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“Winter Flowers Week” opened by Her Majesty The Queen (Camilla)

“Winter Flowers Week” opened by Her Majesty The Queen (Camilla), at The Garden Museum, in London, celebrating beautiful seasonal flowers and foliage through sustainable immersive floral festive installations.

Although you might usually associate flowers with summer, think again! This week Her Majesty The Queen opened “Winter Flowers Week,” a celebration of seasonal flowers and foliage through immersive floral festive installations at The Garden Museum, in Lambeth, London between 7 – 11th December .

At the centre of the event is the theme is sustainability. Five floral designers Shane Connolly & Co, Carly Rogers Flowers, Hazel Gardiner Design, Tattie Rose Studio and Floribunda Rose have transformed the museum into a winter wonderland using British-grown seasonal flowers and foliage, cultivated using environmentally friendly methods and materials. The installations have been designed specifically for the historic space, interacting with the Garden Museum’s Grade II* listed building, parts of which date back to 14th century.

Her Majesty admired the beautiful displays of flowers and foliage and met the designers, guided around the Garden Museum by Alan Titchmarsh, President of the Garden Museum and Royal Florist Shane Connolly, who designed the floral arrangements at Westminster Abbey for the Coronation of The King and Queen on 6 May 2023.

The author of five books and is a floristry judge at the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show, Connolly’s enchanting installation A Shrine to Nature highlights the delicacy of simple British winter flowers, including Chimonanthus Praecox (wintersweet), Growing Helleborus, Niger (Christmas Roses), Salix and Mistletoe.

In contrast Camberwell-based Carly Rogers’s floral display Deconstructed Landscape is Inspired by the centuries old tradition of gathering winter foliage for garlands and wreaths to decorate homes during the festive season. Rogers has imaginatively created a sculptural winter landscape, a ‘still life’ of mixed seasonal pines and moss that transports the visitor to an imagined natural space.

In Pathway to Reflection, botanical artist Hazel Gardiner has created a tranquil and immersive grotto, adorned with gifts from the natural world, candlelight and delicate fragrances. Imbued with scents crafted by perfumer Maya Njie, the calming winter palette of dried flowers includes Straw Flower (Helichrysum), Teasle (Dipsacus fullonum), Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) and Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum).

Another striking display is Winter Wild designed by Tattie Rose, inspired by her grandmother’s story of a girl who travelled through the villages of Galloway in Scotland selling her homemade decorations from a sleigh before Christmas. Rose’s charming installation features a wooden sleigh hand-painted with her favourite winter flowers: snowdrops, cyclamen, hellebores, holly; and filled with wreaths and decorations made from seasonal foliage.

After you have visited the floral festive installations, do take a walk around The Garden Museum. It was founded in 1977 to rescue from demolition the abandoned ancient church of St. Mary’s, which is the burial place of John Tradescant (c1570 – 1638), one of England’s first well-known gardeners and rare plant-hunter and collector. His elegant tomb is in the centre of a knot garden planted with flowers that grew in his London garden around four hundred years ago. The interior of the church is used for exhibitions, events and talks with a botanical flavour, in a modern gallery space. The church is not only historically important but also a tranquil and beautiful oasis in the centre of bustling London, nurtured by a small horticultural team of staff and volunteers. The garden is lovingly planted with flowers and shrubs introduced by John Tradescant and his family – such as the scarlet runner bean, tulip tree and red many amongst others.

Rather like a winter garden, The Garden Museum is a tranquil oasis offering temporary escape from the everyday stress of your NHS job and you are bound to find inspiration for your own festive decorations either for your wards, office, or home.

If you are in London over the festive period, don’t miss seeing Louisa Crispin’s keenly observed, exquisite drawings of nature, inspired by the cycle of growth and decay, in her exhibition Surrender to the Rhythms showing at the friendly Muse Gallery on Portobello Road and free to visit until 23rd December.

Winter Flowers Week at the Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Road, London, SE1 7LB
020 7401 8865; www.gardenmuseum.org.uk
Admission: £14, concessions apply, see website for details
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 10am – 5pm
Winter Flowers Week will also include a Friday Late event on Friday 8 December, a chance to see the installations with a drink in hand while enjoying performances and festive floral activities.

Surrender to the Rhythms, at The Muse Gallery, (until December 23rd) at 269 Portobello Road, London W11; Gallery opening hours 12.00-6pm Thursday – Sunday, FREE entry

Rebecca Wallersteiner
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