With Chelsea’s official press opening May 20, royal fever has taken hold at the 100th Chelsea Flower Show, an annual fete from May 21-25. Prince Charles and Camilla are rumored to be making the scene, as well as a cast of “lesser” royals including Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice of York.
But the inside line is that Prince William’s security detail was doing a run-through of Chelsea, so it is expected that he and his with-child bride Kate Middleton will be making the rounds on May 20 when the entire show shuts down and the royal family convenes for a tour and tea party on the grounds.
There is no doubt that Chelsea, with extensive television coverage on the BBC each night during its run, is to the Brits, close to what the Super Bowl is to Americans: a unifying moment of national pride and shared purpose that makes everyone from the pensioner to the high society landscape designer unite in their love of green.
Wigginton says that another royal’s garden, for Prince Harry’s charity Sentebale, the B&Q Sentebale Forget-Me-Not Garden will be a highlight of this year’s show. In part an homage to his mother Diana, the garden will feature a botanical pattern that replicates the pattern of a comfort blanket Diana gave to Harry as a child.
Fun facts about Chelsea as recounted by Wigginton:
*Wondering what happens to all of those plants and flowers when arguably the world’s most famous flower show wraps? The flowers and plants—as well as hardscaping and architectural elements—are sold off to anyone with a will and a way to cart it home, at reasonable prices.
*For the past few years Queen Elizabeth has coordinated her Chelsea-day clothing to match the show’s signature mauve color scheme.
*Over 15,000 cups of tea were downed by thirsty Brits at Chelsea last year, according to Wigginton.
*Designers typically spend 8-9 months planning and preparing their entries in the annual Chelsea show.
*Last year the Royal Horticultural Society, whose membership includes any ordinary gardener who joins its ranks, fielded 65,000 questions from gardeners around the world.
Read more HGTVGardens stories about the Chelsea Flower Show.
This year's Chelsea is sold out, so start planning your trip to the 2014 Chelsea Flower Show. For more information about traveling to England, click here.