Chelsea Flower Show pays tribute to Anzac soldiers

Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall were visitors. Picture: Getty Images
Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall were visitors. Picture: Getty Images
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Rupert Murdoch and new wife Jerry Hall paid tribute to soldiers from his native Australia who died during the First World War as they visited the Chelsea Flower Show.

The media mogul and his model wife admired the sea of crocheted poppies installed in front of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in a exhibition curated by Phillip Johnson, winner of Best Show Garden in 2013.

The exhibit grew out of the 5,000 Poppies Project, which was established to celebrate the sacrifice of Australian and New Zealand servicemen.

Creators of the 5000 Poppies project, Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight, initially set out to crochet 120 poppies to honour their fathers who both fought in the Second World War, but this quickly escalated and the current total of poppies is more than a quarter of a million from an estimated 50,000 contributors.

Celebrities flocked to spend a day in the sunshine admiring exhibits including a Belmond British Pullman train carriage as part of a 6,000 sq ft planted-up station in the Grand Pavilion, an acoustic garden inspired by Scottish percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie which plays musical notes to visitors, and a garden of bizarre gadgetry by Diarmuid Gavin, which comes to life every 15 minutes.

Papworth Trust and Dame Evelyn’s garden, titled Together We Can, celebrates the charity’s inclusive vision for disability. Features include a water marimba which will transform the garden into a musical instrument, and the overall form of the garden is reminiscent of the structure of the ear.

Great British Bake Off star Mary Berry was at the show, and posed with the new Harkness hybrid tea rose which has been named after her. The TV cook is also a keen gardener and rose lover.

The Queen and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were early visitors. Celebrities attending included Downton star Jim Carter, celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh, actress Naomie Harris and comic and writer David Walliams, who was joined by his mother, Kathleen.

The Royal Horticultural Society’s show is open to the public from today until Saturday, with a total of 160,000 people expected to visit.

Sue Biggs, director general of the RHS, said innovations included gardens with multiple moving parts and a garden that all visitors can walk on.

She said: “It’s time to put the fun back into gardening. Sometimes, there is real need to feel better about our own wonderful country and the world in general.

“Just looking these plants can make us feel better.”