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Finding opportunities for our Students, by Tina Parkes

The inspiration behind this interesting opportunity came from the events manager, Irene Davey who had seen some of the projects the Academy had been involved in and thought it would be interesting to work together on a Flower Festival at Poltimore House.

An initial meeting was arranged and on a sunny afternoon I arrived at my destination. My first impressions of this building were not favourable, this huge white building that stood only 5 mins out of Exeter was covered in scaffolding poles and sheathed in corrugated sheets of metal and plastic. It was not what I had pictured in my mind but as Irene showed me around, explaining the providence of the building and it’s many reincarnations, my feelings migrated into those of awe, tinged with sadness, for this once impressive building is still holding onto its dignity with new discoveries being made in each room, alluding to its former glory.

Ghost mirrorThis amazing place provides such a rare opportunity to do something special with it, that it inspired me to want to celebrate the rawness of its beauty and promote it through the medium of flowers. Themes emerged from each room that wanted their stories told, from a tutor tower housing a stair case, a Georgian room where the Civil War treaty of Exeter was signed to an operating theatre.

So now we have 45 wonderful ladies involved in creating a wide range of floral designs and sculptures,  a wonderful opportunity to let imaginations run wild and release creativity.

It has taken some students weeks to create their structures, including a 7ft tall dragon. Teams were formed and during meetings the design ideas were thrashed around to come up with the best ideas for each area and we are really excited by the ideas that will be created. This is a huge investment of time and energy and we are extremely grateful to all our past and present students and the lovely ladies from Club on the Exe for all their energy and extremely kind donation of time, plant materials, stands and sundries.

Poltimore has been able to raise a generous budget to help cover the cost of the flowers from many kind sponsors, also the Club on the Exe has donated £100 towards the flowers and donated foliage and sundries as has the Academy of Floral Art.

This means the money raised from the ticket sales can go directly to the Poltimore House trust. 

There will be a raffle on Saturday and Sunday with other stalls and a selection of delicious food available in the chapel, great for lunch or an afternoon tea treat.


Event open to the public Saturday  22nd and Sunday 23rd (St George’s day). The ticket are availble on the door or via Poltimore House website;  price is £8 per person with discount available for groups, to book click here:   

With huge and grateful thanks to our sponsors Country Baskets for donating many floral sundries.

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