Jean proves it's not all about the cake at Nymans

Meet Jean, one of Nymans 'flower ladies' © Jemma Donaldson, National Trust

Meet Jean, one of Nymans 'flower ladies'

Jean Plaskett
Volunteer Flower Lady and Advent Garden Calendar coordinator
Nymans House & Visitor Programme teams

I am proud to be a member of the Nymans house flower ladies team and I hope we give pleasure to all of the visitors to the house with our flower arrangements.

Every year we hold a Celebration of Flowers festival in the house and this year was especially exciting because we arranged flowers to compliment the modern art exhibition, Unravelled, which was staged in the house during the summer.

We are very lucky because Philip (Assistant Head Gardener) cuts some super foliage for us every week, possibly from the same shrubs that Lady Rosse used to cut foliage from – at least that’s what we like to think.

My work with Nymans Garden Advent Calendar

With my other volunteer hat on (still flowery though) I am one of the co-ordinators for the very popular and unique Nymans Garden Advent Calendar. I was asked four years ago if I would like to stage an exhibit, which I readily agreed to and before I knew what was happening I was sort of put in charge.

Claudie and I work well together and we enjoy planning the route and getting teams organised to come up with new ideas for each day during Advent. So far our volunteers have worked in wind and rain and sleet and snow - you can't keep a good flower arranger down.

Many of the designers belong to NAFAS flower clubs but we also have local businesses and school and Nymans staff and volunteers involved. Phillip and the garden team are a brilliant help with the practicalities of installation. Some would say we are mad - we don't care we just enjoy doing what we do.

Can't keep away from the Christmas festivities

Claudie and I also decorate Santa's grotto. The grotto used to be in the Plant Centre but now it's in the Cook's Kitchen, a small building behind the house, so the children have a fun route from the reception area to find Santa in his grotto.

When I'm not at Nymans...

When I'm not volunteering at Nymans I am very involve with the flower arranging world in Sussex being the Area chairman of The Sussex Area of The National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies (NAFAS for short), an organisation that was formed over 50 years ago and is still going strong today.