A R R A N G I N G   T H E   P A I N T E R ' S   G A R D E N

T U E S D A Y   2 0   -   T H U R S D A Y   2 2   J U N E   2 0 1 7


The Bloomsbury Floral Retreat | Arranging the Painter's Garden | Aesme Flowers London

T I L T O N   H O U S E

A five minute stroll up the lane from Charleston Farmhouse, Tilton House is a handsome Georgian property nestled beneath the South Downs and was once home to economist John Maynard Keynes and ballerina Lydia Lopokova, close friends to the Bells and fellow members of the Bloomsbury set. With beautiful gardens and characterful interiors, Tilton is the perfect place to relax and be creatively inspired.

There are plenty of private corners for privacy and curling up with a book in the library, artist garden room or beneath the trees in the garden, and meals are freshly prepared using local ingredients and seasonal vegetables from the kitchen garden and orchard. Tilton is a short drive from the charming historic market town of Lewes, which offers a number of stylish boutiques and antique markets.

Learn more about Tilton's history here.

Bloomsbury Floral Retreat | Aesme Flowers London
Charleston 4.jpg

C H A R L E S T O N   &   T H E   B L O O M S B U R Y   A R T I S T S

The country home of post-impressionist artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant from 1916 until Grant’s death in 1978 and for decades a hub of artistic and intellectual activity, Charleston Farmhouse was frequented by many of the most eminent artists, writers and thinkers of their generation, including Virginia and Leonard Woolf, E.M.Forster, Lytton Strachey and Roger Fry. The rooms and garden of Charleston have been painstakingly preserved, as has its storied atmosphere. Rife with colour, painterly expression and character, it is the perfect source of inspiration for the floral artist.

We will take inspiration from the work of the Bloomsbury artists for our floral designs, starting with a private curator-led tour of the interior of Charleston as well as a countryside walk to see the painted murals of Berwick Church.

The Bloomsbury Floral Retreat | Arranging the Painter's Garden | Aesme Flowers London

T H E   C H A R L E S T O N   G A R D E N S

In 1936 Vanessa Bell wrote, “The house seems full of young people in very high spirits, laughing a great deal at their own jokes… lying about in the garden, which is simply a dithering blaze of flowers and butterflies and apples.”

Taking cue from what is in season in the walled sculpture-dotted gardens of Charleston, we will use an abundance of blowsy June roses, flowers grown especially for the Retreat at our own cutting garden, seasonal materials from local suppliers and wild flowers and foliage foraged from the surrounding fields and hedgerows. Mark Divall, custodian of the Charleston gardens for over a decade, will give us a short talk on its history and the role he has played in preserving the essence of this painter’s garden.

The Bloomsbury Floral Retreat | Arranging the Painter's Garden | Aesme Flowers London

F L O R A L   D E S I G N   C L A S S   &   M A T E R I A L S

We will focus on evoking a sense of place through floral design, of capturing the essence of a painter's garden in June and a sense of the surrounding environment.

Weather permitting, our floral design class will take place under the trees on the lawn at Tilton House. Covering our approach to floral design including materials, mechanics, form, colour, texture and composition, we will teach attendees how to create a wild, romantic centrepiece cascading with garden roses, seasonal flowers and foraged branches in a bespoke ceramic vessel. A professional photographer will capture atmospheric images of our creations and surroundings throughout the day. In the late afternoon we will collaboratively style a midsummer tablescape with flowers, vines and candles before enjoying a feast of summer dishes. 

This Retreat is open to all, from complete beginners to professional florists seeking inspiration and we will be on hand to provide as much or as little advice and encouraging instruction as you may require. Our aim is to promote an atmosphere of collaborative learning and openness to sharing inspiration and ideas.

The Bloomsbury Floral Retreat | Arranging the Painter's Garden | Aesme Flowers London




T U E S D A Y   2 0   J U N E

Afternoon arrival at Tilton House - 2 pm

Private curator's tour of Charleston Farmhouse

Talk by Charleston Gardener

Tea in the Farmhouse kitchen

Settling in at Tilton

Informal Drinks

Seasonal summer supper


W E D N E S D A Y   2 1   J U N E

Home cooked breakfast at Tilton

Cross country walk to Berwick Church

Wildflower & foliage forage

Courtyard lunch at Tilton

Floral centrepiece design class

Tablescape styling

Bloomsbury supper


T H U R S D A Y   2 2   J U N E

Home cooked breakfast at Tilton

Check out 10.30 am

Visit to Lewes Market Town



R E T R E A T   P R I C E   £895 inclusive of VAT

To book a place on The Bloomsbury Retreat, please click here.

Places for this retreat are limited. Bookings are non-refundable and non-transferable. Includes: two nights' shared-room accommodation, supper on Tuesday and Wednesday night, lunch on Wednesday and breakfast on Wednesday and Thursday morning at Tilton House, Curator's Tour and tea at Charleston Farmhouse, floral design tutorial and demo, flowers, foliage and vessel to take home. Not included: transport to and from the Retreat, transport to Lewes.


020 8741 3543  

london w12 7la