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PICTURES: A la Ronde opens for spring 2019

PUBLISHED: 10:37 04 February 2019 | UPDATED: 10:45 04 February 2019

Snowdrops at A la Ronde. Picture: JB.

Snowdrops at A la Ronde. Picture: JB.

Archant

"It's not like any other heritage property and it was built by extraordinary women."

A la Ronde before the official spring opening on Saturday. Picture: JB.A la Ronde before the official spring opening on Saturday. Picture: JB.

One of Devon’s most unusual heritage attractions has celebrated the start of its spring season by showcasing its snowdrops using a special Japanese technique.

National Trust property A la Ronde celebrated its spring opening on Saturday, February 2, with a brand new exhibition of 1,000 snowdrops hanging from trees in the house’s orchard.

Exmouth mayor, councillor Jeff Trail, and town crier Roger Bourgein were there on Saturday to officially open the new season at A la Ronde.

Around 22 volunteers mucked in to hand craft the Japanese-inspired ‘kokedama’, a natural plant-hanging technique using moss which is moulded into a ball shape.

A new cabinet of curiosities, all found at A la Ronde. Picture: National Trust.A new cabinet of curiosities, all found at A la Ronde. Picture: National Trust.

Visitor experience manager, Emma Kay, said: “We saw it at the Chelsea Flower Show and thought it was a great idea and an interesting way to display the snowdrops. Craft and creativity is at the heart of A la Ronde so why not doing something special with our snowdrops.

“Even if it doesn’t snow again this year there will be snowdrops in the trees at A la Ronde.”

Inside the sixteen-sided house, built by Parminter cousins Jane and Mary in 1796, organic materials including feathers, sand, seaweed, shells and crushed minerals were used to create intricate designs and decorative schemes.

This year A la Ronde is celebrating inspiration from nature and how the Parminter cousins brought the outside, in.

The fireplace in A la Ronde's drawing room. Picture: Steve Young.The fireplace in A la Ronde's drawing room. Picture: Steve Young.

“A la Ronde is a really special place and we love sharing it with our visitors. Once you come here you will understand,” said Emma.

“It’s not like any other heritage property and it was built by extraordinary women. It is not just a little round house, in fact it is not even round, it is 16-sided.”

There will be new stories in the house including that of Regency watercolour painter, Sarah Stone, as one of her artworks features in the shell gallery.

Outside the space will be marked where a significant amount of shells have been found underground, carefully covered over until further investigation can be carried out.

Japanese-inspired ‘kokedama’ snowdrops. Picture: JB.Japanese-inspired ‘kokedama’ snowdrops. Picture: JB.

With a 360’ touchscreen virtual tour every visitor can get up close to the shell gallery; and view the shell ceiling as the Parminters intended while conservation work is ongoing.

A la Ronde before the official spring opening on Saturday. Picture: JB.A la Ronde before the official spring opening on Saturday. Picture: JB.

A la Ronde before the official spring opening on Saturday. Picture: JB.A la Ronde before the official spring opening on Saturday. Picture: JB.

The ‘kokedama’ orchard at A la Ronde. Picture: JB.The ‘kokedama’ orchard at A la Ronde. Picture: JB.

The ‘kokedama’ orchard at A la Ronde. Picture: JB.The ‘kokedama’ orchard at A la Ronde. Picture: JB.

The ‘kokedama’ orchard at A la Ronde. Picture: JB.The ‘kokedama’ orchard at A la Ronde. Picture: JB.

Snowdrops at A la Ronde. Picture: JB.Snowdrops at A la Ronde. Picture: JB.

A la Ronde before the official spring opening on Saturday. Picture: JB.A la Ronde before the official spring opening on Saturday. Picture: JB.

A la Ronde before the official spring opening on Saturday. Picture: JB.A la Ronde before the official spring opening on Saturday. Picture: JB.

The view from A la Ronde over the Exe Estuary. Picture: JB.The view from A la Ronde over the Exe Estuary. Picture: JB.

As close as visitors can physically get to the remarkable shell gallery. With a 360’ touchscreen virtual tour every visitor can get up close to the shell gallery. Picture: JB.As close as visitors can physically get to the remarkable shell gallery. With a 360’ touchscreen virtual tour every visitor can get up close to the shell gallery. Picture: JB.

A la Ronde before the official spring opening on Saturday. Picture: JB.A la Ronde before the official spring opening on Saturday. Picture: JB.

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