As the days get longer and brighter we turn our attention to flowers. Did you know that each geographic part of the United Kingdom has its own national flower? We are going to show you some of them and how they can inspire design.
Whilst the national flower of England is the rose, it’s not just any rose. The Tudor Rose has a combination of both colours that the Royal House of Lancashire (red) and the Royal House of York (white) wore during the civil War in the 15th century. The Tudor Rose came to symbolise peace between the houses.
Commonly found in the Highlands of Scotland is the thistle. It’s the country’s national flower, but it is not clear how it came to attain this status. A legend has it that a sleeping party of Scots warriors were saved from ambush by an invading Norse army when one of the enemies trod on the spiky plant. His anguished cry roused the slumbering warriors who duly vanquished the invader and adopted the thistle as their national symbol. Of course, there is no evidence to support this story, but it’s certainly an interesting one.
The leek was the traditional emblem of Wales until the 19th century, however there is much debate about how the Daffodil came to be named the national flower. The Welsh name for daffodil translates literally as ‘Saint Peter’s Leek’, which may have led to the confusion. It may also be because it blooms in early spring, coinciding with St David’s Day on March 1st when the flower is traditionally worn.
The strong yellow of the flower reminds us of Friendly Folk’s Provencal Yellow colourway in our collection for Andrew Martin. In this Terrace Suite at The Whitby Hotel, we have used the fabric for the curtains and a headboard.
The national flower in Northern Ireland is the Shamrock and not to be confused with the lucky four-leaf clover. St Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland used a shamrock as a metaphor to explain the Holy Trinity – ‘three people in one god as three leaves in one leaf’. It became a very strong symbol to the country from the 18th century.
Room 307 at Charlotte Street Hotel is a fitting tribute, with its bright colour combinations as well as the strong and characteristic green of the headboard’s Cactus Flower fabric from Christopher Farr Cloth.
Northern Ireland is lucky enough to have two national flowers. The Blue Flax came from the basis of the successful linen industry in the north of Ireland. People from all backgrounds worked in the linen industry making the Blue Flax flower a neutral symbol for Protestant and Catholic traditions. Nowadays it appears in the one pound coin to represent Northern Ireland.
In Oscar Bar & Restaurant at Charlotte Street Hotel, a colourful mural by Alexander Hollweg adorns the walls as a tribute to The Bloomsbury Group . This space is fresh and fun with a blue colour palette that’s reminiscent of the Blue Flax flower.