One of the delights of flower arranging is working with others to display designs in public spaces – from your local church and village show to area or national shows and festivals.


Taking part in competitive shows is an opportunity to be creative and make new friends.  Competitions at local horticultural shows are community events which often have relaxed rules for competitors, so are a good staring point for novices.   Larger shows often operate to NAFAS standards.  National shows often operate to RHS standards.

To help competitors in shows which operate to NAFAS standards the BB&O Area has developed the following set of guidelines.  These guidelines include extracts from the NAFAS Competitions Manual (Fourth Edition 2023) and NAFAS Plant Material in all its Forms presented in a way that makes it easy for competitors to understand.

NAFAS Aims of Competitive work are:

  • To encourage the artistic and creative use of natural plant material in all its forms within the framework of a show schedule and the current edition of the manual
  • To promote a spirit of fair and friendly competition
  • To uphold the principles of conservation as stated in the Wild Life and Countryside Act 1981 by not using rare and protected wild plant material, preserved animals, birds, insects, coral, sea fans and pernicious/invasive plants, e.g. Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed.

NAFAS Objectives of Competitive work are:

  • To provide a training and practising ground for flower arrangers
  • To set imaginative and challenging schedules to act as a spur to creativity
  • To provide a platform for those who strive to reach a disciplined and advanced stage of creative art
  • To create and maintain the interest of competitors and general public in flower arrangement
  • To provide a public platform for NAFAS

For official information readers are advised to also refer the following official NAFAS publications:

Organising Competitive Shows, Flower Festivals and Events

Those organising or judging a show should refer to the NAFAS Competitions Manual (Fourth Edition 2023) and Putting on a Show, both of which can be ordered via NAFAS Handbooks.

BBandO Show Tips includes a set of really useful quick tips for show organisers

BB&O has a set of general guidelines which may be helpful to organisers of shows and other public events.  However these are a guide to things to consider – they do not attempt to be a definitive set of information on these subjects.

The area has staging materials which may be borrowed by clubs wishing to stage their own shows and competitions.  For more information see Area Staging.