Hand­picked for a Queen

The Daily Telegraph - Gardening - - On The Spot -

Flow­ers can say so much, but the thought is ex­tra spe­cial when they’re named af­ter you. By Eleanor Doughty

For most of us, the cel­e­bra­tion of long ser­vice is un­likely to at­tract much fanfare. At the most, it’s a drink down at the lo­cal with a few col­leagues of sim­i­larly pen­sion­able age. Not for the Queen who, on Septem­ber 9, cel­e­brates (per­haps a lit­tle re­luc­tantly) her en­try into the record books as our longestreign­ing monarch. This an­niver­sary will be marked by more than just a host of helium bal­loons in the grounds of Buck­ing­ham Palace: from com­mem­o­ra­tive china to tea cosies, there are honorary gifts ga­lore to mark Her Majesty’s mile­stone.

But in the world of hor­ti­cul­ture, this is noth­ing new: gar­den­ers have been mak­ing gifts of flow­ers and plants to the royal, rich and pow­er­ful since time im­memo­rial.

For the Queen, pro­ceed­ings kicked off at her coro­na­tion in 1953; since then, name­sake flow­ers have come thick and fast. First on the roll of hon­our is ‘The Queen El­iz­a­beth’ rose, de­scribed by grow­ers as “in­de­struc­tible”. De­vel­oped in the early Fifties, it was named for the Queen’s coro­na­tion (see page three for John Hiorns’ de­scrip­tion and a Gar­denshop of­fer).

Roses are by far the most pop­u­lar of the “royal” plants. The Bri­tish rose breeder Peter Beales of­fers a Scar­let Queen El­iz­a­beth rose, birth date 1963, per­fect for bright­en­ing a dull hedge with a burst of re­gal red.

But each one of the flow­ers and plants pre­sented to the Queen has its own story – and its own charm. The den­dro­bium orchid ‘Queen El­iz­a­beth II’ was named fol­low­ing Her Majesty’s tour with Prince Philip to Sin­ga­pore, Malaysia and Brunei in 1972.

There are no laws against the nam­ing of plants for peo­ple, says James Armitage, botanist at the Royal Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety, but it is ad­vised that, should you wish to name a flower af­ter a mem­ber of the Royal fam­ily, you seek their per­mis­sion first.

And not just any old flower can have a royal hon­our be­stowed upon it. “A rose named for roy­alty is go­ing to be a va­ri­ety that the breeder thinks is a very good one,” says Michael Mar­riott, ex­pert rosar­ian at David Austin Roses.

One qual­ity they all have in com­mon is beauty, which is what

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