'The Romanian Centenary Garden': A botanical metaphor of united Romania

21/05 - 12/06/2018 @ RCI & Belgrave Square

The Centenary Celebration, the backbone of our programme in 2018, touches one of its peaks with 'The Romanian Centenary Garden', a multi-art event honouring the diversity and vibrancy of the united Romania created in 1918 by showcasing the unique variety and beauty of Romanian botanical richness.

The astonishing biodiversity present in all historical provinces that came together to form a new, democratic state at the end of the First World War is showcased through an exhibition, a book launch, a talk, a botanical-artistic installation, and culinary delights.

The project is organised by RCI London in partnership with The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation, Addison Publications, creart - Bucharest Municipality Center for Creation, Art and Tradition, and the Embassy of Romania. With the support of MUSIU restaurant and AVINCIS winery.

Book Launch: 'The Transylvania Florilegium'

24 May 2018, 19.00 | Romanian Cultural Institute. Free, please book your ticket here

In the presence of RCI President Liliana Țuroiu and Ambassador Dan Mihalache

Introduction by Sir Nicholas Pearson Bt, Chairman Addison Publications and the RCI London Director Dorian Branea

When HRH The Prince of Wales first visited Transylvania in 1998 he was “totally overwhelmed by its unique beauty and its extraordinarily rich heritage”. His Royal Highness saw the importance of its flora and, fearing that some plants might be vulnerable to changes in farming methods, suggested it should be recorded in the form of a florilegium. Lady Henrietta Pearson and the Addison Publications took up this urgent task and the result is the book that we are preparing to launch - a superb publication, 'The Transylvania Florilegium', which is not only beautiful but also important as an appeal for the protection of the environment.

Using the talents of thirty-six of the finest contemporary artists from all over the world, 'The Transylvania Florilegium' is a two-volume edition which contains paintings of 124 plants from a list compiled by famous botanist Dr John Akeroyd FLS, an authority on European plants, who has been working on Transylvanian flora for over fifteen years. The project, headed up by Helen Allen FLS, artist and Principal of The Chelsea School of Botanical Art based at The Chelsea Physic Garden, has taken seven years to complete, with groups of artists visiting the region each year for five years.

In addition to the prints of the watercolours, there is an introduction by Christopher Mills, formerly Librarian at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Dr Akeroyd has also written an informative text for each plant including scientific botanical details as well as recording where and when the illustrated material was found. As with 'The Highgrove Florilegium', which inspired this publication, the paintings have been through a rigorous selection panel of artists, botanists and art historians to ensure a high standard of work.

His Royal Highness, who is writing the Preface, has kindly agreed to sign each set of volumes.

Each volume of 'The Transylvania Florilegium' measures 19½ x 14 x 2 inches. (495 x 355 x 50mm)
The Transylvania Florilegium images: Copyright A. G. Carrick Ltd.



Exhibition: Recording Botanical Glory

21 May-12 June 2018 | Romanian Cultural Institute. Free. Mon-Fri 10.00-17.30 (Except Mon 28 May and Fri 1 June). For appointments outside the opening hours, please call 020 77520134.

An irresistible showcase of Romania’s botanical richness through forty of the original watercolour paintings by thirty-six artists who illustrated 'The Transylvania Florilegium'. Campanula, crocus, gentian, geranium, hepatica, hellebore, iris and orchids have never looked so beautiful!

We are grateful to HRH The Prince of Wales for the permission to exhibit the works and for the support in setting up the exhibition.  


Installation: 'The Great Union Garden' 

21 May-12 June 2018 | Belgrave Square. Free, no booking required

We honour the Romanian Centenary (1918-2018) through a potent symbol of unified, democratic and diverse Romania that emerged after the First World War. The installation, pertaining to our unique bio-diversity, is made of plants from all the historical provinces that came together in 1918.

The work, placed right in Belgrave Square in the heart of London, evokes both Romania’s natural beauty, which has remained largely unspoiled despite the inexorable advance of modernisation, and is an invitation to natural and cultural discoveries.

The project benefited from the generous advice of Professors Elena Săvulescu and Mihaela Georgescu from the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bucharest. Consultant designer: Amanda Patton.

Talk: Romania - A Unique Botanical Paradise by Dr John Akeroyd

24 May, 19.00 | Romanian Cultural Institute. Free, please book your ticket here

A revealing talk by revered botanist, conservationist and writer John Akeroyd, one of Britain’s great specialists on Central European and Romanian flora. Dr Akeroyd, who since 2000 has regularly visited Romania, will speak about our country’s unique botanical richness and the British contributions to the conservation of its ancient landscape, especially the wildflower meadows.

“For some time now, foreign visitors have been flocking to southern Transylvania in Romania, largely drawn by the remarkable architecture of its medieval towns and villages. Today, however, more visitors are coming to its hills to see the wildflowers… These old pastoral systems lie at the heart of Romania’s rural economy, but life is inevitably changing as tractors gradually replace horses.”  (John Akeroyd - extract from Gardens Illustrated Magazine, May 2018)


Additional Events: Photo Exhibition, Culinary Delights

We accompany the main events of 'Florilegium' with a digital photographic exhibition depicting the most beautiful parks of Bucharest, old and new, shot by some of the best Romanian landscape photographers. The exhibition is an invitation to discover Romania’s multi-faceted and culturally rich capital and its cultural attractions.

Many thanks to MUSIU from Timișoara, the Banat region, one of the first Romanian restaurants featured in the prestigious and exclusivist Gault & Millau Guide, for the culinary delights prepared by chefs Alina Hambaraș, Gabriel Săftulescu and Florin Ghibirdic, which are only matched by the exquisite wines provided by AVINCIS winery, lead by Cristiana Irinel and Valeriu Stoica, one of the top wine producers of the famous Drăgăşani hills in Oltenia region. 

Photo gallery by Răzvan Dănăilă & Alex Coman