginton - RHS Tatton

My Fair Lady - RHS Tatton


floristry trip holland

Florists see latest developments in international industry

Our floristry students enjoyed an action packed one day study tour to Holland, where they had their eyes opened to the latest technical developments and commercial business practices within their multi million pound international industry.

The group, who were accompanied by lecturers  Sue Poole and Helen Cooke, visited the Rijnsburg auction house, which is part of the Flora Holland group. FloraHolland is  the world’s largest auction organisation, processing over 12 billion flowers and plants a year.

Our students were privileged to have a behind-the-scenes tour of the site and learned how the auction clocks work, a system used to ensure the highest prices are always established.

Robyn Longden, Sophie Garratt, Bethany Allen and Pip Atkin enjoy a spectacular flower display in Holland

Robyn Longden, Sophie Garratt, Bethany Allen and Pip Atkin enjoy a spectacular flower display in Holland

They then went to the headquarters of Heemskerk Flowers, one of the largest exporters of flowers and plants in the Netherlands. Our students experienced what it is like to be a buyer and enjoyed hands-on experience of winning a bid at auction!

The group also toured the picking and logistics areas, where systems are mostly automated, and the bouquet department, where a small team of staff make up pre-ordered bouquets for delivery; packing and transport areas.

Two visits to growers of lilies and roses were also fitted in, with our students being bowled over by the huge expanse of glass and sheer quantities and quality of flowers grown.

Despite the long day, both students and staff had a brilliant time. Commented student Jennifer Guyan: “I loved the day and would definitely recommend it. The tours were a real eye opener, particularly into just how much the international floristry industry is worth.”