Living Flowers

Floral Farming Fun

SUBJECT: The Agricultural Revolution, a large installation in the cloisters area: 12x12m


FOCUS: The mechanization and improved tools of the Agricultural Revolution, such as seed drills and the plough

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Displays of veg and cereal crops to be incorporated.

GETTING STARTED Reading about the Agricultural Revolution, we decided to feature Charles Turnip Townsend, an agriculturist who was a great enthusiast of four-field crop rotation and cultivating turnips. Jenny Bee and I decided we wanted to depict the four-field crop rotation by placing a hedgerow at each corner plus an old gate post to enclose our field. The hay cart was to be our focal point, made in kit form for easy transportation and manuvering.

The sides of the cart were fixed with wire so we could weave Salix (willow), Phormium, Papaver (poppy) and Allium through to give a 3D effect and interest. We also attached willow to the wheels, with the central part of the wheels decorated with large artichokes and sunflower heads.

We filled the cart with wheat and barley to resemble sheaves of cut corn and added local garden flowers to give interest and color. We decided on green Gladiolus and hanging Amaranthus to complement gorgeous tall Amaranthus cruentus ‘Hot Biscuits’. We also used Achillea, Verbena, jewel grass, Zinnia, Acroclinium and burnt orange sunflowers.

We had a team of 10 ladies, all with different flower arranging skills and style. One who was very good at sewing was given the task of making our model farmworker to sit on the cart. She made the smock in keeping with the day
and dyed it in cold tea to get the right shade of cream.

His hair and beard was made from sheep’s wool and he was seated on the cart having his lunch. We didn’t think he would survive because of the Cathedral pigeons, but he did. We added him for a bit of fun but he became so popular I think he was in everyone’s photographs.

Four members of the team are associated with farming so many of the pieces of machinery were found in our sheds, used by our parents’ generation. We advertised locally to see if anyone had anything we could borrow, and people were only too willing to help.

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