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London Flower Show Hopes You Will Get Into The Garden, Too

A volunteer stands to the entrance of the 5000 Poppies Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, created by Australians Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight with designer Phillip Johnson. The project began as a small tribute to Berry and Knight's fathers, who fought in World War II.
Adrian Dennis
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AFP/Getty Images
A volunteer stands to the entrance of the 5000 Poppies Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, created by Australians Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight with designer Phillip Johnson. The project began as a small tribute to Berry and Knight's fathers, who fought in World War II.

At London's annual Chelsea Flower Show, the flora is fit for a queen: shaped in her likeness and crafted in honor of her 90th birthday. The new princess has her own chrysanthemum too.

Queen Elizabeth II is pictured beside a floral exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show that features her own image.
Adrian Dennis / AFP/Getty Images
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AFP/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II is pictured beside a floral exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show that features her own image.

But this year's event, which opens Tuesday, kicks off with a warning from the Royal Horticultural Society: Britain has a "lost generation of gardeners."

Many people in their mid-20s to 40s never learned how to garden, "and we lost a lot of the skills," RHS Director-General Sue Biggs tells London's Times. The AFP news agency adds:

"Fewer than one percent of parents were taught gardening at school, compared with 55 percent of grandparents and 40 percent of children, according to a survey conducted by the RHS in 2011."

Against this backdrop, the Royal Horticultural Society continues to pursue its more than 200-year-old mission to "enrich everyone's life through plants."

As part of its campaign to beautify Britain, a featured exhibit gives visitors tips for their own gardening adventures.

The garden designed by Ann-Marie Powell was created to raise awareness of the potential positive effects gardening can have on well-being.
Jack Taylor / Getty Images
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Getty Images
The garden designed by Ann-Marie Powell was created to raise awareness of the potential positive effects gardening can have on well-being.

"Gardens and gardening do more good to heart and soul than they are ever given credit for," designer Ann-Marie Powell told the RHS.

The 100-plus exhibits in this year's show range from whimsical to traditional — and they don't fit neatly into pots.

A sea of knitted and crocheted poppies covers the Royal Hospital grounds, much like a 2014 installation of ceramic poppies at the Tower of London, honoring soldiers who died in World War I.

The exhibit includes more than 300,000 flowers made by some 50,000 people, according to the U.K.'s Express. The display began three years ago as a small-scale project in Melbourne, and eventually blossomed into the London show.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The Chelsea Flower Show has been held nearly every year since 1913 in the Royal Hospital Chelsea grounds.
Adrian Dennis / AFP/Getty Images
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AFP/Getty Images
The Chelsea Flower Show has been held nearly every year since 1913 in the Royal Hospital Chelsea grounds.
Reg Bolton waters the trees on the Federation of British Bonsai Society stand at the Chelsea Flower Show.
Adrian Dennis / AFP/Getty Images
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AFP/Getty Images
Reg Bolton waters the trees on the Federation of British Bonsai Society stand at the Chelsea Flower Show.
A police officer, with assistance, performs last-minute security checks at the flower show.
Jack Taylor / Getty Images
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Getty Images
A police officer, with assistance, performs last-minute security checks at the flower show.

Dana Farrington is a digital editor coordinating online coverage on the Washington Desk — from daily stories to visual feature projects to the weekly newsletter. She has been with the NPR Politics team since President Trump's inauguration. Before that, she was among NPR's first engagement editors, managing the homepage for NPR.org and the main social accounts. Dana has also worked as a weekend web producer and editor, and has written on a wide range of topics for NPR, including tech and women's health.