Festival of Flowers - Leeds Castle
It was an absolute pleasure to be back at Leeds Castle this year for the Festival of Flowers. The theme was Ladies Day and it was a delight to see how every florist had their own interpretation of the brief. Some people focused on the glamour of ladies day I.e. Hats, fans, the races, floral dresses etc. Others took a more political approach incorporating women’s rights into their designs and showing the strength and power woman hold. No matter which way the theme was portrayed, as always the designs were gorgeous. The Festival of Flowers is such a beautiful event held in such an idyllic setting. I hope you attended but if not make sure you pop it in your diary for next year!
This year it was lovely to see so many familiar faces, and for some it was their first time at the castle. Speaking to a few florists it was clear to see they felt the same way as we do. It was nice to hear what the florists thought about the festival and the opportunity they were given.
At the Drop of a Hat
Here is how Tracy Rowbottom found Leeds Castle this year;
"What an amazing place to spend a few days being a florist again! Once again I spent two days in glorious sunshine with the Country Baskets team, Angela Emery and Bobby Humphrey creating a breath taking floral design. We created the display titled 'At the Drop of a Hat' using an array of gorgeous fabulously realistic faux flowers. The design consisted of four over sized floral hats displayed on columns up to 2.5 m high. We are very lucky as our design is viewed both from the bridge over the moat and up close so we had the opportunity to create something with lots of impact but incorporating lots of detail. Just for fun we added some regular size floral hats for selfies and everyone had great fun with those as well #hatparade".
To shop everything we used at Leeds Castle, just click here!
Kathryn Delve – British Academy of Floral Art
“The place is just breathtaking” Kathryn gasps while reliving her first experience of Leeds Castle and the Festival of Flowers. As a group effort from the British Academy of Floral Arts, the talented team created a ‘Fan-tastic’ installation. With a team of three tutors and five students, Catherine of Aragon’s bedroom was completely transformed. Tina Parkes, one of the academy’s directors, was the brains behind the design. As a team they started early on Thursday, working all day and continuing until early afternoon on Friday. Once they had finished, the team took great delight in branching off and helping other florists. Kathryn came to assist us in the finishing touches of our installation ‘At the drop of a hat’.[caption id="attachment_10987" align="alignnone" width="768"] The colour scheme was a favourite for Kathryn in this design.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_10988" align="alignnone" width="768"] 'Leeds Castle Flower Festival Winners'[/caption]
For Kathryn it was the most amazing place to work. She tells us that to be in an environment surrounded by so many florists was brilliant experience. The opening evening was such a treat, being able to see all the designs and converse with the other florists. Let’s not forget about the added bubbly and canapés too.
Dean Sharpe – Dean Sharpe’s Floral Studio
Dean had the pleasure of transforming the castle doorway, an extraordinarily exposed spot where everyone passed and gazed. ‘Tea in the Meadow’ was the title of Dean’s design, an elegant touch with inspiration coming from the country house feel of the castle.
"This was my first year doing Leeds castle and it was an amazing experience. I loved doing the build up and seeing the design come to life. It took two full days to finish it all but it was great working alongside all the florist that took part this year.
Fingers crossed I get asked back next year as I'd love to do it all again!"
Julie Pearson – Julie Pearson UK
"To be invited to the festival was quite a privilege and honour in my eyes, I saw what was achieved last year and thought how fabulous it was."
Julie worked alongside Vanessa Wellock to create a stunning display in the Chapel. Their piece was titled 'Ladies Meeting' and pulls inspiration from the Chapel's rich and vibrant colours. Together they make a brilliant team. In fact in the summer they together received the silver medal at RHS Chelsea.
It was clear by the outcome how much hard work went into the design but this hard work didn't go unnoticed by the castle and the staff. Julie was so pleased with how she was treated, "We had the head of hospitality bring us a kettle & cups etc at 10.30 at night so we could have a cup of tea. All the staff are incredibly knowledgeable about their castle and extremely helpful."
Leeds Castle was a wondrous experience for Julie so hopes to be asked back next year.
After putting so much hard work into the Chapel, Julie delightfully came to join our team. We had a stall down on the green which Julie helped to run for the week. It is always a pleasure to work with Julie because she brings her bubbly aura which is great fun to work alongside. Because Julie was demonstrating for us, Leeds Castle used an array of her floristry skills and led to a fun filled week.
Walking Around The Castle
Of course there was so much more to see than what we have mentioned so far! There were so many truly magnificent designs all over the castle. It really was another breathtaking year. Below is just a snippet of the wonders that you could of witnessed.
Well done to everyone involved this year. We hope to see you there again next year!