The rose. Silky velvet to the touch, passionate and pure, its elegant beauty a symbol of endurance and strength yet hopelessly transient. All that earthy worldliness and heady scent caught up in ribbon soft petals. To me there is no other flower in the garden that offers as much pleasure to the senses nor epitomises an English garden more than the rose. It’s the perfect bloom for Midsummer and one definitely worth celebrating as part of British Flowers Week.
Under a canopy inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I found myself immersed in the beauty of British grown flowers with the air thick with the perfume of English roses from the Real Flower Company. Transformed by the incredible floral design talent of Jay Archer, River Cottage Canteen in Winchester was barely recognisable – moss and roses tumbling from the ceiling, peonies, uplifting mint, lavender and joyous sweet peas, the room awash with the sweetness of Midsummer’s best blooms. Not an oasis in sight. It’s worth noting dear Reader, that should you wish to learn the art of creating such stunning floral displays, Jay also runs a Flower School .
Christened with floral crowns, assembled guests were treated to a little of Puck’s mischief too with the imbibing of sumptuous floral-inspired cocktails brought to us by the charming Cabinet Rooms gents. Aptly named ‘Some Enchanted Evening’, it proved the perfect tonic for any Midsummer’s eve.
Enthused by all the flowery delights of British Flowers Week, I unearthed an old Rose Cordial recipe of mine from last year, made when the sun was blazing. Keen to make the most of the roses here in our very own cottage garden, I shall be gathering up the leftover scented blooms which haven’t been blown or washed away in flaming June’s latest weather front to enjoy a little taste of my own midsummer when the sun decides to grace us with his presence again. Bottom’s Up, dear Reader.