Over 150 guests toasted the launch of the Festival of Flowers last Friday, kick starting what has been an incredible week full of floral extravaganza at Leeds Castle.
Themed this year to ‘Ladies Day’, a host of award-winning International designers took inspiration from high fashion and high-stakes horse racing to dress 23 areas around the Castle in floral finery from 15th – 20th September.
Members of the press, local dignitaries, VIP overnight guests, floral designers and staff alike were treated to a very special preview of the Festival of Flowers on the 14th September, the day before the festival officially opened to the public. Special guests included MP Helen Grant, Mayor of Maidstone Cllr David Naghi, and writers from popular media publications such as BBC Gardeners’ World and The Lady magazine. Those attending were even encouraged to don their best ‘ascot’ or ‘floral’ themed hats - with a special prize awarded for the best headpiece!
Guests arrived in the late afternoon for a gardens tour provided by the Castle’s Head Gardener, Andrew McCoryn, followed by a reception on the Castle Island, joined by this year’s talented floral designers. As the crowd gathered around the Castle’s front door, underneath a glorious ‘Tea in the Meadow’ display by Dean Sharpe Floral Studio, Chief Executive Sir David Steel and TV personality Joe Swift cut the ribbon to the event, officially marking its opening.
Now in its sixth consecutive year, this year’s Festival of Flowers was also open to all visitors to the Castle, from 15th – 20th September.
Designers from this year’s festival included Angelica Lacarbonara from Italy, who created a Charleston dress using flowers in Lady Baillie’s bedroom; renowned designer Dennis Kneepkens from Amsterdam who designed an enchanting, forest fairy-tale with winding trees and arches for visitors to walk under; Dr Solomon Leong from Hong Kong who depicted femininity of ancient China; and Philip Hammond from The Dorchester Hotel, who created an elaborate entrance across the bridge to the Castle using scented Meijer Roses.