Painting a Chelsea picture with the power of flowers

Jonathan Moseley,
Jonathan Moseley,

JONATHAN Moseley’s passion is flowers.

It started as a youngster and, for the past 20 years, he has been a freelance floral designer.

He has especially made his mark at Chatsworth, designing last year’s tulip festival and preparing an autumn festival this year, based around dahlias.

Now Jonathan, aged 40, who lives in Coal Aston, is putting the final touches to his most ambitious challenge - designing a large stand at the Chelsea Flower Show based on Monet’s series of paintings of water lilies.

“I was inspired by the colours,” he says. “There will be masses of every type of flower you can mention.”

He was leaving for London this week ready to create the masterpiece, for which he has been commissioned by the North East Area of the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies.

Jonathan has demonstrated at Chelsea five times, but this will be his first major stand - 20ft square and featuring a 16ft perspex tower packed with an array of blue, lilac, pink and purple flowers.

The display will have recognisable images from Monet’s paintings, including the Japanese-style bridge and the iconic water lilies floating on the pond. “My plan is to create a living canvas inspired by Monet’s work, garden and obsessive fascination with one flower, the water lily.”

The work has been over 18 months in the planning and has seen him working with a team of nine in a disused barn in Wetherby.

But there is only so much that can be done in advance.

“The logistics are a challenge. Because it’s fresh flowers, everything has to be last minute. They have to last for a week, from the press day to the dismantling of the stand.”

Jonathan caught the bug early.

“It started when I was 11, going to Dinnington Flower Club with my mum. I had a greenhouse for my 11th birthday and I have loved flowers from then.

“I am passionate about it. It’s my lifeblood.”

He has done his homework for Chelsea, which runs from May 22 to 26, going to see the famous gardens of the impressionist painter in Giverny.

And his efforts will have to pass the strictest of tests - the current head of the Giverny garden, James Priest, is coming to see it.

Meanwhile, Jonathan, who also works for the Leeds florist supplies company, Country Baskets, has another audience at the moment.

He is being featured on BBC TV’s three-part series looking behind the scenes at Chatsworth, which started this week.

Chatsworth is a pinnacle of his career in the north, he says, and Chelsea in the south.