Chichester Festival of Flowers 2018 launched

Chichester Cathedral Festival of Flowers 2018 has been launched today with three important announcements.

The 2016 Festival of Flowers at Chichester Cathedral. Picture: Derek Martin DM16120796a
The 2016 Festival of Flowers at Chichester Cathedral. Picture: Derek Martin DM16120796a

Preparations began with a celebratory Champagne afternoon tea attended by flower arrangers and VIPs from across the county.

There, they discovered the theme of next year’s festival, the celebrity festival patron and the festival flower for the first time.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Festival eesigner Jose Morum-Pound, revealed the theme will be This Earthly Paradise, exploring plant hunting, botany, horticulture and gardening. It will celebrate the plants which gave the continents their unique identity and fed the imagination which continues to inspire today’s gardeners and explorers.

Festival patron Emma Bridgewater. Picture JDA Media

Jose’s passion for plants is undeniable - a keen gardener and floral arranger, her appreciation of the beauty of flowers and her knowledge of their history and use were evident in the design as it was unveiled.

More than 240 flower arrangers across Sussex had been anticipating the announcement, which will inspire more than 80 floral arrangements as the arrangers interpret the theme to sensational effect. ‘

Emma Bridgewater, a British designer and businesswoman whose distinctive ceramics have a worldwide following, was announced as the patron of the 2018 Festival of Flowers.

Emma said: “The natural world produces a spiritual and emotional effect on me. I am really delighted to be involved with the festival.

The 2018 Festival Flower Nostalgia. JDA Media

“I feel a keen sense of anticipation already for that moment when you step into Chichester Cathedral to find it mystically transformed with flowers.”

Chichester Cathedral’s Festival of Flowers is renowned for innovation, with new varieties of plants and flowers developed to celebrate each festival.

Jonathan and Elizabeth Sawday from Apuldram Roses attended the launch and revealed the 2018 Festival Flower Nostalgia, a highly-perfumed tea rose with creamy blooms that are uniquely edged with cherry red.

Gardener’s World viewers voted the rose as the plant which had made the biggest impact on gardens over the past 50 years, making Nostalgia the perfect choice for the festival. In the past, there have been new varieties of roses, irises, pinks and sweet peas associated with Chichester Cathedral’s Festival of Flowers.

The festival is a biennial event organised by Chichester Cathedral Restoration and Development Trust. It is one of the most successful events in the trust’s portfolio, raising vital funds for the restoration of Chichester’s 900-year-old cathedral.

The festival attracts 15,000 visitors and has raised approximately £1million towards the cost of restoration work over the past 20 years.

Festival of Flowers 2018 will be a threeday spectacular during which visitors will experience the beauty of Chichester Cathedral adorned with flowers and trees, a programme of live music, a festival fair, plant fair and Café des Fleurs. It will take place from May 31 to June 2, 2018, with a Champagne preview on May 30. Tickets will go on sale this autumn.