Jubilee Jubilation


The weather is rather good for Britain this weekend, glorious in parts…hands up those who think it will rain for their street party over the Jubilee weekend? … Hmm, not sure whether that’s a pessimistic or realistic response given the vagaries of the British climate! Now the Chelsea Flower Show madness is settling down, we can switch our focus to community and country with thoughts of 1952. Or 1977. Or even 2002. Not just 2012.

Ok, explanations: 1952 was the year our Queen ascended the throne. 1977 was the year of the Queens Silver Jubilee, ie she had reigned for 25 years. In 2002 we celebrated her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee, ie 50 years of being on the throne. (Remember the ‘Party at the Palace?) 2012 is of course the year of Olympics in Britain and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

All of these celebrations lead certain garden designers & plantswomen to conjure up patriotic planting schemes, both short term for street party and general decorative purposes but also for the longer term, this summer and beyond. The demands of a red, white and blue colour scheme can lead to a few tweaks; true blue is not the commonest colour among flowers. So, what about a few ideas to get you planting?

A red rose for Lancaster and a white rose for York hark back to the Wars of the Roses which was largely about who should rightfully sit on the throne of England in the 15th century; perhaps surrounding  these rose bushes with soft blue Nigella, also known as love-in-a-mist, will help keep any protagonists calm. The roses are perennials, of course, and the Nigella will self seed. After the blue flowers you can enjoy the decorative seed heads. What about a native species mix of blue/purple scented violas, white yarrow (for the butterflies) and scarlet pimpernel? They’ll keep going all summer long and you’ve added to the garden’s biodiversity too.

Or would you prefer a quicker fix, flowering for the Jubilee weekend but looking good afterwards too?

Something which brings in architectural planting (very 2002), municipal bedding schemes (very 1952 and 1977), plus biodiversity (2002 and 2012 themes) might take your fancy if you have an historical bent, or Royalist streak. Try Persicaria ‘red dragon’ for the foliage drama with its red stems and red/purple/ bronze tongue shaped leaves; mix with purple/blue pansies (try to find scented ones for extra sensory delight) and Geranium ‘Kashmir white’  with its mound of feathery cut foliage . Both the pansies and geranium are flowering now and will continue for another month.

Or you could have a Royalist selection, maybe Anchusa ‘Loddon royalist’ (blue), Lobelia ‘queen Victoria’ (red) and for white it has to be Rosa ‘queen Elizabeth’, named for our current monarch. Have I got you wondering why ‘Loddon’, the other two being obviously royalist in connection? Well, the River Loddon flows through royal Berkshire, home of Windsor castle, which is the more obvious relationship and sufficient for our needs. However, for those of you with magpie minds, you may like to know that there have been mills on the river Loddon since the 14th century, including a early 19th century silk mill. Which makes a royal link with Queen Elizabeth Tudor, who encouraged the planting of white mulberry trees in order to promote silk worm, and therefore silk, production.  So we have a connection between our two Queen Elizabeths. The connection between Queen Victoria and our reigning Queen is that they are the only two British monarchs to date who have ruled over us for 60 years. (Victoria’s reign was 63 years long).

Reigning – or raining – brings us neatly back to the weather: personally, I would take a brolly; it can double up as sunshade or rain cover…Whatever the weather, Plews can help you with planting and design schemes; solutions for garden issues; garden lessons and more.

Whether you’re Royalist or Republican, why not contact us and let us spread some jubilee celebration fervour into your garden?


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