Thursday, June 14, 2012

English Roses (including two I grow) perfumed the Thames during the Queen’s Jubilee

Each floral swag on the Royal Barge was over six feet wide
 
The Queen of Flowers played a glamorous role during Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee celebration.

Last Sunday as part of the festivities, the Queen’s Royal Barge was escorted down the Thames by a seven-mile flotilla of over 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. 

A floating botanic garden
 
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 traditional knot garden was also planted on board.

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 gold medal winner Mark Fane, included several dry runs to assure 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, over 7000 cut flowers, 140 plants and 90 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 2700 cut flowers and 60 rose bushes supplied by David Austin English Roses.
Darcey Bussell is always in bloom

According to Michael Marriott, David Austin’s Technical Director, the roses for the swags included 1800 raspberry-red Darcey Bussell blooms and 900 blossoms of creamy white Patience.

 To mesh with the color scheme, 60 bushes of Darcey Bussell and the crimson-to-magenta Munstead Wood were placed in a bed in front of the Queen. 

Munstead Wood has won international awards for its fruity old world fragrance -- its delectable perfume delighted members of the royal party and onlookers alike.
Fragrant Munstead Wood ages to a deep purple

Painstaking preparations

To get the rose bushes looking their best, the Austin team forced them in a greenhouse usually reserved for their Chelsea Flower Show display.

For the cut flowers, they sent two of their expert florists to London to look after them in a building right by the Thames. For three days before the event, they turned them and and babied them, making sure they were exactly at the right stage for the special day.

The result was a smashing success and a feast for the senses. The perfect outcome for a celebration fit for a queen.

Dear Dirt Diaries friends, I wrote this article for the The Christian Science Monitor and thought you might like to see it. We will be posting more photos of the Royal Barge (and the Queen) on Monday.

8 comments :

thegardendiary.com said...

How interesting. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. 2,700 cut roses! So wish I could have seen this in person.

The Dirt Diaries said...

Thank you gardendiary! I am still waiting for a photo of the 60 rose bushes in front of the Queen -- all Darcey Bussell and Munstead Wood. The fragrance must've been amazing.

I love the photos of your garden. The one with the fence and herb sign is really beautiful.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

I am so glad you shared this, I didn't watch any of the Queen's stuff. Love to read about the flowers/ decorations. I like the Darcy Bussell and Munstead Wood pics.....how do they do here in our 'neck of the woods'?

Georgianna said...

Hello, Lynn! Wonderful post, as always. I actually just returned from Europe and made a quick stop to the David Austin Center in Allbrighton. Unfortunately, I was about two weeks too early for the bloom. It was very hard to turn my back on the one million or so buds just ready to burst!

Hope you are well and look forward to photos of your garden.

Georgianna

The Dirt Diaries said...

Janet, Both Darcey and Munstead have been terrific in my mountain garden. I continue to be amazed how prolific they are after being told roses don't do well here. I grew Darcey in MD and it didn't perform nearly as well. Maybe she didn't like the humid summers!

The Dirt Diaries said...

Georgianna, how disappointing you didn't get to see those roses in bloom in Wolverhampton. But I'm sure you saw many beautiful gardens elsewhere. Can't wait to look at all your gorgeous photos!

tina said...

What a lovely post about a lovely garden. It's neat to see behind the pics and hear from a blogger who has visited the garden as well as reading about it in a magazine. Those hydrangeas are stunning.

The Dirt Diaries said...

Thank you Tina! The Christian Science Monitor will be posting my follow-up with photos of the actual Royal Barge and the Queen. I'll post a link!

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