The word Waterloo conjures a number of images: Napoleon’s final defeat, Europe’s busiest railway station, Abba winning Eurovision – probably not a Sustainable Flower Festival.
But that’s exactly what’s taking centre stage for three days (16-18 June) in the middle of this year’s Waterloo Festival. Now in its seventh year, the festival is breaking new ground by raising the issue of where our cut flowers come from.
The importance of supporting UK plant producers was a key theme at the opening of this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, and British Flowers Week (19-25 June) shines a spotlight on the breadth and beauty of home-grown flowers.
All the Waterloo Festival exhibits will be created using locally sourced plants, with floral displays that celebrate this year’s festival theme of ‘Sacred Spaces’.
‘We are pretty unusual here at St John’s, as an inner city church with a large ‘Green Flag Award’ garden where all are welcome to enjoy and relax. It is a green lung for local people, commuters and visitors throughout the year, but for three days in June we are bringing the garden into the church with five ‘flower stations’ under this year’s ‘Sacred Spaces’ theme.’
Vicar and festival chairman
The Waterloo Festival takes place in St John’s Church, the fine Greek Revival-style church with its resplendent portico across the road from the station and IMAX cinema.
Free to attend, it’s just one of many attractions at this year’s Waterloo Festival of music, art, poetry and dance.
This first Sustainable Flower Festival is being created by Belinda Taylor and a team of members of the congregation and local flower enthusiasts and arrangers with sustainability very much in mind.
In the first station there will be flowers to aid meditation and contemplation; the artist and teacher Chris Clarke will invite visitors to join him, using drawing or other techniques to capture the spirit of the exhibits on Saturday from 10.00 to midday. There will be a led meditation on Saturday from 12.30-13.00.
‘As a church we place a lot of emphasis on the links between faith and the environment and this year’s festival theme will feature this link in a wide range of events. We’re a truly community church with a strong local following, but we also have a fantastic location which means we can share it and welcome everyone from far and wide.’
Vicar and festival chairman
Other parts of the church will be decorated by floristry students from Lewisham and Southwark College and Patricia Ellis, the floral designer from Southwark Cathedral.
Roots and Shoots Community Garden and Lambeth Scouts will be displaying edible plants and herbs while Gary Anderson, a member of the congregation who advises schools on the needs for children with special educational needs and disabilities, will bring together flowers that aid prayer and meditation in a display for the Lady Chapel.
Click here for more on the Waterloo Festival and the programme of events.
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