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Alexandra Farm’s Garden Rose Contest

Sep 28, 2023 | Floral Design

Let me share with you my experience in the Alexandra Garden Rose Contest.  Alexandra Farm grows the most exquisite varieties of garden roses and the quality of their product is excellent.  For the last six years, they have put out a contest offering prizes of free garden roses for 2nd and 3rd place wins, and an all expense paid trip to the farm in Bogota, Columbia for the first place winners.  As a lover of garden roses, each year I have enthusiastically chosen photos of my best work using their garden roses and entered this contest.  Unbelievably, I have won second place in the wedding work category four times out of the six years they have held the contest!!



Labor of Love

I can truly say that when I entered the contest this year, it was a labor of love and I put my whole heart into styling and creating something that would be worthy of a first place win in the Alexandra Rose Garden Contest.  As much as I love getting the gorgeous free garden roses which I have received over the years for all of my second place wins, I have a burning desire to be able to visit the Alexandra Farm in Bogota, Columbia.  I want to see first hand how these beautiful varieties are grown.  I want to lay my eyes on each and every variety they offer and experience an opportunity to employ all of my senses by handling them and designing with them.  This is what is offered with a first place win!! 



I turned to my photographer friend Kristin Darling and asked her if she would be willing to collaborate with me in my effort to win “first place.” She had sent me a photo a few months back of a floral lapel on a tux, and I asked if her son would be willing to model that design. I also asked if he had a girlfriend that would be willing to help us with modeling. I am so glad that she responded back with an excited yes! She even suggested that I create a floral fascinator as her son’s girlfriend was in ballet and she would be able to model it gracefully. Imagine my delight when I found out that her son Payton’s girlfriend Rosy was a daughter of my good friend and floral mentor Julie Odum. This contest entry effort really turned into a labor of love between Kristin, Julie and me to try to create something magnificent and hopefully win that coveted first place!

Swoon-Worthy Flowers

We decided on a color scheme which included all the shades of red and pink from burgundy to blush!  I chose some of my favorite David Austin garden roses Tess, Darcey, Capability and Miranda.  I also added Princess Fairy Kiss spray roses from the Princess line of garden roses.  Other blooms were chosen to compliment and enhance these gorgeous garden roses and every bloom had to be swoon-worth!


Artistic Backdrop 



I wanted to create something a little different than I had done before. We used our Berkshire stand from Accent Decor as side supports, then attached chicken wire and inserted clusters of greens for a base to mass in the garden roses and other blooms in a whimsical fashion to create an artistic backdrop.

All The Details

The photo directly above was the one I entered and this entry has won us another Second Place win!!!   I am stunned and overwhelmed to say the least even if I didn’t win first place.  Joey from Alexandra Farms is so incredibly generous!  They have offered that I can forfeit 1,000 stems of garden roses for a trip to the farm, but the catch is that the first place winners get to choose the date.  The last two years, those chosen dates just were not possible for me to go.  I am hoarding 1000 stems hoping that someday I get to go.  I know in my heart that if I am supposed to get the opportunity it will happen.


Thank you to all the incredible vendors who made the style shoot possible.

Photography –

Tux & Gowns –

Hair & Makeup –

Garden Roses –

A very special thank you to our models Payton Darling and Rosy Odum.  You guys totally rocked it even when the bees were buzzing around you and it was hot!!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!!  Nancy