We realise this year many of you have decided not to make the trip to RHS Tatton or, with reduced numbers, not been able to grab your self a ticket. Like so many events over the past 12 months we’ve enjoyed virtually!
Thank you for taking the time out to come and see what we’re up to here at RHS Tatton….
This year we have been invited to take part in the Fleur De Villes exhibition dressing a mannequin in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness, this gave us lots to think about. We wanted to make sure that are representation of such a worthy cause was accurate and most importantly real.
For this reason we spoke with Lynne a breast cancer survivor. An incredible, inspiring, empowering Tallulah.
Read Lynne’s story here…
“Is anyone’s experience of cancer really pink?
To me, the colour pink is femininity, prettiness, something that’s light, soft and fluffy. Trust me there’s nothing pretty, soft or fluffy about the s**t storm that’s breast cancer. There are 70,000 people living with secondary breast cancer in this country and the colour pink really doesn’t represent the harshness of that daily reality. One of my ‘breast friends’ said the other day that before her cancer she used to wear pink all the time, but now the associations of the colour and breast cancer means she just can’t.
Cancer can really alter a persons appearance particularly if the treatment requires the patient to have chemotherapy. I tried not to be too fazed by the changes in my body due to surgery and treatment as I always like to look for the positives in any situation. I thought that the hair loss might give me the chance to try out some funky short cuts whilst it grew back, and I could play around with different wigs whilst bald – I think the final count was nine purchases.
I told myself that after my mastectomy I could eventually have reconstruction and swap my ‘A’ cup boobs for a fairly decent ‘B’ cup pair. But when my eyelashes fell out, that was it. I looked like a boiled egg. Having my toe and fingernails fall off was one thing but not my eyelashes. But I dragged out a pair of false eyelashes from the back of a drawer and watched a YouTube video on how to make them stick when you’ve nothing to stick them to. It didn’t make me feel any better – chemo is brutal – but at least if I caught sight of myself in the shiny surfaces in my house, I didn’t look as I felt, and that helped.
I met Rachel of Tallulah Rose Flower School on a flower retreat in Scotland, a birthday present to myself. After my reconstructive surgeries were over I decided to look at the career change course and enrolled in February 2020. I’m so glad I did, because we all know what happened next. It was the most wonderful experience. I drove a total of three and a half hours every day for two weeks through the most horrific storms, but I wouldn’t have changed a thing, apart from the speeding tickets!
I met the most incredibly supportive, funny, and talented set of women there, and found the whole experience a nurturing one. My time spent at the school was so very special to me, and the course has given me the confidence to work as a florist, growing what I use and working with the seasons. Flowers are therapeutic for me and I want to enjoy placing every stem, whether it’s a simple vase for the kitchen table or for a wedding. And that’s what Tallulah Rose has given me, the confidence to do flowers my way.”
Lynne Howell – Breast cancer survivor and florist
We named our mannequin Eileen in memory of a very special lady, a lady who supported Lynn and introduced her to a group of women who all became breast friends….
As a flower school we strive to use as many British flowers as possible and this was no exception. All the flowers used to dress Eileen were grown by three incredibly talented growers; Ixia Botanicals, Flowers by Season and Carol Siddorn.
The foundation of our design was created using willow. The amazing duo Willow Pool based locally to us here in Kendal brought our design idea to life. Always striving to find a sustainable way this willow hoop gave us the answer!
Heres the artist statement that sits alongside Eileen…
As a strong community of women, although we speak for many, we chose one voice. It is the voice of a breast cancer survivor which inspires our design.
The inner strength required to face breast cancer is portrayed using a foundation woven from willow. The ability of the willow to grow and endure is a powerful illustration of how we too can not only survive but thrive.
Enriched with British grown flowers we reflect on how a woman enduring the brutal side effects of chemotherapy strives to hold onto her own beauty.
The outward elegance you see of a woman recovering from breast cancer often belies the physical and emotional battles that lie beneath the surface. Cancer is not pretty, nor is it pink. Please help us to raise awareness.