Photo: © Brooks Kraft/Corbis, Workers bring a tree inside Westminster Abbey Church in preparation for the royal wedding of Britain's Prince William and Kate Middleton on Friday, April 29, 2011
Excitement is finally mounting in London over the Royal Wedding. The streets are festooned with banners and many shops have decorated their windows. We still don't know who is designing Kate's dress, but we do know about the flowers.
Westminster Abbey is being decorated with potted trees and flowers galore in an effort to make it look like an English country garden. Many of the flowers are coming from the Queen's garden at Windsor Great Park.
Photo: creative commons, flickr, jerome: Hornbeam leaves
There will be an avenue of eight 20 ft. trees lining the aisle leading to the front of the church. These trees will be six English Field maples which are native and in season right now. Their wood is used for making harps and their leaf shape is carved into many cathedrals. Two Hornbeams will also be included; they symbolise resilience as it has the hardest wood of all trees. Each tree will be placed in a wooden tub made by carpenters at Prince Charles' estate, Highgrove, and painted to look like the worn stone of the abbey's pillars. All the trees will end up at Prince Charles' country house, Highgrove, when the display is over.
Photo: creative commons, flickr, tree species: White Lilac
The florist, Shane Connolly, did the flowers for Prince Charles' wedding and his specialty is using seasonal, natural and organic flowers. The Royal couple have requested that only seasonal, organic British flowers incorporating as many growing plants as possible be used, rather than cut ones.
The Queen has given them carte blanche to take flowers from her enormous estate at Windsor. Apparently 30,000 flowers will be used so it's a good thing that it is so big. The rest of the Abbey will be bedecked in armfuls of cream and white flowers including cherry blossoms, azaleas, magnolias, rhododendrons, euphorbias, beech, wisteria, lilac and Chinese gooseberry (actinidia). This very luxurious look will be mainly white and fresh green with the smell of jasmine and lilac wafting over the huge cathedral.
The flowers will remain on show in the Abbey until May 6, 2011 for the public to gawk.
Photo: creative commons, flickr, cbransto : Lily of the Valley
As for the bouquet... Apparently Kate Middleton is quite interested in the language of flowers, as is her new father-in-law. Lily of the Valley suggests purity and a Cornwall farmer is sending 60 bunches of Duchy Lily of the Valley for their big day.
Photo: rhs: Myrtle
Myrtle symbolizes true love and it was used first in Queen Victoria's bouquet, and every one since then. The sprig for Kate's bouquet will be picked from Queen Victoria's personal garden at Osborne House, Isle of Wight.
A sprig of the Holy Thorn in Glastonbury has been cut off and sent to London in the hope that it will be used for the bridal bouquet. For the last century a sprig has been sent to the Queen at Christmas.
Simple garden flowers are predicted to be the theme, so roses which aren't in season yet are probably out, whilst Solomon's Seal and myrtle are in.