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Florist of the Year 2022: Meet the Judges

It may be stating the obvious, but no floristry competition could go ahead without the involvement of judges qualified to judge, and Interflora’s Florist of the Year competition will be judged by the best!

Overseeing and judging this year’s competition are members of the UK Floristry Judges Guild, all of whom are professionally trained, accredited and internationally recognised. The role of a judge is multi-faceted but includes being able to judge fairly the elements of idea, colour, composition and technique and to mark consistently and impartially across all designs and competitors.

With such a high standard of floristry achieved so far in the competition, the judges’ role will be a tough one, so let’s meet the two judges for Florist of the Year!

Lynda Owen

Lynda will need no introduction to many of you as she has been at the forefront of floristry for over forty years. She has been a floristry judge since 1984 and, during this time, has judged extensively in Great Britain, Ireland and around the world.

Lynda has written four books on floristry, including the recently update second edition of ‘Floristry Competitions’. She is also the author of ‘The Professional Florists’ Manual’, a must-have for anyone serious about floristry and also recently updated and reissued.

Lynda is proud to be one of the founder members of the UK Floristry Judges Guild and is an advocate for a recognised standard of floristry judging worldwide, where floristry judges are renowned for their knowledge, discernment, integrity and independence.

She said, “Floristry competitions are vital for the floristry industry to maintain expertise and quality and to move and push the boundaries of floral design forward.”

Jane Benefield

Jane started her career working in commercial flower shops where she honed her technical and design skills. As a competitor she was successful in winning many accolades in professional floristry including a Gold Medal at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Interflora Florist of the Year and four medals in the Fusion International Designer Competition.

Jane is a floristry course manager at Warwickshire College, Moreton Morrell Centre where she lectures in floristry from Level 2 up to Level 5 Master Diploma. In 2015 she was awarded BFA Floristry Tutor of The Year.

Through teaching and mentoring students, Jane aims to help them reach their maximum potential whilst keeping floristry standards high. She is passionate about competition work and gained her judges qualification in 2018. Jane said, “I consider it an honour and privilege to judge floristry competitions”.

The Technical Committee

As well as judges, every credible floristry competition needs a Technical Committee. The role of the Technical Committee is to make sure competitors stick to the rules and regulations as detailed by the competition organisers. This could include penalising work which hasn’t followed the rules on size, construction method or space used. Penalty points can be awarded by the Technical Committee and in extreme cases competitors can be disqualified. This may sound a little pedantic, but when the stakes are high and national or international acclaim is the prize, it matters!

The members of the Technical Committee are also fully qualified and experienced members of the UK Floristry Judges Guild.

Sarah Hills Ingyon (immediate past Chair of the UK Floristry Judges Guild)

A National Diploma Florist [NDSF] with a passion for crafts, Sarah owns and runs ‘Sarah’s Designs’ based in East Devon. Sarah has owned several high street floristry businesses over the years and has been a dedicated competitor, demonstrator, and tutor. She has won numerous accolades, including prized medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, enabling her to understand and empathise with competitors. Her career has flourished and evolved with an innovative and contemporary approach, always open to innovative concepts amid skilled traditional techniques and perfection of workmanship.

Sarah is also a floristry lecturer at levels 4 & 5, and provides individual tutoring and mentoring to private students and designers. She said, “It’s an exciting honour to be a floristry judge and to uphold the standards of excellence in the competition room.”

Julia Ryde (current Chair of the UK Floristry Judges Guild)

A florist with well over 20 years’ experience, Julia has spent most of her career in vocational education, teaching floristry and floral design at both further education and higher education levels (levels 2-6). She has an MA in Education, and a string of other qualifications, but still maintains her roots in commercial floristry. Since gaining membership of the Judges Guild in 2011, Julia has developed the competitors training programme for the Guild and lead on new judges training.

She said, “I am passionate about raising standards and encouraging a high level of skills and creativity and firmly believe education and competitions are a forum for increasing professionalism within the industry.”


You can find out more about the work of the UK Floristry Judges Guild and how to train as a judge HERE




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