Teenage florist ready for chance to tackle Chelsea

WHILE most girls her age are currently hitting the books in desperate last-minute revision, one teenager from Barnsley is preparing for the show of a lifetime next week, as she heads to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show to show off a fabulous floral creation.

Stephanie Tue. who has won a place in the show’s Young Chelsea Florist of the Year competition, has been tasked with creating a two-metre-high chandelier arrangement which would be “fit for a Queen.

She will be travelling down to London with her mother tomorrow and exhibiting her creation over three days, just weeks before she completes her floristry qualifications at college in Doncaster.

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The 18-year-old from South Hiendley, who works at Rachael’s Florist in Hemsworth, West Yorkshire, said: “I got through to Chelsea after winning a regional heat in Leeds, where I had to design a centrepiece for an Olympic dinner.

“When I first heard what I had to do for Chelsea it was quite daunting at first, because it’s such a big arrangement.

“Then it was all about coming up with ideas, and in March I started putting the framework together.”

Stephanie has selected flowers in an array of pink and purple tones for her entry, including orchids, lilies and African violets.

She said: “I’ve never been to Chelsea before so I don’t know what to expect - it’s quite nerve-wracking, but also very exciting.”

Stephanie’s mother Judy Tue said that her daughter’s love for flowers started as a young girl, when she began nipping into a local florist in Barnsley.

She said: “Every now and again she and her brother would call into a florist and bring me some flowers.

“When she was 13 she asked if she could go and work there, completely unpaid, as she loved it so much. It went from there, and she’s been working with flowers ever since.

“She absolutely loves it and says she can’t wait to get to work each day.”

The winner of the RHS Young Chelsea Florist of the Year prize, who must be under 25 years old and working in floristry, will take home a prestigious trophy.

Meanwhile, stone from a disused Victorian quarry at Dovestones Moor, part of Saddleworth Moor, has been put into place at the Chelsea Flower Show as part of “The Brontës’ Yorkshire Garden” by tourism board Welcome to Yorkshire.

The gritstone was chosen to be part of the garden which celebrates the authors and the landscape around Haworth.

Tracy Foster, who is putting the Bronte-themed garden together, said: “The stone is beautiful. We have deliberately not cleaned it so it has aged naturally and is of the period when the girls would have been walking around the West Yorkshire moors.

“The stone still has its original lichens and mosses attached, which look just perfect in the garden and really give a sense of the beauty and bleakness that epitomise the wonderful moorland landscape.”

The Brontes’ Yorkshire Garden is based on a location often visited by the sisters, on the path to Top Withens, where the so-called Brontë Bridge crosses a stream.

It is hoped the garden will build on the success of last year’s People’s Choice award-winning garden, “The Art of Yorkshire”, and encourage people to visit the region.

Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “The authenticity of the stones and the stonework really connect the garden to Yorkshire.

“I cannot wait for people to see the completed creation when the show opens on Monday.”

When the show has finished, all the stone will be returned to its original surroundings.