Local botanical artist Pearl Bostock has always loved painting from nature. After retiring as a teacher of fine art at the Kent Institute of Art & Design in Canterbury, she and seven fellow artists have set up a Florilegium Society at Bedgebury National Pinetum.

The many different colours and textures of cones and needles in the world’s best conifer collection make perfect subjects for their meticulous and vivid paintings. Working closely with curator Chris Reynolds and his deputy Dan Luscombe, Pearl and her team are producing a set of beautiful, precise and scientifically important records of the Pinetum’s most intricate components.

“This kind of work has to be a vocation,” says Pearl. “Each painting can take between 30 and 100 hours to complete. It needs a lot of love and dedication to look right into the subject, work out exactly how it grows and capture its beauty in minute detail from several different angles.”

A florilegium, which literally translates as a gathering of flowers, is a collection of botanically accurate paintings of plants, reproduced from life by botanical illustrators. This type of artwork originated in the 15th century as a way of recording rare and endangered plants in the days before photography.

The Bedgebury Florilegium Society receives support from the Friends of Bedgebury and Pearl will be teaching a 3-day Summer School in August for Friends members. The group, which meets once a month at the Pinetum, will be showing their work and giving demonstrations at Bedgebury’s Forest Discovery Day on Sunday 11th September.

For more information please contact Malcolm Dove, Friends of Bedgebury Administrator, on 01580 879842.