Spectacular floral installations by leading floral designers brought the historic, moated interiors of Leeds Castle to life this September for the prestigious Leeds Castle Festival of Flowers. We were extremely proud and excited to have been invited to exhibit for a second successive year as the British Academy of Floral Art, and absolutely thrilled when our team, led by Tina Parkes, scooped the coveted Rose Bowl Award for the Best Room Exhibit. The award was presented to Tina by the BBC Gardeners’ World presenter, garden designer and Chelsea Gold medallist, Joe Swift, in celebration of the Academy’s imaginative ‘Fan-tastic’ installation in the Katherine of Aragon Bedroom.

The theme of the 2018 Leeds Festival of Flowers was Ladies’ Day, and planning the design concept for a room of such historical significance, filled with exquisite, priceless furniture, was quite a challenge. In staging the display on site, Tina was supported by a fantastic, über-talented team of Academy tutors and students.

Photos by Bobby Humphries

Tina explains the inspiration behind her ‘Fan-tastic’ design:

“It took quite a bit of pondering to formulate our plan for this room. Exploring the theme, the room and the history we were inspired by Katherine of Aragon’s Spanish background, and the Fan, an iconic ladies accessory. The pattern in the wallpaper also repeated this form, which gave a nice repetition to the overall design.

The interior of the bedroom inspired our more unusual tetradic colour scheme. We took the dominant orange from the curtain fabric to be the lead colour, then the yellow green from the settee as the contrast, the red violet as the sub-dominant and a tiny touch of the blue to inject a little discord colour and make the other colours sing. I don’t often work with a tetradic colour scheme, and this one was challenging and fun. To inject the bold colour scheme, ribbon gave us a fabulous rich depth and allowed me to blend the colours together on the fans.

For the scale of the room, I designed four large-scale fans to be lifted up on poles onto the middle eye line of the room, and three smaller fans to sit on the window ledges and coffee table, using the natural opportunities of placement in the room. The desk was out of limits due to its unusual shark-skin covering. Two smaller fans completed the collection to sit on the nightstand and side table, integrating the scale and colour into the room.

We created a wish list of floral materials, which South East flowers organised for us. We had an amazing Academy tutor and student team of Kathryn Delve, Jen Mills, Katherine Rogers, Alison Trezies, Hannah Stacy, Kate Morris- Jones and Tina Young who came up with us to interpret the designs from the drawing board to reality. We had two days to prepare and construct our designs, working in the challenging confines of our room, without touching the delicate furniture and taking care of the carpet.