I was asked in October 2014 by Canon Precentor of Leicester Cathedral Rev Johannes Arens, if I would like a challenge, being offered the commission to Design and Supply the floral arrangements for the reinterment of Richard III remains at Leicester Cathedral. I was absolutely thrilled to be asked and accepted the commission with much pride and honour.
Planning the designs and the lead up to the week. Much planning needed to take place, firstly requirements for a work base near the Cathedral, putting a team together and working on designs that would be suitable, sketches for designs were submitted. Research was the key thing and also communication with the Cathedral at all times Many meetings have taken place, monthly for updates with the Cathedral, the Floral team members, Cathedral Flowers Arrangers, The Curve Theatre to name just a few! My team consists of 4 professional florists including myself and a horticulturalist. There are also helpers who are working with the floral team,total number will be 7 plus I have invited the Cathedral Flower Arrangers to be involved with the window designs as from Monday 23rdMarch. Also helping are volunteers from DeMontfort University The full team under my guidance.
Religious significant of Materials being used – I researched a tremendous amount about the Medieval era/period. In the paintings of this period of history, the symbolic flowers had such importance many of them being the subject of the Virgin Mary, the flowers being Roses. The rose was featured in numerous religious pictures. Although the rose was important in classical symbolism, the Lily was ranked first in Christian flower symbols. Once these flowers represented celestial happiness, but the matchless whiteness of the petals naturally suggested purity; from the twelfth century the lily was included into sacred paintings/art and became inseparable from the Virgin Mary. These lilies became known as Madonna Lilies. The White lily will be included into the designs in the Cathedral on Wednesday 25th March as it is the day of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
White Rose – This is being used due to the rose being the symbol for Yorkshire.
Genista – This is an elegant sweet scented shrub, ‘planta genista’ was the emblem of Geoffrey of Anjou, father of Henry II, the first Plantagenet king, who reportedly wore a spring of broom in his hat. This flower will be included into the coffin flowers and also the floral arrangements on Thursday 26th March.
Rosemary– Herb. This is for remembrance.
Sources of Foliage I have been researching the original/native trees to Britain as the foliage used in the designs should be native to this country. I have been in contact with a colleague of mine who is also part of the Team who is a Horticulturalist. We have discussed the foliage and working on the supplies coming from local sources. All of the chosen foliage is native to this country.
The other floral designs that I am responsible for are the Coffin flowers, all the Hospitality flowers at St Martins House, this includes the full decoration of the foyer, grand hall and royal rest room, presentation posies to their RH Duchess of Gloucester and Countess of Wessex.
I have the honour of being granted a Royal Warrant, By Appointment to HM The Queen as Supplier of Nosegays, together, with this responsibility for the floral designs for the Reinterment of Richard III a feeling of pride and joy is how I feel.
By Appointment to HM The Queen
Supplier of Nosegays
Floral Designer for Reinterment of Richard III at Leicester Cathedral