Close your eyes and imagine…
You walk inside a castle and are drawn to a doorway by a lovely scent that gets stronger with each step. You enter the room.
Fragrance envelops you — a complex, rose scent with hints of citrus and spice, raspberry and vanilla. A field of David Austin Wedding Roses — thousands of them — hovers in the air before you.
Colour is all you see — roses in every shade of pink, peach, blush, magenta, raspberry. There are two-toned yellow roses, white roses with a tiny touch of blush at the centre, blooms with petals that change from deep pink to light, from coral to gold.
You begin to notice their shape and texture. Some flowers are deeply cupped; others are broad and flat. One large beauty is so densely petaled it looks like white lace. The cut out edges of another suggest a charming pink ruffle.
Rising above it all are enigmatic floral creations — compelling, innovative designs that speak to you of fire and water, air and earth. You move forward to learn more…
It’s not a vision. It’s a description of the “David Austin Roses Experience” awaiting visitors at Fleuramour, one of the largest and most prestigious floral design events in Europe. On Sept. 23-26, Alden Biesen, a 16th Century castle in Bilzen, Belgium, will be filled with a dream-like landscape of transformative floral design.
Thousands of people — both floral professionals and everyday flower lovers — will be at Fleuramour this year. The “David Austin Roses Experience,” designed by European Master Certification (EMC) students and instructors, is expected to be one of the highlights.
“There will be more than 5000 David Austin Roses in one room, the scent will be amazing. We want people to stop, take in the fragrance, the visual impact and feel the emotions these beautiful flowers evoke,” said Tomas De Bruyne. (He and fellow floral educator Hitomi Gilliam, AIFD, are the founders and directors of the EMC Program.)
The unusual, multi-sensory display features a full array of David Austin Wedding Roses and individual designs by eight EMC students.
EMC invited its advanced students and graduates to choose one of the four elements – Earth – Air – Fire – Water — from Fleuramour’s theme and submit ideas for designs featuring David Austin Roses.
“They had to be forward-thinking, experiential — this isn’t about just creating (the look) of a fire. It’s about giving people the experience of fire, through flowers,” said Hitomi Gilliam, AIFD. The eight designs selected “are all very different. There’s a lot of innovation … students came up with some new techniques and even new materials,” Gilliam said.
At Fleuramour, the young designers will be on hand explaining their concepts, sharing ideas, and helping visitors appreciate the full David Austin Roses Experience. “Most of the time, floral designers come in, do an installation and leave,” said Gilliam. “At Fleuramour we get to see people react to our work, to talk to the public and to other designers about it.”
Just as David Austin is passionate about roses, said De Bruyne, “EMC is passionate about inspiring people and raising the floral industry to a higher level.”