Sussex Life visits Chichester Cathedral as it gets ready for biennial Festival of Flowers
PUBLISHED: 00:44 23 March 2012 | UPDATED: 18:24 20 February 2013
Chichester Cathedral's Restoration and Development Trust is once again looking forward to hosting its biennial Festival of Flowers. The event on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of June will be the eighth time the cathedral has been completely transformed.
Chichester Cathedrals Restoration and Development Trust is once again looking forward to hosting its biennial Festival of Flowers. The event on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of June will be the eighth time the cathedral has been completely transformed by glorious flower arrangements of all shapes and sizes. Simon Irwin looks at the work involved, with pictures from last time
Visitorsto the Chichester Cathedral Festival of Flowers will be greeted by a feast for the senses as the thousands of blooms on show delight the eyes and the nose.
This years theme is Poetry in Paradise. Festival designer Lyn Robinson has chosen 56 different poems that will be interpreted in flower arrangements around the Cathedral.
Each arrangement will have a quotation from the poem it is to illustrate. Mrs Robinson said: The Owl and the Pussycat will be interpreted right around the North Transept.
Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, celebrated in Sir John Betjemans A Subalterns Love Song, will be interpreted in the South Transept.
A team of 200 flower arrangers arrive at the Cathedral early in the morning of 29th May and will begin to construct their arrangements. Working with more than 40,000 stems of flowers, each arrangement must be completed by Wednesday lunchtime.
Mrs Robinson said that the budget for flowers alone was around 35,000 out of a total budget in the region of 140,000. Organisers were hoping to attract up to 20,000 visitors and to make 100,000 towards the restoration of the cathedral.
One complication Mrs Robinson was still dealing with as we went to press was whether the volcanic dust would affect the arrival of her tropical blooms. She has worked on a Plan B just in case.
Were hoping to have tropical flowers but with the volcano we dont yet know whether we will be able to get them. We will have a whole different look if we cant get the tropical flowers. We will use flowers we can get from Amsterdam that have been sourced from Italy and other places by lorry.
However, whichever source the flowers come from, Mrs Robinson is sure it will be a delight. It willbe fantastic and its all in a verygood cause.
Each team of arrangers are given a poem and they submit their designs to Mrs Robinson. They are then allocated a budget for flowers and props, which requires them to be as imaginative as possible.
They order their flowers the month before and the flowers all arrive, sorted into their arrangement number ready for their collection on the Monday morning. Any left-over flowers are sold during the Festival from the flower stall.
All the arrangements are taken down on the Sunday after the Festival and the flowers are sold outside the Cathedral on the Monday morning, a chance to purchase some unusual and beautiful bouquets at wonderfully low prices.
At the end of each Festival of Flowers the next Chairman and Flower Designer are appointed ready for the following Festival, the planning process never stops.
The Festival will be accompanied by a programme of beautiful music and the Cathedral grounds will play host to a traditional summer market plant stalls and cafes.
As Patron of the Festival of Flowers, gardening writer and broadcaster, Peter Seabrook said: Colourful and fragrant blooms are universally popular and in the hands of skilled and artistic arrangers bring a building to life.
I can think of no better way to adorn and celebrate the majesty of Chichester Cathedral than the biennial Festival of Flowers. Celebrating our wonderful God-given gift of flowers and raising so much money in the process for the benefit of the Cathedral is truly Poetry in Paradise.
I congratulate and thank all those who work so hard to stage this delight of the senses and hope together we can make this the best-ever in all respects.
Director of the Chichester Cathedral Restoration & Development Trust, Alison Godfrey said: We are delighted Peter Seabrook is able to be our Patron this year, his interest and help has been invaluable.
We are really looking forward to a wonderful Festival and raising many thousands of pounds to restore and preserve our most beautiful Cathedral.
The Festival of Flowers runs from 3rd-5th June. Tickets are 8