skip to content

Big wins for floristry!

Bridie Conway wins gold at Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show_Intermediate StudentFloristry student Bridie Conway has been awarded a gold medal at the prestigious Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. We met Bridie to chat about her course and medal-winning performance.

“I’ve had my own cake business, so I gained lots of experience playing with flowers and absolutely loved it! As I wound down my business, I wanted my next focus to be more in the floral industry. Floristry requires an eye for detail and creativity and the ability to communicate well with customers and colleagues alike." 

“My course has given me a great opportunity to practice with a range of flowers and styles and access to experiences like the flower market and the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show – where I placed first in the Intermediate Student competition."

“Preparing for the flower show was really interesting. It was the first time I had to think critically about incorporating the different elements and principles of flower design. In the lead-up, I visited the flower market and foraged through family and neighbours’ yards. Despite not having a lot of physical practice, I did a lot of sketching and designing in advance. Working through that process and feeling confident about my choices was great. It was a really friendly competition, with a lot of encouragement from contestants within The Gordon and other schools." 

Competitors were required to construct a floral arrangement on a structure, embracing the theme 'A moment in time'. Bridie chose a firecracker; a moment of light and colour, a moment of cheer and celebration, a moment for change and new beginnings. 

“It was a really exciting moment when I found out I won! I was super proud of my display, so to be recognised for that was awesome. Creating something fun, exciting, and expressive and having complete creative control over the design was one of the most fulfilling aspects of participating in the MIFGS."

Bridie’s competition experience has challenged her skills and creativity, helping her to grow. “It was great exposure to the industry, and it gave me a really good experience working in conditions where there are time constraints, working in a different environment, and keeping to a brief or set specifications.”

Bridie continued, stating that having teachers that have worked or are currently working in the floristry industry is really helpful and leads to great stories, advice, and real-world tips and tricks. Gordon Floristry teacher Natalie Raffaele led a team of students in constructing The Gordon’s silver medal-winning Visual Display.

The Gordon's silver medal winning Visual Display at Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show“Planning begins by deciding on a concept and choosing a design that satisfies three key variables - including a freestanding design (6x3 m space) that can be made on site, careful consideration of the logistics of transport and labour required, and botanicals suitable to fit the design brief, and that will last the five days of the show.
“All students participated onsite with the preparation of botanicals, and some of our apprentices worked on The Gordon’s display. This involved working to a design brief, demonstrating OH&S standards, working as a team, and communicating with each other.
“Our concept was an urban jungle, using tropical leaves, brightly coloured paints, and a concrete wall backdrop. Twenty-two competitors competed in large-scale designs. Although it is a competition, the atmosphere at MIFGS is always friendly and supportive. 
“The student experience is amazing. Being surrounded by creative, talented, like-minded people from all over Australia provides students with the opportunity to expand their horizons and learn in a unique way. It is a unique environment where students must learn to plan and execute a design, develop skills in estimating quantities and work within a budget. Combining colour, form, and longevity to make suitable botanical choices also helps prepare the students for the challenges often faced in the workforce.”

MIFGS is a yearly opportunity in the floral industry to network, collaborate and have fun!