Our gardeners don’t always dig, weed and water. Some are called upon to demonstrate other talents.
In a big house like Mount Stewart its huge rooms deserve huge blooms! Luckily we have in the grounds lots of flowers that can fill this role, like the gorgeous white lilies from beside the lake. Lady Rose recalls Hebridean musician Duncan Morrison planting some of these lilies – her grandmother Edith, Lady Londonderry, liked to press into service any visitor caught sitting doing nothing!
Lisa puts the finishing touches to the central arrangement in Lady Rose’s Saloon. Sometimes Rhododendron Macabeanum or one of the most fragrant R.Fragrantissimum, are chosen, their creamy yellow and white blooms making a dramatic contrast again shiny dark green foliage.
Louise sets to work in the Flower Room where a ready supply of vases, water and oasis are on hand for the smaller arrangements that can be safely carried to the Dining Room and Sitting Room.
When entertaining, fresh flowers are de regueur in the dining room, and in times past for special occasions supplies were sent to Londonderry House by air. It is important to keep dining table posies low so that guests can see each other across the table and carry on conversation between courses.
During the 1903 Royal Visit to Mount Stewart our big red scrapbook tells us that for the weekend dinner parties roses were the flowers of choice. One evening the roses on the table were pink and on the other, red.
Orange blossom on the Dining Room table combines with lovely floral china, sparkling glasses and silver flatware to give visitors an idea of how the table would have looked when the family entertained guests. The DIning Room must have looked wonderful by candlelight on a formal occasion with everyone in best bib and tucker, especially if fellow guests included people like Lady Lavery, W B Yeats, or Winston Churchill.
Just remembered – a few years ago we had a very successful Flower Show Weekend in the house with lots of wonderful artistic arrangements by local florists. Perhaps the events team might consider a repeat?