The Big Bouquet

As Hadleigh Festival of Gardening and Art draws to a close this month the organisers, Jane Haylock, Jane Snowdon and Jan Devey, are focusing all their efforts on the grand finale, The Big Bouquet. This is due to take place from Monday 11th September to Sunday 17th September.

Having launched the festival with a flourish at Hadleigh Show in May, it’s important to maintain the level of interest and enthusiasm which has built up within the community since then. Residents and visitors have been treated to a wide range of events from a magical picnic to a local Gardeners’ Question Time and much more. The catalyst for the festival was artist, plantsman and long-time resident of Hadleigh, Sir Cedric Morris.

He will be respectfully remembered in an exhibition about his life, together with a collection of fond memories from several of those who knew him. The artistic work of this talented man was fully explored in a talk by one of his former students and renowned artist, Maggi Hambling. Present day artists will have an opportunity to display and or sell their work in the art and textile exhibition in St Mary’s Church, Hadleigh.

Many of the personal reminiscences often refer to the happy times spent with Sir Cedric in his extensive garden and rambling house at Benton End. This more lighted hearted ‘fun’ side of his lifestyle will be reflected in a creative but unconventional show called Bra Ha Ha – An Uplifting Exhibition.

Appropriate underwear has been purchased from local charity shops then transformed and crafted by many local residents into ingenious almost unrecognizable creations. Several of these are currently gracing the windows of High Street businesses. This time these unique bras are supporting the charity Cancer Research UK.

While guests enjoy the exhibits there will be a succession of musical happenings. The recently formed Hadleigh Ukulele Group, a folk band, a jazz band, a pianist, a keyboard player with violin accompaniment and a cello duo will provide a miscellany of background music throughout the day on Saturday 16th September.

There will also be some stalls with a variety of ‘arty’ demonstrations and merchandise for sale including a pressed wool workshop and a lady beekeeper with a mobile bee unit, and their festival artist, Emma Kerridge. Emma will show visitors how she painstakingly creates her exquisite pictures of Sir Cedric’s irises using a multitude of coloured pencils.

For extroverts of all ages, a face painter could change your image and brighten your day, in one swift sitting. Hadleigh Rotary Group will announce the winners of their recent teenage photo competition, Nature Like Art. Members of Hadleigh Amateur Dramatic Society (HADS) are planning some gardening antics too.

With the help of several dedicated volunteers, the town council, Babergh and iris enthusiast, Sarah Cook the gardens in the centre of the town have been planted with a variety of interesting flora, meadow flowers and irises which will flower every year.

The bald roundabout at the Lady Lane turn off from the Hadleigh bypass will have a fine show of sturdy plants and colourful shrubs for passersby to enjoy. The detailed Cedric Morris display boards will be put to good use when visitors come to explore Hadleigh.

The less obvious legacy is the increased awareness of the life and work of  Sir Cedric Morris and of Hadleigh itself. plus the unexpected friendships made while working as a community on Hadleigh Festival of Gardening and Art 2017.

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