'British smell' is key to London 2012 victory bouquets

Bouquet designer Susan Lapworth said they were proud of their contribution to the Games

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The sight of Olympic medallists hurling their victory bouquets into the crowds has become a common one.

But for florist Hannah Emery it is also a disconcerting one given all the "hard work" put into making them.

Each bouquet features home-grown roses, lavender, rosemary, mint and wheat and are cut to exacting standards.

By the end of London 2012, 4,400 of the bouquets, which last up to five days if put in water, will have been handed out.

Ms Emery is working with 90 students at Writtle College in Essex to make the bouquets.

A former Writtle student and florist at the Jane Packer flower shop in London, Ms Emery is overseeing the production of more than 1,100 bouquets.

She said: "It is something I'm really proud to be part of. We have quite a strict specification to make sure they are all exactly the same size.

"It gets a bit scary when the medallists throw them out into the crowd when you think about all the hard work that's gone into them."

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Each bouquet features four different types of British rose - Aqua, Ilios, Marie Clare and Wimbledon. All of the roses used have been specially grown in the UK for the Olympic bouquets.

The inclusion of wheat in the bouquet signifies energy.

The size of the bouquets was specified by London 2012 to match the trays on which they are brought towards the podium. They were also designed to fit neatly in the hand and resemble the classic British nosegays which date back to medieval times.

Ms Emery said the aim of the bouquets was not merely to look good, but to smell good as well.

"With the lavender, the mint, the rosemary and the wheat there are different combinations of smells which is really nice.

"Smell is important and there's a really British scent to them."

'So excited'

Each bouquet is first gathered together then tied beneath the flower heads with string. The bouquets is then measured and cut to length using guides on the floristry tables before the purple London 2012 is tied around above the string.

Each day, Ms Emery demonstrates the whole making process afresh to students.

Helen Sheard, floristry lecturer at Writtle College, said: "Not only is it an honour to have been asked to be involved in the first place, but the practical experience of producing such creative bouquets on such a large scale is unrivalled to anything they have ever had the opportunity to do before.

"The legacy of hosting the Olympics in this country is enormous, and to skilled professionals such as florists, the experience really is worth its weight in gold - we are all so excited here at the college and really can't wait to be involved in this part of British history."

The name 'victory bouquet' was given to the design by Jane Packer, who died late last year.

Susan Lapworth, of Jane Packer Ltd, said: "We are very proud and they all look fabulous on the television. We've had so many lovely comments and we are just happy to be part of history."

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