Queen Elizabeth II was a regular at the annual Chelsea Flower Show (Picture: Getty Images)
It’s no secret that the Queen was a lover of gardening, and one of the highlights of her working calendar was to attend the annual Chelsea Flower Show.
As a girl, Princess Elizabeth was a regular visitor with her parents – and when she took the throne in 1952 she became patron of the Royal Horticultural Society.
‘Her Majesty visited the show more than 50 times during her reign, and always took great pleasure in touring the gardens and plant displays and speaking with exhibitors,’ says a spokesperson for the RHS.
‘She understood the importance of gardening and there can be no doubt that the Queen and HRH Prince Philip enjoyed the peace and privacy of their gardens at Sandringham, Norfolk, Balmoral, Aberdeenshire, and it is said that no one knew the gardens of Buckingham Palace better than the Queen.
‘Her Majesty’s support has always been a great source of strength to the RHS and we were delighted that the Queen was able to visit this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.’
Here Guy Barter, chief horticulturist at the RHS, highlights the most popular plants and flowers that have been dedicated to our longest serving monarch.
Rosa ‘The Queen Elizabeth II Rose’
These beautiful tea roses were an instant classic (Picture: DeAgostini/Getty Images)
A beautiful, scented hybrid tea rose, this was introduced by Harkness Roses only this year to commemorate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
The large, classic-shaped flowers combine elements of soft pink, light amber/gold and cream, and a have a strong, sweet rose scent.
Its robust, large, dark green leaves offer good disease resistance and this lovely rose will grow into a medium-size bush in sunny borders and any reasonable soil.
Camellia japonica ‘Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’
Another gorgeous shade of pink (Picture: Alamy Stock Photo)
This showy plant is a glossy evergreen which bears beautiful, loose peony-type salmon/rose pink flowers for just two weeks in the spring. Raised in the US in 1953, the impressive blooms can grow to 12cm each.
It likes light shade and works well in gardens with acidic soil but is also suitable for containers in town gardens with potting compost.
Position in a site sheltered from cold, dry winds as buds and flowers may be damaged by cold air and late frosts.
Dendrobium ‘Queen Elizabeth II’
A rare tropical orchid (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
An evergreen, tropical orchid, this beauty was named after the Queen during her 1972 tour to Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.
The plant produces long, upright, cane-like stems with leathery green leaves, arranged alternately along the canes. Arching flowering stems of up to 40-50cm long appear from mature leafed or leafless stems and carry up to 20 impressive long-lasting, yellow flowers.
As far as we know it is not sold in Britain but if you do find one, best keep it in a heated greenhouse or conservatory – although it can last quite a while as a house plant.
Lilium ‘Queen Elizabeth’
A stunning summer flower (Picture: Getty Images)
A summer bulb, this perennial favourite grows erect stems with impressively glossy, dark green, lance-shaped leaves and in summer boasts fragrant, deep rose-pink flowers with darker pink spots and white edges.
Remove faded flowers, but do not cut back the stems before autumn.
Rosa ‘Jubilee Celebration’
Celebrating the Golden Jubilee (Picture: Alamy Stock Photo)
We are talking about the lovely David Austin English Shrub Rose, 2002, which has large, repeat flowering dome-shaped coral-pink blooms, held elegantly above the foliage on graceful, arching stems.
It also has the added attraction of a delicious fragrance with hints of fresh lemon and raspberry. It grows to 1.2m high and wide, and needs a sunny border and any reasonable soil.
Rosa ‘The Queen Elizabeth (F)’
The world’s favourite rose was named after the beloved monarch (Picture: Alamy Stock Photo)
This fine grandiflora shrub rose was voted the world’s favourite rose in 1979. Bred in the US in 1954, it is tall and robust with leathery green leaves and beautiful clusters of single or double, often scented, clear pink flowers on long stems throughout summer to late autumn.
Widely sold for its exquisite ornamental value, it prefers a sunny spot.
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
The Queen’s favourite (Picture: Getty Images)
Not named after the Queen (although she was known to her immediate family by the nickname of Lilibet) but Lily of the Valley is believed to have been one of her favourite flowers, and was included in her wedding bouquet.
It is a delightfully scented, delicate bulbous plant grown in gardens for centuries, and it thrives in any soil, shade and in tricky places beneath trees.
She included the delightful white flowers in her wedding bouquet (Picture: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
The erect racemes of nodding, bell-shaped, highly fragrant white flowers arise with the paired, elliptic leaves and are lovely cut for posies.
Sold everywhere, it will grow in any reasonable soil.
More: Queen Elizabeth II
Clematis montana ‘Elizabeth’
Pretty yet hardy (Picture: Getty Images)
A vigorous and most delightful hardy climber for tall walls or pergolas, this clematis also looks great growing up trees in reasonable sun.
It likes any soil and produces masses of slightly scented, 6cm pink flowers with pale yellow stamens and bronze young trifoliate leaves, that turn mid-green with age.
Flowers appear from late spring to early summer and occasionally later. Introduced from Jackman’s Nursery in Woking, not far from RHS Garden Wisley in 1953, it is very popular and widely available.
Rhododendron ‘Queen Elizabeth II’
These stunning blooms only appear for two weeks in May (Picture: Getty Images/Westend61)
Bred by the Crown Estate in 1969, this large and lovely bushy, evergreen shrub produces fabulous trusses of pale creamy-yellow funnel-shaped flowers that can grow to 11cms in width.
It blooms in May for two weeks only and can be difficult to find as it only has one supplier.
Suits light shade and looks fabulous in cottage gardens and more informal planting, as well as in pots for town gardens. Needs acid soil or potting compost.
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