The 53rd Annual Sylvia Cup Floral Design Competition Wows Whimsically with American Grown Flowers and Foliage

The Sylvia Cup competition highlights designer’s creativity and skill, challenging them with a surprise theme, and a two-hour time limit to bring their artistic visions to reality. The contest, which is the longest running live floral design competition in the country, was held September 7th during the 2022 Society of American Florists convention in Orlando, Florida. The 20 competing designers each received the same flowers and foliage generously provided by Certified American Grown farms and products, tools, and vessels from Smithers Oasis. Individual designer’s creativity and vision is what set each piece apart.

Group of designers

2022 Sylvia Cup Design Contestants; Photo by SAF


Table with flowers and foliage and a sign

A wide range of domestic cut flowers and foliage was generously provided by Certified American Grown farms. For a complete source list, click HERE; Photo by SAF

“The Sylvia Cup competition truly combined the beauty of what Certified American Grown farms grow with the artistry of talented designers to create incredible showpieces,” said Camron King, CEO and Ambassador for Certified American Grown, sponsor of the competition. “The competition is an example of how important partnerships are between farms and designers, retailers, and industry leaders for us all to work together and collaborate to provide beautiful flowers, foliage, and designs for everyone to enjoy.”

Ballroom with tables and competition set up

Competition was held in a ballroom; Photo by SAF

Congratulations goes out to Kelsey Thompson, AIFD, owner and head designer at Bloom Floral & Home Studio in Algona, Iowa, who won the 53rd annual Sylvia Cup Design Competition and was recognized during the Stars of the Industry Awards Dinner. As grand prize winner, Thompson received the trophy cup, $3,000 and complimentary registration to SAF’s 2023 Annual Convention. Jenny Thomasson, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, EMC, of Jenny T Floristry in Dallas, Texas was the first runner-up and received $500 and Sam Prom-Chiem, AIFD, of Floral Chateaux in Fallbrook, California, was second runner-up and received $250.

People on a stage

Star of the Industry Awards; Photo by SAF

This year’s theme, selected by a committee of members of the Professional Floral Communicators Institute (PFCI), was in the style of “The Whimsical World of Dr. Suess.”

“We are so grateful to the team and farms of Certified American Grown for their professional approach in fulfilling our wish list of fresh flowers, foliage, and grasses for this year’s Sylvia Cup Competition,” said Laurie Lemeck, PFCI, 2022 Sylvia Cup Chair. “It was so easy to work with the team and products we received for the competitors! We look forward to working with them again in the future!”

Team of people in costume

Members of the Professional Floral Communicators Institute (PFCI)

The three designs included

  • A brunch banquet piece for Sam-I-Am: Competitors created a beautiful banquet worthy composition to honor Sam-I-Am from one of Dr. Suess’s most famous stories Green Eggs and Ham.
  • A cascade bouquet made entirely of foliage: Inspired by The Lorax’s grumpy but charming Truffula Tree, competitors constructed a cascading bouquet that captured the essence of the whimsy forest-dwelling creature.
  • A sympathy design for the Grinch’s funeral: The classic holiday story, which focuses on the importance of community over consumer-focused culture, ends with the Grinch’s heart growing three sizes. Competitors created a sympathy composition, which featured a heart in some shape or form.


Kelsey Thompson designing; Photo by SAF

“The theme this year for Sylvia Cup was very playful, and it truly did feel like I was playing with the gorgeous fresh product we received. You know how you see a flower and a lightbulb goes off? The shape of a stem, the color of a petal, or slight curve of a leaf leads you down a design path… I let the flowers and story inspire me” said Kelsey Thompson.

Three Floral Designs

Kelsey Thompson’s Winning Designs; Photos by CAG


The flower and foliage were generously provided by American Grown farms across the county including:

Albin Hagstrom & Son

Continental Floral Greens

Eufloria Flowers

Fern Trust

Glad-a-Way Gardens

Green Valley Floral

Joseph and Sons

Len Busch Roses

Mellano & Company

Ocean Breeze Farms

Pyramid Flowers

Resendiz Brothers

Star Valley Flowers

Sun Valley Floral Farm


For more pictures from the competition click HERE and for the final designs HERE.

To download a complete source list, click HERE!



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