Message from Hampshire County Federation Chair Helen

Many groups including councils, Women’s Institutes, community organisations and Britain In Bloom are planning floral decorations and celebrations for the Coronation of the King.  The King has asked people to plant trees, shrubs and flowers rather than purchase memorabilia.  The King’s favourite flower is the delphinium, “For me, the magnificent gloriously apparelled delphinium with its impeccable bearing and massed in platoons, holds pride of place in my botanical affections”.  They are regal in appearance and perennial delphiniums are easy to grow.  Flowering in early summer they grow well in planters as well as in beds and borders. They bloom in different shades of blue, purple, red, white and dusky pink so they could be used to create a display theme of the colours of the Union Jack flag.  King Charles is also a fan of wild meadow flowers and was instrumental in launching the coronation meadows project led by plant life in partnership with the wildlife trusts and the rare breeds of survival trust. The project came about as a way of promoting and preserving disappearing wildflower meadows in the UK. It was launched in 2013 to mark the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation.  Lily of the Valley also blooms in May and is another suitable choice with the late Queen’s favourite flower helping to symbolically unite the last monarchy with a new one. Tree planting is often used to mark important royal occasions. Last century a significant planting programme was carried out across the UK and in some Commonwealth countries. This celebrated the Coronation of King George VI in 1937. Similar schemes were launched during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign to mark her Coronation in 1953 and her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. The most recent scheme was the Queen’s Green Canopy which encouraged people to plant a tree for the Platinum Jubilee. I took part in planting one of these trees in Andover’s Harmony Wood, I know some WIs locally have as well. My WI is celebrating the coronation by encouraging our ladies to plant flowers that attract bees and butterflies in their gardens and in pots. We may be able to brighten up part of the village that needs a gardening makeover. I know many of you are planning street parties, get togethers to watch the Coronation or maybe just a cup of tea with a neighbour. Whatever you do think about planting a few bulbs, seeds, plug plants or even a tree or two. Do share with us your pictures and your celebrations we look forward to seeing them all. We may have them as part of our Spring Council meeting presentations. Whatever you do, I wish you joyous celebrations over the Coronation weekend.

Helen. County Chair