China by Pip Bensley

Our speaker for September was Pip Bensley who is a three times Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Gold medal winner . Pip’s background in horticulture caused the RHS to select her to be a judge at the 2019 EXPO in China where 110 countries participated

 The talk was about her travels to Beijing and meeting her six fellow judges who were themselves world champions and the cream of flower arranging world.

They were there to judge the magnificent flower arrangements from the EXPO

countries whose entrants were their countries best and the identity of the judges was kept secret until after the competition.

The first round of the competition was judged on Uniqueness, Colour, Design and Skill and the top 17 selected, with the highest and lowest judges scores being discarded. The second day the theme was an arrangement based on a phrase from poetry using mixed flowers. For the final competition the competitors were given identical equipment and had two hours to complete the task. The overall result had Australia, China and Japan in the top three places.

There were funny moments like attending a Chinese opera and the locals eager to have their pictures taken with Pip not because she was a famous judge but because she was very tall . Pip is an excellent speaker and her photographs gave a flavour of the spectacular displays and the country she visited.