On RHS Chelsea Flower Show press day last week, garden designer and TV presenter David Domoney met a number of members of the Royal Family and discovered their keen interest in and knowledge of horticulture as they toured his show garden...
David created an artisan show garden for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, who’s mission is to commemorate in perpetuity the lives of the 1.7 million servicemen and women who died in the two World Wars. The CWGC Centenary Garden celebrates 100 years of incredible work by the CWGC at 23,000 locations across 154 countries.
Having been involved with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for more than 30 years, David has met many members of the Royal Family there, but this year was struck by their particularly keen interest due to the association of the garden with the CWGC and David’s connection with Sir Tim Laurence, (husband of Princess Anne), who is vice-chairman of the commission.
David was greeted last Monday afternoon by Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh; Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge; Prince Edward and Sophie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex; and Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice. He was able to talk to the royal family about gardening and was delighted to see how passionate all were about horticulture.
Prince Phillip said he believed a dramatic entrance was key to a great garden, and thought that the huge wreath entrance to David’s display was a powerful feature. He also appreciated the depth of meaning that the wreath holds for the CWGC and how that had been carried through into the garden.
David was impressed with Princess Kate’s enthusiasm for plants and colours in the garden design. She particularly noted the alliums and foxgloves, and was enthusiastic about combinations like aquilegias growing through grasses, and the ferns mixed with alchemillas, which she thought added great depth to the borders.
Eugenie and Beatrice both loved the way the garden took you right into its heart, with the patio allowing you to be immersed, surrounded by plants – “a marvellous place to escape”. They also enjoyed the sense of enclosure created by the canopy of the trees, while the reflective mirror at the rear still made the area feel spacious.
Prince Edward was fascinated by the statues David borrowed from the CWGC Portsmouth Naval Memorial. “You didn’t nick them did you?”, he quipped. Edward, a former Master of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners, is a keen horticulturalist with a passion for community gardens.
Prince Edward’s wife, Sophie, was touched by the thought that went into the 145 hand-wrought leaves hung along the balustrade, each stamped and numbered, to represent each of the countries in which the CWGC works.
David was accompanied by David Richardson, director of horticulture at the CWGC, and Sir Tim Lawrence as he showed the visitors around.
Browse more Royal pictures in the gallery below.