Meet the team

Jo Richards

Jo started her floristry career when she was 16 and trained at Bournemouth & Poole College. Within her journey Jo managed a florist in New Milton, was the youngest student to achieve her National Diploma in Floristry (Level 5 Masters equivalent), Jo then returned and became a floristry lecturer at the B&P College where she first trained. Jo became co-ordinator, head of the floristry team & dedicated 11years at the college.

Continue reading

Jo freelances and works in the floristry industry, demonstrating and sharing her knowledge and skills. She demonstrates alot within the NAFAS world of clubs and societies, and regularly supports their needs for training and developing skills further.

She loves learning new techniques and skills, meeting new florists and contacts and thrives from the atmosphere floral materials give!

Jo has a strong passion for teaching, planting that initial seed for growth and development, and watching her students flourish and achieve their goals.

With strong links within Asia, Jo travels often to deliver workshops for groups and 1-1 sessions for Korean floristry students.

Jo created the Academy of Floristry to fulfil a big niche left in the market by the closure of the floristry department at Bournemouth & Poole College. To build and invent, a unique and bespoke training experience in Floristry and Flower Arranging. We have designed courses both for professional floristry and for those who just want to be inspired and enjoy.

Helen Joyce

Helen’s teaching journey began when she first joined the floristry team at Bournemouth and Poole College back in 2005. Helen gained many skills on her career path to becoming a floristry lecturer, including Art and Design, Textiles, her Level 2 & Level 3 in floristry, which is where she found the ‘floral bug’!.  Then going on to take her professional teacher training qualifications in 2007, and gained both her Pttls and Cttls…

Continue reading

…, also her A1 awards in assessing NVQ floristry levels within the industry. Helen worked alongside Jo and Sara for many years, teaching and training students, also attending top designer workshops, the prestigious RHS Chelsea and Hampton court flower shows, where she achieved many medals with the  team and on her own merit.

Floristry is Helen’s passion and we are delighted to have her on the team at the Academy.  Here she can take up once more her passion, of teaching and learning, to share her wealth of knowledge with the students, and help them achieve their goals.

Helen is the floral director and co owner of the renowned florist By Arrangement in Westbourne. Helen runs the successful flower shop with Jo and a small team of qualified florists. This is where you will find Helen on a day to day basis, she heads and leads the shop and team through all the peak periods, and seasons.

Melanie Smith

Melanie started her adventure into the flower world in 2008, after changing, from a long career in Financial Services. She took herself off to college to learn about floristry and the new career path she wanted to take. she was the oldest one on the course! but that didn’t deter her. Mel has always loved flowers and wanted to develop this knowledge further, she completed her level 2 and 3 in Floristry at Eastleigh college…

Continue reading

…and then decided to further those skills with taking the Level 4 Higher Diploma at the multi award winning Academy of Floristry.

Mel hold her Level 5 Masters gained at the Academy, where she also teaches the Level 2 in Technical in Floristry groups.

She started her teaching career in 2011, as a teaching assistant at Eastleigh College and later to  full time in 2012.

Mel graduated from Portsmouth University in 2014 after gaining her Certificate in Education.

The next path to unfold led Mel to being involved with NAFAS in 2013, with passing her Area demonstrators test in May 2015.  She now demonstrates to flower clubs across the South.

Being a Freelancer for wedding specialists and at a florist shop in Reading, takes up most of her free time when she’s not teaching!

Her life is pretty much flower crazy which she loves!

Attending floral workshops, demonstrations, festivals and flowers shows and a quick trip to Holland or Belgium each year is a must. She likes to keep up to date with all the latest trends especially the European ones!!

Sara-Marie Andrews

Born and brought up on my parents’ nursery, I was immersed in horticulture and nature from the start! As I grew older, I worked on flower show exhibits and became experienced in the propagation and growing of many types of plants; and breeding new cultivars of dahlias.  My first job away from the nursery introduced me to the world of floristry through the eyes of one of the greatest influences possible, Betty Jones.

Continue reading

Soon after, I was awarded the Society of Floristry Rose Bowl for the highest combined marks in the Preliminary Examination, as it was then known.  I carried on with both floristry and horticulture, gaining qualifications in both and continuing with competitive work in both disciplines; especially trade exhibits, regularly gaining gold medals throughout the southern half of England and being an active member of the Horticultural Exhibitors’ Association for many years.

During this time, I also became involved in teaching floristry and running a floristry apprenticeship scheme for over twenty years.  I have always appreciated the importance of continuous development and have grasped every possible opportunity to learn from a wide range of designers, realising that floristry is a profession in which you are always training and experimenting; and was delighted to be awarded the European Floristry School Award in 1995.

Recently, I have been more involved in teaching theory and business studies for florists but have also been experimenting with floristry related to textures and forms in nature; and was delighted to reach the final of the Chelsea Florist of the Year competition, 2011.  It is my aim to pass on my passion for floristry, horticulture and nature as others have motivated me throughout my life.

Peter Walkey

My career in floristry began almost by accident when I arrived at an evening class in watercolour painting a day early!
Fortuitously, there was a simple flower arranging class on at that time which I decided to try instead, and it’s safe to say I was hooked!
Quickly enrolling at the local agricultural college, I gained my BTEC Level 2 First Diploma, was awarded the Helliwell Limited Prize for the most talented student in 2008 and two years later my Level 3 National Certificate.

Continue reading

Not wanting to stop there, I discovered the Academy of Floristry and went on to achieve my City and Guilds Level 4 Higher Diploma, was incredibly honoured to be presented the Bettina Floral Artist Shield in 2017 and my Level 5 Master Diploma in Professional Floristry in August 2018.

I believe that to feel rewarded and be successful in this constantly evolving and sometimes challenging industry, one must constantly develop and learn, which I do by attending seminars, demonstrations and workshops both within the UK and further afield.

I enjoy all aspects of the industry, but my true passion lies in contemporary design – especially mixing unusual materials with fresh florals to create “out of the box” designs.

Inspiration comes from the natural world, architecture, graphic design and from my travels around the globe, where I always make a point of visiting flower markets, street stalls and shops where I can network (you can never have too many florist friends on Facebook!), learn about cultural identities and interpretation of designing with flower which I am able to bring home to share with others and implement in my own business, Peter Hart Floral Design.

I have always wanted to pass on the knowledge and practical skills I have gained over the past few years and I am thrilled to be able to do this as part of the Academy of Floristry.