Alongside the madness of the Shirt Race and the fun of the Carnival on 2 July, residents and visitors will also be able to enjoy the more sedate pleasures of the Eynsham Flower Festival.
Parish Cllr Milly Chen is one of the many local people who has taken part in the 2022 Flower Festival, which will celebrate the 70-year reign of the Queen and be on display in St Leonard’s Church over the first weekend in July.
Despite her many responsibilities – Milly is a working mother as well as a Parish Councillor – she was eager to take part. She says: “I love nature, so anything linked to nature and plants always catches my attention. I also love learning and was curious about the Queen. I borrowed a nice book from the Eynsham library to get inspired. I recommend it! It’s called Elizabeth: A Celebration in Photographs of the Queen's Life and Reign by Jennie Bond.”
The creativity involved in coming up with a display was an additional benefit, “plus I love the Eynsham Flower Festival and there was a sense that I could have complete freedom and not be limited to fresh cut flowers.”
Milly has spent the past few months collecting and drying flowers in preparation for her display (despite suffering with hay fever). “I wanted the whole thing to look natural and I know that dried flowers can last a long time, which resonates with the fact that the Queen has reigned for so long and we say ‘long live the Queen’”, explains Milly.
She used seven colours across the arrangement to represent the seven decades of the Queen’s time on the throne. The flowers are surrounded by seedpods of Sheppard’s purse to symbolise the ‘thousand hearts’, which Milly felt expressed the love village residents feel for Her Majesty. For those not so familiar with plants, “the Sheppard’s purse is a beautiful, edible plant,” explains Milly, “and I harvested it from our new Food Forest Garden at the Old Witney Road play area.”
Many are looking forward to seeing all the displays in situ for Carnival weekend. This 2022 Flower Festival promises to be an interesting one, as the organisers have encouraged those taking part to incorporate memorabilia and share memories they have of the Queen alongside their flowers. “It’s a lovely way to celebrate an extraordinary monarch,” Milly says, “and I’m proud to be able to be part of that. It’ll be fun to see what everyone else comes up with.”
Find out more about the Eynsham Flower Festival on the community website and see the display at St Leonard’s Church from Saturday 2 July until Monday 4 July. The church will open to the public to view the flowers 10am-6pm on Saturday, from 12pm (after the Carnival Morning Service) until 6pm on Sunday and 10am-3pm on Monday.