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A floral symphony, conducted by a renowned local floristBirkenhead House
Strolling along the clifftop path that connects Birkenhead House to the lovely Fernkloof Nature Reserve, you’ll be struck by the incredible variety of fynbos flowers you see and smell. This floral theme is continued in the most captivating way inside Birkenhead House, thanks to the arrangements created by talented local florist Susan Roberts of Lilly Rose in Hermanus.
Thursday is a highlight in the Birkenhead House week, because that’s when Susan brings her latest creations to Birkenhead House. More than a florist, she’s a true artist who uses flowers and foliage as her materials, and vases as her canvas.
“Flowers have a language all of their own,” Susan explains. “They have the power to express emotions, create memories, and bring joy. It’s a privilege to work with them.”
Susan is inspired to weave her magic by the abundance and diversity of the fynbos that she sees growing all around her. It’s this love for Nature’s details, coupled with a flair for arranging contrasting and complementary elements, which makes Susan so sought after as a floral artist. Watch her work, and it’s clear she has a real affinity for the roses, alstroemerias, tulips, wildflowers, dahlias, lilies, irises, gerberas, spray roses, carnations, poppies, and other blooms that she conjures together.
Susan spends a great deal of time outdoors in her garden and in the wild places of the Hermanus coast, and this gives her a keen awareness of the seasons. She understands that spring, summer, autumn and winter each have their own palette of colours and textures – and this can be seen in the fact that each time you walk into Birkenhead House, you’ll be greeted with arrangements that reflect the natural beauty of the current season.
“Nature is the best artist,” Susan concedes. “Every season brings its own special charm, and I aim to capture that essence in my arrangements.”
From the vibrant blooms and tender shoots of spring to the cozy hues of autumn, Susan’s arrangements mirror the changing landscapes and bring the outdoors into the heart of Birkenhead House. Susan’s creations are not just beautiful; they’re a living, breathing testament to the harmony between the hotel’s opulent interior and the natural world that begins on the doorstep.
Fynbos: A South African Treasure
One of Susan’s signature moves is her use of local fynbos elements. These authentically South African plants add to Birkenhead House’s unmistakable sense of place, and help to ground her floral arrangements. Fynbos is a term that encompasses a diverse range of indigenous plants, many of which are found nowhere else on Earth. Hardy and beautiful, these plants thrive in the local environment and bring a touch of the South African wilderness into Birkenhead House.
“Fynbos is part of our natural heritage as South Africans,” comments Susan. “I love being able to incorporate these special plants into my arrangements. They each add a page to the story of our region.”
Every Thursday, a Floral Symphony
Susan’s weekly visits are like a floral symphony being performed at Birkenhead House. She arrives with armfuls of fresh, seasonal flowers, ready to add colour and fragrance to the oasis-like interior of the hotel. Susan’s creativity knows no bounds, and each arrangement is a masterpiece in itself.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my passion with the guests and team members at Birkenhead House,” Susan says. “Thursday is absolutely my favourite day of the week, as it’s when I get to introduce the beauty of Nature to the hotel,” she adds.
A Floral Experience at Birkenhead House
When you arrive at Birkenhead House, you’ll immediately notice the warm smiles of the team, the expansive ocean views and Susan’s floral creations. Her arrangements are part of the overall Birkenhead House experience. They capture the essence of South Africa’s natural beauty and bring it into the heart of the hotel, adding to the sense of harmony and serenity.
“I love seeing the guests taking photos of the arrangements. It warms my heart to know that my creations add even more joy to their stay,” says Susan.
The next time you visit Birkenhead House and find yourself admiring the beautiful floral arrangements, take a moment to appreciate Susan’s talent and passion. They are woven into every petal and leaf, and her creations are a testament to the beauty of nature, the changing seasons, and the artistry of someone who simply loves flowers.