It is always a thrill to see the Academy of Floral Art at key floral events and Leeds Castle in Kent is one of the must see floral spectaculars that are open to the public from Saturday 23rd for six days.
Leeds Castle first opened its doors for a flower festival in 1901 by Lady Olive Baillie, an American heiress and the last private owner of the castle, who was well known for her elaborate displays and since then the festival has grown into this wonderful event with the last five years attracting designers from all over the world.
Louise Roots, who is the Castle’s head florist and organiser, chose ‘Enchanted Castle’ as the theme for the festival this year and has included top designer names such as Simon Lycett, Dennis Kneepens, Phil Hammond from The Dorchester, Hong Kong based designer, Solomon Leong, RHS Chelsea Florist of the Year, Di Marvell and of course our very own team.
The Academy team included Tina Parkes and Julie Collins, and students Patricia Bond, Carol Rhodes and Strizz Stacey, who very kindly took lots of photos for us to enjoy.
There was some fantastic support in the suppliers which included Southeast Flowers, OASIS Floral Products, Country Baskets and the newly launched Colombian Flower Council. However, the Academy would like to say a special thank you to David Austin Roses for their part in the Chapel designs and to Justin Carey of CandLED Ltd who provided us with the best artificial candles you have ever seen, providing real ambiance in the candle light adding to the enchantment of the room.
The Academy were assigned the Chapel to decorate and Tina, as lead designer, took into consideration the whole theme, “Enchanted Castle”, she wanted to capture the history of the castle and the love that inspired the creation of the Chapel itself which was built by Edward 1st after his beloved wife died, so people could pray and remember her. So Tina called the Academy installation, “A journey of reflection and love”.
Tina and the team created an interactive journey through this beautiful room with a romantic tunnel which offers windows to view beautiful wedding bouquets and the fabulous details of the chapel. The two intertwined chairs at the alter were originally designed for the Chelsea Flower Show heats last year, however, their inclusion here was perfect because the king and queen had such a strong love for each other and the structure of the chairs represented the chairs/thrones used in wedding ceremonies symbolising a life entwined together.
Talking to the team over the weekend the excitement of the event was palpable and Tina said, ” This has been an amazing experience, stunning surroundings, fantastic floral designers creating inspiration in every room and exceptional organisation by Louise Roots, (Leeds Castle Florist team leader) and all her team, amazing stewards and all the teams we came in contact with throughout the castle were a joy to work with”, and Julie went on to say, “We would like to send everyone involved, especially Louise Roots and her exceptional team our very great thanks for including the Academy of Floral Art in this wonderful event”.
The event was opened by Joe Swift the Garden designer and TV personality and is now open until Thursday 26th and we highly recommend a visit.
If you would like to take part in Academy of Floral Art events and are interested in both professional and recreational floristry courses begin your floral journey with us here.