This is the season for flower shows, first The Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show and then, closer to home, The Royal Cornwall Flower Show.
I’ve been lucky enough to squeeze attendance at both these two important flower shows into my busy schedule this year. I say important, because as a floral designer, visiting flower shows ticks a few boxes for me: professional profile (I get out and about and plenty of chances for good chats with other professionals, potential clients, and suppliers); industry insider tips (lots of great design/materials ideas to take back to my workshop for upcoming commissions, weddings, and formal displays); personal pleasure (last, but not least, because I just love flowers!).
So how were they? Well, Chelsea was spectacular, always inspiring, amazing, a phenomenon really, but if I am perfectly honest, the stress of getting to the venue, the time it takes to gain entry and the sheer physical slog of going round with the throng has to be set against that. I loved the work on display (what I could see of it) but this year the sheer numbers of people present were off putting. There was an amount of pushing and shoving, straining forward to see the stunners and the winners, and for me, ‘elbows out ladies’ goes against the whole idea of what flowers and gardens should ideally be about – harmony, balance, relaxation. Flowers and floral design should bring sensory delights – colours, smells, textures – and also elements which are spiritually uplifting. This year, at Chelsea that was not so easy to find.
Royal Cornwall, however, was as ever, a delight. As the website says, Royal Cornwall’s event is:
A flower show that prides itself on a well-earned reputation for being one of the country’s best. It attracts trade exhibitors from far and near and they compete with each other to mount the finest displays.
And once into the whole event, it’s free. I’d recommend going, every time.
I had a great day looking round, and the flowers were excellent, really stunning. For my competition entries, I had two good results overall: a second prize and a ‘Highly Commended’ in the imposed class. For this last challenge, a race against the clock, they say working under pressure can bring out your best qualities… although it never feels like it at the time.
Reading that paragraph above back, I think my perspective on those shows boils down to the fact that Cornwall is such a great place to live, the pace and quality of life here are just hard to beat. I love going on trips ‘up country’, London even, but at the end of the day, I love good old Kernow and all it has to offer, more. I love the lifestyle, the views, the coast, the mild climate (most of the time), the unspoiled areas, the sub-tropical flora, the list goes on. Cornwall is such a fantastic venue for weddings, for anyone out-of-county looking for a truly beautiful and magical location, Cornwall is so unique and memorable, it has some wonderful spots, and if you have the right contacts (like yours truly :), you can find the same tip-top professional services in this county as anywhere else, the only difference is, you will be happier with what’s left in your pocket.
Case in point, I have just had a booking for a wedding next year at Cornish Tipi in St Kew, “the closest you can get to an outside wedding in the UK”. With such beautiful wild woods, woodland streams, a wood, willow and canvas Pavilion, tented spaces, tree arbours, fire pits, charming outdoor accommodation in Tipis, where else could you find a lovely location like this, except Cornwall?
Further on this local theme, it gave me great pleasure this month to install my first church flowers – either side of the altar at the chapel of Carclaze Methodist Church. It was the Sunday School Anniversary that day and as it so happened also the Anniversary of the date of the first Chapel ever opening. That morning a special anniversary service was planned and the flowers were there to add an especially colourful celebratory touch.
Also on a local note, LOCAL FLOWERS ARE NOW AVAILABLE! Sorry about the capitals, not meaning to be shouty and all that, but last week was British Flowers Week, and not only did the event make it to Countryfile, (read all about it here) I just had to announce that this also marks the key week for the plentiful availability of local flowers here in Cornwall. Locally grown flowers are fresh, sustainable (no air miles), great for the local economy, beautiful, traditional, and, more importantly, affordable – so get some while you can.
And finally, if you’re interested in seeing some more pretty pictures of weddings in Beautiful Cornwall, look out for Floral Creations St Austell’s contribution to the photo shoot with Jules Mackintosh in the upcoming July issue of Pure Weddings.