Milton Keynes adults with autism and learning difficulties prove how bloomin' marvellous they are at Chelsea Flower Show

An MK social enterprise that works with adults with autism and learning difficulties has scooped a silver medal at Chelsea Flower Show

By Sally Murrer
Monday, 6th June 2022, 12:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th June 2022, 12:11 pm

Branch-out MK CIC, based in York House at Stony Stratford, won the accolade in the Floral Art and Floristry competition.

The group works with adults with learning differences and autism to grow flowers in a sustainable manner without pesticides or peat. They then use the blooms to create sustainable bridal flowers, farewell tributes and hand tied bouquets.

The eco friendly display at Chelsea was created entirely from flowers grown by the Branch-out community.

The display won a silver medal

It was designed by the CIC’s director Theresa Wedderburn, who said: “We entered the competition because I wanted to educate people about our social enterprise and to highlight that everyone in society can be involved and contribute to a rich and vibrant community.

"We were obviously delighted to be selected out of hundreds of submissions to create a floral window display for the Chelsea Flower Show, and then winning a silver medal was amazing."

The display was called ‘Just how do bees see?’ and it used UV light to show how bees view flowers differently to us, with the UV markings on the flowers guiding them to where the pollen is.

As an added feature, the display included stunning glass bees, which were individually handcrafted by local artist Sam Burke.

The eco-friendly entry was in the format of a window, split into two halves to show the two different views of bees and people.

Theresa said: “I’m a self taught florist who is inspired by the British flowers movement so it was pretty nerve wracking having the very best of UK florists judge our work.

"We like to do things a little differently and our arrangement wasn’t exactly a typical formal display, but the public loved it and it certainly caused a reaction and made people think.

“Everyone stopped to compare the two sides and they were surprised by the strange way that bees see flowers.”

Branch-out MK CIC is a not-for-profit organisation that sells flowers from its workshop and other local outlets. They can be commissioned to create bridal bouquets and other special occasion displays.

People that attend Branch-out sessions improve their self-confidence, learn new practical skills and meet new people.