Actress Edrien Erasmus (Zelda from dramedy series Elke Skewe Pot) is wriggling her toes in the soil as she challenges florists, flower fairies, and other budding artists to go all out to create dazzling designs, from simple flower arrangements, to complicated and challenging floral installations, in the reality series Die Groenste Vingers S1, Thursdays on kykNET (DStv channel 144) at 21:00.

There’s more than just the R20 000 cash grand prize up for grabs – there are loads of bonus mini-prizes scattered throughout the 13-episode series. And the gardeners, florists and designers will also be reaping a rich harvest of knowledge from one another.

“Taking care of plants and creating a mini sanctuary in your garden is filled with new discoveries about yourself and there are also so many secrets that people have learnt and developed over the years tending to their gardens,” says host Edrien. “The more we film, the more the contestants are sharing with each other – and you won’t believe some of the techniques and how different they are from what you’re told at your local nursery.”

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Digging for gold

Edrien will be testing 12 contestant’s garden skills with the help of 2 heavyweights in the flower industry in South Africa – florist Franz Grabe is the top of the food chain for “flower couture” arrangements for large functions and weddings, as well as floral dresses that are strutted down the catwalk. His clients have included David Bowie and Charlize Theron. And Leon Kluge is an award-winning landscape architect who’s won numerous gold medals for his creations at the world famous Chelsea Flower Show.

Each week, one competitor’s flowery ambitions will be snipped in the bud and they’ll be sent home. Edrien says that the contestants will have their work cut out for them because “the design and structure of each arrangement, as well as the balance of the colours and whether the colours complement each other, will play a huge role. There’s no fooling Franz and Leon, who understand flowers better than pretty much everyone in the country and how to create designs with them. Working with flowers is difficult enough, now do it under the watchful eyes of seasoned pros like Franze and Leon!”

Hosting a reality show is stressful, so Edrien, who is also a singer and performer, has extra work to do with the stresses of competition mount, and things don’t go quite right – and that happens a lot. “I try to create a safe place for the contestants, especially when they are tense. I’m like the middleman and confidante. There is nothing worse when you put together a floral creation and it either flops because of design or something goes wrong with the flowers. It’s stressful, and I’m there to help the competitors.”

Edrien the garden queen

Anyone can drop a bag of compost, shove in flower bulbs and say “grow, baby garden, grow!” It takes a real knack to be a master of mowing and sensei of seedlings – and Edrien is that, with a love of flowers and working in the garden since she was a child. “My parents own a nursery in Gabarone, Botswana. I inherited my green fingers and love for plants and flowers from them for sure,” says Edrien, adding that “I worked in a flower shop from 2003 to 2004, and then from 2011 to 2015 I ran my own flower shop from my house.” With all that work, she’ll be watching with an eagle eye to make sure that the contestants’ make the best use of their gardens’ bounty.

Watch Die Groenste Vingers S1 from Thursday, 22 April on kykNET (DStv channel 144) at 21:00

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