MSU team named regional representatives to floral design challenge

Contact: Sammy McDavid

Three Mississippi State students will travel to Chicago this summer to represent the South in national competition sponsored by the American Institute of Floral Designers.

University senior Callie E. Montgomery of Starkville and sophomore Nikki East of Cedarbluff took first- and second-place honors, respectively, in the recent 2001 AIFD Southern Conference at Lexington, Ky. Freshman Sarah M. Roberts of French Camp received the meeting's prestigious People's Choice Award.

The MSU trio now advances to AIFD's annual North American conference to be held in July. They will compete against more than 50 other horticulture and related majors, said team adviser Jim DelPrince, an assistant professor of horticulture.

DelPrince leads the MSU horticulture program's retail floristry management section, where all three students are enrolled.

"At Lexington, the students were required to submit three fresh floral designs," DelPrince said. "One was to follow the theme of 'Architecture' and include flowers and props supplied by the student. The other two designs involved flowers, foliages and containers supplied by AIFD."

Montgomery's design in the regional event reflected the architecture of a North Mississippi cottage. It featured a glass-lined window atop a weathered window box filled with an assortment of garden flowers, nandina branches, liriope, and maidenhair fern.

East's entry was a modernistic interpretation of an arch recreated in vines and branches, accentuated with calla lillies in an avant-garde German style.

Roberts submitted a Japanese-inspired design consisting of bamboo, Monstera prop roots, bromeliad blossoms, and a candlelit globe of moss-green glass.

MSU's four-year retail floristry management curriculum was created more than two decades ago to help meet the needs of America's multimillion-dollar retail floristry industry. It is the only one of its kind at universities stretching from Washington, D.C., to Florida to Louisiana, and including the islands of Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.

In addition to classroom work, students can gain practical experience through work at a professional flower shop operated on campus by the department of plant and soil sciences.

Graduates of the program have gone on to careers as professional designers, managers, consultants, and company representatives, as well as owners of their own florist-related businesses.

Wed, 04/04/2001 - 05:00