Thursday 28 June to Sunday 1 July 2018 The theme of Castle Howard’s upcoming flower festival (28 June to 1 July 2018) is set to be extended into fabrics this summer, as staff and guides at the house will don their finest floral prints to celebrate the beautiful displays created by award-winning designer, Fiona Pickles of Firenza Flowers.
“This year’s Flower Festival celebrates flowers and foliage in all of their natural forms to show the beauty of our natural world,” explains head of marketing, Abbigail Ollive. “We’re hoping that staff and visitors alike will share in the joy that this brings, so we’ve encouraged everyone to dig out their best floral print dresses, shirts and ties to reflect this – and staff are already rising to the challenge!”
There was a minor bump in the road to this year’s festival last week with the arrival of Storm Hector across the UK, which has damaged some UK-grown flower crops – but Fiona remains undaunted by the challenge that this brings to her displays. “I received a phone call to say that one of the crops that had been grown specially had been completely wiped out in the storm, which is a huge shame, but we’ve got a fantastic network of artisan growers across the country who will help plug any gaps,” explains Fiona.
“If we’d been planning very formal flower arrangements, this might have been a much larger problem, but this year’s Festival has a far more organic feel celebrating the best of British flowers, so adapting designs to what is available during the week of the festival – which can change given a few days’ rain, sun or wind – is really at the heart of what we do.” All of the public rooms in the house are set to be adorned with native British flowers and foliage, with a significant proportion of the foliage coming from the Castle Howard Estate itself – and many of the flowers being collected from small artisan nurseries by the volunteers from every corner of the country who will be helping Fiona to dress the house.
This approach is very different to many other flower festivals, which use huge quantities of imported, ‘factory-farmed’ blooms to create impact. Alongside the installations in the House, the festival will include a series of talks, demonstrations and workshops from local professional growers and arrangers, with a focus on English grown flowers and tips for visitors to grow their own cutting garden. Caroline Beck at Verde Flowers will highlight the importance of buying British as part of her ‘Grown Not Flown’ talk, alongside Jonathon Moseley’s talk as UK Ambassador for British Flowers.
Katie Kearns from Flower Show Presents will be hosting informative and fun headdress and arrangement workshops and visitors can see Fiona Pickles herself delivering daily demonstrations. The Flower Festival: An English Country Garden will take place from Thursday 28 th June to Sunday 1 st July and is included within standard admission.
For more details, please visit www.castlehoward.co.uk