Colonnade Blog

Date added: 29 Sep 2017 Leeds Castle Festival

If you read our Blog, then it may have already become obvious to you that the Colonnade Girls love an outing. Particularly when flowers are involved, us Colonnaders will jump at any chance to get out, learn more about our craft, and feel inspired upon our return to the hustle and bustle of the shop- and if Prosecco is involved then all the better! 

This week, we were extremely excited to attend The Leeds Castle Festival of Flowers as guests of  Oasis Floral Products VIP Evening. Upon arrival, we were invited to be some of the only people to ever be allowed inside the Castle and it's grounds at night time. We guided ourselves round by candle and fairy light, taking in the incredible floral instillations. 

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The theme of this years festival was "Enchanted Castle", and my goodness did the floral designers meet and by-pass the magic that description promised. Involved were top names in the florist industry, including Simon Lycett, Dennis Kneepens, Phil Hammond, Di Marvell and the team at The Academy of Floral Art with Tina Parkes and of course, our good friend Heidi Lawley! There were SO many other talented florists involved, but unfortunately I misplaced the programme and can't find it online- if you know of any that haven't been mentioned please get in touch and I will update this blog. 

To create the designs you'll see here, the teams of talented florists used over 30,000 different flowers and foliage's, supplied by Southeast Flowers, who have been the Floral supplier of Leeds Castle for 20 years. Many of the flowers came all the way from Colombia in South America, the world’s second biggest grower of flowers, and were carried using already scheduled passenger planes.

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The whole castle was a woodland fairytale or Roses, Hydrangea, Orchids, Succulents, Delphiniums and flowers that we had never even seen before. Floor to ceiling instillations adorned every corner of the Royal bedrooms and banquet halls and had you thinking - why do I not have a 10 feet tall archway in every room in my house?!

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We explored every available part of the decorated castle, fully taking in each square inch of peacock feathers, twisted willow, sprayed fern and apples (yes, apples), each room making us more excited, and leaving us even more inspired than the last. 

Never in my life have I been so completely immersed in creativity and talent, we were able to see, smell and walk amongst designs I thought I could only dream of!

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Had my brain not been completely overwhelmed by what I was seeing, I would have liked to have taken more notice of how these incredible structures were formed, as most looked to completely defy the laws of gravity! But instead, I was wondering how I could justify to my boyfriend the need to have an indoor forest in the living room, and whether or not he would notice if a sea of flowers suddenly emerged from the fireplace. 

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The gorgeous Autumnal design featured above was created by our good friend Heidi Lawley of HeiDesigns Flower School and her team in the prestigious 'Yellow Room' inside the castle. 

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After we felt we had sufficiently swooned over the Castle, we headed down to the marquee in the gardens, where we were treated by a glass (or two) of prosecco, and settled down to watch some floral demonstrations. This was hosted by Caroline Marshal- Foster of The Florist Magazine and Morgan Douglas Nuth from Old Oak Florist in conjuction with Oasis Floral products, Southeast Flowers and The Columbian Flower Market. This part of the evening was beautiful, educational and thought provoking. We came away feeling if possible, more inspired then ever before, and with a few new tricks up our sleeve.

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We were treated to demonstrations by Karen Broxholme of Blue Bells , Keri Walker from Wallingford Flowers and Caroline Pecorellie of Fluers in Horsham, all stunningly talented florists. 

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It was a true pleasure to be a part of this evening, but there was so much throughout the festival we didn't get to see. I would highly recommend getting tickets for this next year to get the full experience! 

Thank you so much to Oasis Floral Products for having us, and every talented florist, designer, volunteer and event coordinator that worked tirelessly to put this together!

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