Imagine the intensity of a live cooking competition complete with audience members watching your every move but imagine this with American grown flowers and foliage. That was the vibe as 12 competitors from across the U.S. gathered for the 52nd Annual Sylvia Cup Design Competition. The contest, which is the longest running live floral design competition in the country, was held September 22 during the 2021 Society of American Florists convention in Orlando, Florida. The designers skillfully worked with a wide range of domestic cut flowers and foliage generously provided by 16 Certified American Grown member farms. (View the complete floral source list here)
“The Sylvia Cup competition truly combined the beauty of what Certified American Grown farms grow with the artistry of talented designers to create incredible showpieces,” said Camron King, CEO and Ambassador for Certified American Grown, sponsor of the competition. “The competition is an example of how important partnerships are between farms and designers, retailers, and industry leaders for us all to work together and collaborate to provide beautiful flowers, foliage, and designs for everyone to enjoy.”
Congratulations to this year’s winner, Jenna Naylor Temple, AIFD, GMF, of Bloom with Jenna, from Grayson, Georgia. Naylor Temple takes home $3,000; The Sylvia Cup, an engraved silver trophy; and recognition during the Stars of the Industry Awards Dinner. This is what she had to say about the competition!
“The flowers that were provided for the competition were amazing! When you are making initial decisions about what designs you want to create, it really all revolves around the product. You may have a great idea, but if you don’t have the beautiful floral to back it up then you won’t be able to execute. For this competition there were so many great options to choose from, it really sparked creativity. From the exquisite spray roses and callas lilies to the huge assortment of beautifully grown foliage that we used for a foliage only design, it was all top-notch quality. It’s so exciting to see what is grown here in America!”
Alejandro Figueira Fernandes, AIFD, CFD, of Alejandro Figueira Floral Artistry Inc. in Davie, Florida, returned to the competition after being named second runner up in 2019. This year, Figueira Fernandes is first runner up and took home a $500 prize. This year’s second runner up is Patience Pickner, AIFD, PFCI, SDFC, of Chamberlain, South Dakota’s, The Picket Fence.
The Sylvia Cup competition highlights designer’s creativity and skill, challenged with a theme, and a two-hour time limit to bring their artistic visions to reality. Contestants do not know which materials they will be provided until the contest begins. Each of the designers is given the same American Grown flowers and foliage in addition to floral supplies, tools, and vessels provided by Smithers-Oasis Floral Products to work with. The creativity and vision is what sets each apart.
This year’s theme, selected by a committee of members of the Professional Floral Communicators Institute (PFCI), was ”Artistry through Mythology,” bringing stories of Greek gods and goddesses to life. Contestants were inspired by Hera, the Goddess of Motherhood and Marriage and were asked to design something for the mother of a bride or groom; Persephone, the Goddess of Vegetation with the creation of an all foliage arrangement; and Helios, the Greek God of the Sun by honoring Orlando and abundant Florida sunshine.
Committee chair, Theresa Colucci AAF, AIFD, PFCI, owner of Meadowscent in Gardiner and New Paltz, New York, said this year’s event was a success in a challenging year. “The 52nd Sylvia Cup was a success again! We couldn’t have been happier with the product we received,” she says. “Knowing how tight things are for farmers, we greatly appreciated the generosity of all the Certified American Grown farms and couldn’t’ have done it without them.”
American Grown Flowers and Foliage were provided by the following farms:
Ocean Breeze Farms
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