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Maidstone: Leeds Castle Festival of Flowers 2018 with the theme Ladies' Day

By Angela Cole

High fashion, high society and high-stakes horse racing are what florists at Leeds Castle have drawn their inspiration from for this year's Festival of Flowers.

Running from Saturday, September 15 to Thursday, September 20, the castle will celebrate the glamour and thrill of the racecourse with the theme Ladies' Day.

A host of award-winning international designers have dressed rooms in the castle in floral finery ready for ladies' day.

Leeds Castle Festival of Flowers last year, with a display by Dennis Kneepkens. Picture: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com
Leeds Castle Festival of Flowers last year, with a display by Dennis Kneepkens. Picture: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

The castle is renowned for having been home to many fine ladies, including six medieval queens of England and Lady Olive Baillie.

This year’s designers include Angelica Lacarbonara from Italy, who will create a Charleston dress using flowers in Lady Baillie’s bedroom, echoing the 1920s décor in floral fashion.

Festival of Flowers at Leeds Castle last year Picture: Andy Jones
Festival of Flowers at Leeds Castle last year Picture: Andy Jones

Dennis Kneepkens from Amsterdam has designed a florally feminine garden with trees and arches for visitors to walk under, while Dr Solomon Leong from Hong Kong has created Ladies' Day in the Far East, depicting femininity from ancient China, with delicate lines and textures converging over circular shapes.

A display inspired by Leeds Castle's famous swans Picture: Andy Jones
A display inspired by Leeds Castle's famous swans Picture: Andy Jones

Young designer Philip Hammond, 26, from the Dorchester Hotel has created a special entrance to the castle across the bridge using scented Meijer Roses, while Morgan Nuth from Ascot Florists Old Oak Floral Designers Ltd has adorned the large metal horse in the castle’s courtyard with arcs of flowers, made in waves.

There will be a programme of floral demonstrations, specialist talks and daily garden tours, throughout the festival, included as part of the entrance ticket, and a guest talk on Saturday, September 15 by English garden designer Joe Swift in the festival marquee.

For tickets and more information, visit leeds-castle.com.

Joe Swift cuts the ribbon at last year's festival. Picture: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com
Joe Swift cuts the ribbon at last year's festival. Picture: www.matthewwalkerphotography.com

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