Joseph Massie, five-time RHS Gold Medal Winner, unveiled his spectacular floral installation at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 this week, created to celebrate the 90th birthday of, RHS Patron, HM the Queen.
Twenty-seven year old Liverpool native Massie lived up to his title of botanical artist by creating a design which includes 5,000 fresh-cut ‘Avalanche’ roses from Meijer Roses and 1,000 preserved rose petals suspended in the air to create a romantic, sensory tunnel.
Massie’s floral tunnel, entitled Rosa, is 20 metres long by 10 metres wide and suspended four metres above the ground.
The project marks Massie’s first return to the Chelsea Flower Show since he achieved five successive RHS Gold Medals and four Best in Show Awards between 2009-2013. Joseph was the youngest person ever to achieve this feat.
Joseph Massie said: “I am thrilled to be back at Chelsea – and on a much larger scale this time around. It is a huge honour to be commissioned by the Royal Horticultural Society to create an installation to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th birthday.”
To create Rosa, Massie used the finest preserved rose petals that appear to rise up from the ground to a floral ceiling, strung on invisible threads. One side of the exhibit features petals in warm, summery pink tones, contrasting with softer apricot tones opposite – in keeping with this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show logo colours.
In matching tones, fresh-cut roses intertwine with the preserved petals as they rise, forming two fuller columns, which thicken and pool out as the florals reach the ceiling. Chunkier rose heads spill out overhead and the contrasting colours meet in the centre, making for a truly spectacular floral display.
Massie, continued: “With my design, I wanted to create a sensory and immersive experience by presenting fresh rose blooms in a truly romantic and captivating way. I am so delighted with the final result and I really hope that the Queen, and all of this year’s visitors to Chelsea, will enjoy my exhibit.”
Five thousand flower blooms and five different types of rose varieties from Meijer Roses were used to create Massie’s exhibit, including ‘Sweet Avalanche’, ‘Pearl Avalanche’ and ‘White Avalanche’, as well as more than 1,000 preserved rose petals. The roses and preserved rose petals will dry naturally over the course of the week and will be recycled into new artworks after the Show has finished.
Massie recruited 25 volunteers to assist with the installation over four days in the lead up to the Show. Volunteers were selected from Massie’s flower school, the UK School of Floristry, and from other leading colleges around the UK, as well as students from Australia, France and Sweden.
Massie added: “I would also like to say a special thanks to the incredible team of volunteers who have given their time and energy to this project. Each volunteer must have scaled our scaffolding towers at least 5000 times, and always with a smile! We simply could not have completed the project without them.”
Joseph Massie collaborated with Meijer Roses and Avalanche Roses to create the Rosa Installation at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 which is situated beneath the Rock Bank restaurant, which connects Main Avenue and Ranalegh Way.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016, sponsored by M&G Investments, began May 24th and runs through tomorrow, May 28th in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. The theme of this year’s Show champions the health and wellbeing benefits of greening-up our grey spaces. For more information, visit www.rhs.org.uk
For more information about Joseph Massie, visit www.josephmassie.com
What advice can you share on the mechanics behind floral tie backs?
We treat floral tie-backs like giant wrist corsages and use a lot of glue! 🙂
Jennie Love (Love ‘n Fresh Flowers)
There are many ways to do this best.
When using many flowers for a tie-back, I think the best way is with a floral cage. The best one (size-wise) would be the Smithers-Oasis Floral cage with the plastic backing and grid cage surrounding. It is best to use the smaller size rather than Grande size. The big one is an eye-sore – you end up filling with so many flowers just to cover the mechanics of foam and plastic. The plastic backing as on the cage is highly recommended so that you avoid getting the fabric wet. It is best attached with zip ties using the 2 holes at the top and bottom of the cage, plus around the neck of the handle.
For mid size tie-backs, flowers can be accomplished using a large slanted bouquet holder. It is large enough to hold an amazing amount of flowers. The weight of the soaked holder is so much lighter than the cage, and it is so much easier to place. Simply slip the handle of the bouquet holder into the tie, it can just cradle in, and zip tie the bottom of the handle to the structure. The key to secure attachment is to tie in at least 2 spots so there’s no wiggling. Good mechanics is NO WIGGLING.
Hitomi Gilliam AIFD (Design 358)
We typically use oasis cages, or oasis garlands for tie backs if there is floral content in the design. If you are simply using a green garland no oasis is needed. If we have a fabric curtain that we are tying back we typically wrap that in plastic as we are designing. Once the design has stopped leaking we remove the plastic from under the design. This keeps the curtain from getting wet with oasis stained water.
Holly Chapple (Holly Heider Chapple Flowers)
While not something the British often request, I would always recommend using the good old fashioned traditional materials. No soggy balls of foam, no tricks or cheats, just good old wiring and tying with beautiful ribbons. I would also recommend letting nature do the thinking for you – use vines, natural structures like Willow and climbers with not too many flower heads, and be ready to offer a fail-safe with some twine. I like to leave trailing fronds to accentuate the lines in fabrics and in the room, with sprigs and twigs reaching up to create height and lift. Tie backs also need not be huge, let the lines do the talking and the effect can be stunning.
Jo Rodwell (Jo Flowers)