A 'Celebration of Flowers'
This annual week long event begins on Saturday 16 June and celebrates the season’s abundance of flowers and reflects back on Anne, the Countess of Rosse’s love of flower arranging.
In an address given at Anne’s memorial service by John Cornforth, the architectural historian, Anne’s flower arrangements at Birr Castle, her home in Ireland, were given a special mention: ‘On Friday mornings the whole floor of the entrance hall was carpeted with flowers which Anne arranged for the vases all over the house, opulent harmonies of colour and form, and as she separated lilies from the ferns and blended them in graceful clusters her voice trilled like a lark. She had a way with flowers and they had a way with her’.
" A flowerless room is a soul-less room"
Gertrude Jekyll was among the first writers to promote a new style of flower arranging, far less formal than the displays beloved by the Victorians. Constance Spry, in the 1930s, used loose open arrangements of garden flowers in unusual containers, a style Anne herself favoured, and Gertrude's book 'Flower Decoration' became an instant bestseller. We know that she and Anne wrote to each other and that David Masters, Nymans Head Gardener at the time of Anne's residence, provided foliage for Constance Spry's Chelsea exhibits.
'The Triumph of Hope'
This year’s 'Celebration of Flowers' will be a tribute to three members of the family whose creative vision led to the development of the present day garden. We will be focussing on the lives of Muriel Messel (1889 – 1918), Maud Messel (1875 – 1960), and Anne Messel, the Countess of Rosse (1902 – 1992) and interpreting their style through a series of flower arrangements. All three women were passionate about gardening and flowers.
Muriels’s great niece, Victoria will be officially opening the event on Saturday 16 June as we open the doors to visitors. Victoria is a botanical artist specialising in gouache and watercolour. She has travelled widely and has a body of work reflecting the places she has visited. The 'Celebration of Flowers' will launch on Saturday the 16th June alongside the new exhibition ‘The Triumph of Hope’ from which it takes its inspiration. Over 15 arrangements created from hundreds of blooms will be on display throughout the house, each with a distinct colour scheme to represent the three women.
Volunteer Flower Arrangers
Every arrangement has been carefully created by one of our team of volunteer flower arrangers, demonstrating their own unique style. The volunteers have worked together on each 'Celebration of Flowers' and 2018 sees the event enter its 11th year. The volunteers have a huge amount of experience, from flower arranging in churches and careers as professional florists to active participants of NAFAS, the National Association of Flower Arrangers.
We hope you enjoy this very special time of the year and have an opportunity to visit.The Celebration of Flowers begins on Saturday16 June and runs until Friday 22 June.