Florists fight it out to be Best in Bloom

It’s like The Great British Bake-Off, but with flowers.

So contestants Chanelle Edwards and Raymond Gordon should probably mix poison ivy with four-leafed clovers – so they can have a rash of good luck.

Most of us grow more green things in our fridges than our gardens.

But this duo are among 10 pairs of competitors taking part in The Big Flower Fight on Netflix – it sounds like a baker’s duel, but is actually a competition for florists from as far apart as the USA and Holland.

It may be good to talk to your plants, but these arrangements were so big the duo would have needed a megaphone.

These floral sculptures certainly need a lot of water – sweat, mostly.

Father-of-two Raymond, 43, a former computer programmer who has been a florist for 13 years, said: “It was very exciting to do something so completely different and to meet new people.

“It was also fascinating seeing everyone do such artistic arrangements. But Chanelle and I just clicked.”

The pair were filming at an undisclosed location more than an hour away for more than a month.

“It was tough being away, but my wife was very supportive,” he added.

“We worked around it by changing the school drop-off routine. But it is something I am very passionate about, so I was pleased to be a part of it.”

Say it with flowers, the saying goes – but in this case the competitors’ words to each other are probably not much longer than four letters.

Every episode tests a different set of skills and features a unique challenge – the teams are to build a larger-than-life sculpture, competing to design and build the biggest, most outlandish and beautiful works of art possible from flowers and other natural materials, and staving off elimination for one more week.

At the end of each programme, one is dubbed Best in Bloom – while another has to head for the compost heap.

Raymond owns Sunflowers Florist in Bromley Road, Catford, and says on its website: “There is no arrangement too great or difficult for us to achieve” – which is exactly what he is proving.

But he is cagey about how well they have done.

“It is very rewarding work,” he said. “People are so appreciative of what I do – you can make the day of a couple getting married, welcoming a newborn baby or Valentine’s Day. Even when it comes to a funeral, you are helping people to grieve.”

TV host Vic Reeves and actress and comedian Natasia Demetriou stand by while the 10 teams make huge flower installations based on weekly themes, for example giant insects or birds.

Chanelle is a fashion designer from Catford who owns her own clothing label, INOIR, and styled a music video for Idris Elba.

The 37-year-old mum of 11-year-old twins, from Waters Road, eight years ago took part in Sky Living’s Style to Rock. She was in her final year at Lewisham College as a fashion student competing in the show to create the hottest looks for the singer Rihanna. She was handpicked to fashion the superstar’s wardrobe during a reality TV show.

The team of two met in Raymond’s shop and share a love of flowers but also music. Chanelle used to sing in garage band Purple Haze Cru, and Raymond is a member of his local church choir.

The winners will be able to design their own sculpture to be put on display in London’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


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