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Florists on world stage

Two TAFE floristry students had the experience of a life time when they spent 10 days rubbing shoulders with some of the world' best florists at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Two TAFE floristry students had the experience of a life time when they spent 10 days rubbing shoulders with some of the world' best florists at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Stevie Mitchell and Donna O'Connor are studying a Certificate III in Floristry at TAFE and are now ready to put a new spin on their art.

The Chelsea Flower Show is one of the largest flower shows in the world, and the most prestigious. It has been held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London every year since 1913, apart from gaps during the two World Wars.

Stevie and Donna helped designer Joseph Massie install 7000 roses on an arched roof of a tunnel within the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea before the show opened. "It took us three days to do that, we were up on scaffolding putting every rose in its place," Stevie told theMaitland Mercury. "There are a lot of different designs and techniques being used over there that we've been able to bring back here."

It's the first time TAFE has offered a group of students the opportunity to experience floristry on the world stage. Stevie said she's always wanted to be a florist but never imagined she would be part of the Chelsea Flower Show. "It's the pinnacle event over there, the Queen attends it and most people know about it even if they aren't into flowers," she said.

Donna was drawn to floristry three years ago after working as a scientist with BHP for 20 years. "I've always had a creative side so when the opportunity came up I thought I'd give it a go," she told the Maitland Mercury.