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Silver Gilt award for B&Q’s ‘Forget Me Not’ Chelsea garden

The B&Q-sponsored ‘Forget Me Not’ garden has been awarded a Silver Gilt prize at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. The garden was designed for Prince Harry’s charity Sentebale, which helps vulnerable children in the African kingdom of Lesotho, one of the world’s poorest countries.

The garden, designed for Sentebale by Jinny Blom and sponsored by B&Q, took a year to plan and Prince Harry was so enthusiastic about the project that he had drawings of it emailed to him when he was serving in Afghanistan.

One of its main features is a pattern of hearts and crowns in a circular patio area, to represent the Prince and his loss rather than any reference to the “princess of hearts”.

Sentebale means Forget Me Not in Sesotho, the language of Lesotho, and was set up by Harry and Prince Seeiso, the younger brother of the king, in memory of their mothers. Queen Mamohato Bereng Seeiso died in 2003.

Although it was an official engagement, the afternoon turned into more of a family get together as no fewer than 12 of the Prince’s relations joined him at the garden which was designed, in part, as a tribute to his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales.

Prince Harry even teased his father, the Prince of Wales, by suggesting that if there was anything that took his fancy, they could do “a deal” for him to buy it for Highgrove.

The Prince of Wales, one of the first to arrive, greeted his son with a cheery: “This is the great garden designer!” then added: “This is the great garden, is it? After all this effort – I wondered if it didn’t exist!”
As the family party expanded, the Duchess of Cornwall, spotting the Duke of Edinburgh, greeted him with a cheery wave, while the Prince of Wales gave his father a kiss on the cheek.

As Harry saw his grandfather, he said: “You’re supposed to be looking at strimmers and tractors, grandpa. I didn’t know you were coming. Fantastic!” He added: “Hopefully you like it. You’ve been coming here for so many years, your opinion is highly regarded. Are we going to see any of this at Sandringham or Balmoral?”

The Queen appeared to be the first to suggest that some of the plants might brighten the borders at Highgrove, prompting Harry to tell his father: “If there’s anything that you might like, we can probably come to a deal. You can’t have it, but we can probably come to a deal.” “A deal?” exclaimed Charles, in mock astonishment.

He also joked that the large round stone decorated with hearts and flowers could be a dance floor, perhaps unaware of the significance of its decorations.

When the Queen arrived and stood with her grandson on the stone circle he told her: “Pa thought it was going to spin round – but sadly it doesn’t.”

Blom, who has designed a previous Chelsea garden for the Prince of Wales, told him: “I’m sorry that you’ve been lumbered with me as your favourite garden designer.”

Blom said afterwards: “The Queen liked it. The Prince of Wales would like the plants in the middle to go to the stumpery at Highgrove. The Queen thinks it needs it – it needs some greenery. So we are going to send them down.”

She added: “She has been coming here (to Chelsea) for nearly 60 years. She said she thought it might be her 60th year.”

Princess Beatrice also visited the garden and said: “I think it’s really beautiful, and I love the story behind it.”

Source : Gordon Rayner - The Telegraph

21 May 2013
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