Tredegar House, National Trust

Tredegar House, National Trust

To be involved in the 'Celebration of Blossom' at Tredegar House this spring, was such an honour and pleasure. To say I loved every minute is an understatement, from having a guided tour of this incredible house and grounds to learning about the history to inspire my designs and then having the biggest, most beautiful order of dried flowers arriving. 

To give you a little history – Tredegar House, National Trust is an architectural wonder in Newport, Wales. A late 17th century red brick house stands with pride within 90 acres of beautiful gardens and parkland, with stables, an orangery and brewhouse all located in this amazing property. The great Welsh families, the Morgans and later Lord Tredegar, were the proud owners of this house for more than 500 years, so as you can imagine this house is steeped in history. 

When it came to designing each piece for the outbuildings and rooms of the house, I wanted to ensure I encompassed many factors – from arranging flowers which would enhance the beauty of the house, to ensuring it was a celebration of all things blossom along with links to the history of the house and individuals who had the pleasure of living there. 

My aim was simple – bright, abundance and beautiful, focusing on spring whilst ensuring sustainability was maintained with everlasting, eco-friendly pieces.  

So for each designs, to start with ‘The Orangery’, possibly my favourite area within the gardens - with tall sash windows overlooking the gardens and often filled during cooler months with an array of citrus trees. I choose four 60cm willow base frames, made by Cardiff based Seren Willow, to be suspended from the lanterns in the orangery. This was chosen to draw your attention to the beauty of the building, encouraging you to look around the orangery. Each wreath had a selection of orange, yellow, green and white flowers and foliage, such as dried rhodanthe daisies, mimosa and marigolds. I choose to include marigolds as these were once grown, and continue to be in the grounds of the house. 

On to ‘The Stables’, here I created 2 crescent shaped wreaths to portray horse shoes decorated in bright and welcoming colours. I wanted these to be fun, the dried flowers and foliage are all things that horses can eat, such as wheat and popcorn. I had also included feather grass to represent the horses' luscious manes, with its flowy appearance. 

Once you walk into the main house, the ‘Brown Room’ to your right is a large open room believed to be where guests visiting would be entertained. I wanted to ensure the arrangement would be luxurious and central to the room. The final vase arrangement is grand and bold in size, but subtle in colour to fit into the room. Dried flowers and foliage include bronze eucalyptus, evergreen preserved eucalyptus populas and brown palm cups with green kentia palms to add a little exotic, luxurious touch.   

‘The New Parlour’ was the private dining room used by the family. As I had seen images of the table lay out when the house was lived in, I wanted to incorporate similar floral pieces. Maintaining a luxurious element with British grown dried larkspur, eucalyptus and gypsophila, in shades of blue and white to match the décor and bring the room together. 

Following on through the house, ‘The Morning Room’ just off from the side hall and an entrance into the house, this room had had much uses, from the ‘Ladies Morning Room’ to ‘The Drinking Room’, and even a reception room when the house later became a school. A medium vase arrangement was created for this room, I wanted to bring the colours of the carpet to your attention as it's simply beautiful. With coral, lemon and blue dried flowers and foliage, I couldn't resist using UK grown billy buttons, helichrysums and larkspur.  

From the New Hall brings you to a grand staircase, with high ceilings and huge windows. Two floral clouds, now renamed as ‘flouds’ are suspended in the windows of the staircase. I choose a large rustic feel for these with a hint of yellow, to match the colour of the walls. Dried lavish flowers and foliage include a selection of eucalyptus, Billy buttons, mimosa with ruscus, pampas and bougainvillea.  

As you make your way upstairs, ‘Evans Room’ is the first room you see, I wanted to draw your attention to the grounds which you can see from Evans bedroom, so I choose to do a large vase arrangement to sit on the windowsill. Opulent foliage was used, from Israeli ruscus, gold eucalyptus populas and baby blue to kentia palms. As I had been informed of Evan's love for animals, I wanted to incorporate this into the arrangement, so choose to include peacock feathers to finish the design. 

‘Olgas Room’ follows on from here - As I had read about Olga, Evan’s fourth wife, and her positive imprint in Lord Tredegar's life, with nursing and charity work, I wanted this arrangement to represent her beauty inside and out. Her room is grand, with red wall paper and has a lovely feel to it. I chose to include an abundance of red, orange and green tones. Different varieties of eucalyptus and pampas grasses were used with a hint of flowers including bupleurum and canary millet. 

As you walk through the house, the history of individuals who worked there is as present as the families themselves. The servants' quarters are as beautiful as the main house, from the kitchen, the housekeepers and servants' quarters, I wanted to ensure the floral designs were different to the main house. I choose to include predominantly grains, grasses and foliage. 

‘The Kitchen’ - to ensure there was a focus on what would have been made and used to create the lavish dinners. A large handtied bouquet stands proud in the kitchen, with a selection of avena oats, ixodia daisy, maize tops, wheat, barley and much more, and this then continues through to the pastry room. 

As you walk to ‘The Housekeepers Room’ two arrangements are included here with a similar feel to the kitchen and pastry room but I added more flowers as I thought it was more of a place they would have relaxed and rested. Dried flowers included sun ray daisies, with a selection of fragrant blue and white lavender.  

Through the final rooms of the house, you can see the servant's room – with a couple of vase arrangements scattered along the beautiful windows and tables. Then to finish a hand tied bouquet rests in the basket of a bike, wanting to portray a hand-picked, meadow like bouquet. A selection a lavender, wheat, daisies and nigella pods are included here for their beauty combined. 

Other arrangements were also placed in the bookshop and possibly one of my favourite arrangements are in the visitor's reception, with a garland over two meters along – for me portraying all things blossoms with pinks, peaches, yellow and white colours used. Within the Brewhouse, the café, I choose to use a design created in my co-founded business, The Earth and Bloom Company. A selection of dried flowers presented in a long, narrow clay base, sit on the windowsills of the café, and these couldn’t be more eco-friendly including all things made and created from nature. 

A little insight to the history and floral designs created for Tredegar House, Blossom Celebration.  Make sure you visit. 

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