Leeds Castle Festival of Flowers Review – 23rd to 28th September 2018
As well as being a Leeds Castle wedding photographer I am also a regular visitor. This week I decided to have a day off. I wanted to do something inspiring. The Festival of Flowers is now in its fifth year and I hadn’t visited before. It sounded perfect.
The theme was ‘An Enchanted Castle’. International and award winning floral designers are invited to create displays in the main Castle rooms. This year the displays were opened up to the outside spaces too. Headline partner was OASIS Floral Products and sponsorship came from Country Baskets and Colombian Flowers.
As well as displays there are workshops, talks and demonstrations in a marquee on the pavilion lawn. The event was opened by Joe Swift, the garden designer and journalist.
Signposting was really clear and I worked my way from the Barbican, to the Castle entrance via the cellar, through the rear downstairs rooms, the Queen’s rooms, the Queen’s Gallery, Henry VIII Banqueting Hall, and the Chapel. Then up the spiral staircase and through the upstairs rooms and down via the main staircase. And finally the last two reception rooms and then out through the main entrance doors to the stunning display on the Castle lawn.
If you are thinking of visiting the 2018 Festival (15th to 20th September) I would allow 1½ hours once you arrive at the Castle plus ½ hour for walking to and from the car park. It is a very friendly, happy tour. The visitors are all fellow plant and flower lovers – well-informed and happy to share their knowledge. The atmosphere was very jovial. If you aren’t keen on crowds wait until the Monday.
I couldn’t possibly photograph everything since there were over 20 displays, so I have selected 12 below:
- Barbican – Tracey Rowbottom, Country Baskets
- Front lawn and Castle entrance – Dennis Kneepkens
- Thorpe Hall – Angela Turner (peach colours)
- Yellow Drawing Room – Heidi Lawley, Heidesigns (bright colours)
- Main staircase – Philip Hammond, The Dorchester
- Lady Baillie’s Dressing Room – Amanda Austin Flowers (arch in gold and greens, mantelpiece and candelabra with pale roses)
- Spiral staircase – Trudie Easton (fairy tale, books, swan)
- The Chapel – Academy of Floral Art (arch and chairs)
- Henry VIII Banqueting Hall – Simon Lycett (series of six – a banquet)
- Queen’s Gallery – Dr Solomon Leong, Solomon Bloemen (table with cake, russet and burgundy colours, hops)
- Queen’s Bathroom – Jill Smith, Passion Floral Design (arched window)
- Queens’ Room – Amy Curtis Floristry (delphiniums)
I have had the pleasure of photographing many bridal bouquets by Amanda Austin as she is based in Chelsea. Many of my Chelsea Town Hall clients choose Amanda for their wedding flowers. Her work is wonderfully romantic and she is brilliant with roses. It was such a lovely surprise to find her at the festival.
If you are thinking about getting married at Leeds Castle please take a look at my Leeds Castle page for more information.