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Grow the roses that starred in Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee celebration

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The Queen of Flowers played a glamorous role during Queen Elizabeth’s recent Diamond Jubilee celebration.

As part of the festivities, the queen’s royal barge was escorted down the Thames by a seven-mile flotilla of more than 1,000 boats, including 40 of the “little ships” that were used in the legendary evacuation of Dunkirk. It was the largest river pageant in 350 years.

Flowers from the queen’s gardens and her 16 Commonwealth realms decorated the royal barge, including English roses, Irish shamrocks, thistles from Scotland, Welsh daffodils, wattles from Australia, silver ferns from New Zealand, and Canadian maple leaves.

A 'floating botanical garden'

A traditional knot garden was also planted onboard the barge.

Rachel de Thame of BBC Gardener’s World created the floral designs in the royal color scheme of red, gold and purple. She used the queen’s 1953 coronation gown with its intricate floral embroidery as an inspiration.

Renowned florist Kitty Arden spent six months planning for the garlands that would festoon the barge. Her preparations, carried out along with 18-time Chelsea Flower Show gold medal winner Mark Fane, included several dry runs to assure that the flowers remained fresh and secure in case the royal party encountered rain or heavy winds. The flowers stayed put and remained vibrant for three days.

In all, more than 7,000 cut flowers, 140 plants, and 90 floral garlands (approximately six feet in length) turned the Spirit of Chartwell into a floating botanical garden.

And no flowers were more impressive or fragrant than the 2,700 cut flowers and 60 rose bushes supplied by David Austin English Roses.


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