Preparations are underway for a floral spectacle at Minsteracres next month.

The Stocksfield South of Tyne Flower Club is combining with the flowers ladies of St Elizabeth’s church to stage ‘Floral Splendour’ in a blaze of blooms throughout the house and church to celebrate 250 years of a catholic mission at Minsteracres.

Vivien Bolton, founder member and former chair of the flower club is the mastermind behind the festival. Such a huge undertaking is not new to her. In fact the flower club staged a similar festival at Minsteracres back in 2004 under her direction to celebrate the 150th anniversary of St Elizabeth’s church.

“Back then there was a musical theme and we borrowed mannequins in ball gowns from Fenwick’s in Newcastle for the ballroom displays. Unfortunately they came without heads, so we had to improvise,” says Vivien. “Actually, it worked out better than we thought. We covered oasis with gypsophila and put it where the heads should have been – it was very effective!” she says.

Vivien’s interest started early. “As a child I loved flowers and gardening. My mother put fresh flowers up at home every Friday, and I started doing displays in Blanchland and other local shows as a child.

“As an adult I went on to more and bigger gardens. Then, when my children were little, a group of ladies came to see me from Stocksfield to ask if I’d help them set up a flower club. Funnily enough I came out as chair!”

Her interest led Vivien to qualify as a national demonstrator, and over the years she has displayed in places as varied as Slaley, Bywell and Edmondbyers churches, Durham Castle, Aydon Castle, and Seaton Delaval Hall.

If past performance is anything to go by, she’ll be attracting a big crowd.

The cost of programme and entry is £4, and the festival runs Friday 31st July 10am – 5pm, Saturday 1st August 10am – 5pm and Sunday 2nd August 2pm – 5pm.