The RHS Chelsea Flower Show is one of the highlights of the social calendar as royalty, celebrities and thousands of plant lovers gather in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea to enjoy the spectacle of the world’s biggest and best gardening exhibition. And getting to wander around it is definitely one of the perks of my job.
WATCH: Kate shows schoolchildren around the Back to Nature garden
Each year a roll call of royals attend, led by the Queen, who has attended nearly every show since becoming patron of the RHS in 1952. In recent years she has been able to inspect the efforts of some of her family members, having visited gardens created by Prince Charles, Prince Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge. And I've been lucky enough to visit some of them too, including the wonderful RHS Back to Nature garden co-designed by Kate and landscape architects Davies White.
READ: Kate Middleton shares throwback photo from her Back to Nature garden
Kate on the rope swing in her Back to Nature garden
Inspired by childhood memories, the Duchess's garden made me feel instantly playful – I couldn't resist trying out the rope swing as I was given an early preview ahead of opening day. Little did I know that just a few hours later Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis would visit the garden themselves, with George rating it 20 out of 10.
The next morning I watched as Kate herself showed schoolchildren around the plot, joining them up in the treehouse and helping them to toast marshmallows over a fire. And a few hours later she showed the Queen around it too, pointing out a waterfall influenced by the monarch's own childhood memories of one at Sandringham.
The incredible design by Ming Veevers Carter
Another memorable year was in 2016, Her Majesty’s 90th birthday year, where tributes included a stunning profile of her face created in flowers by Ming Veevers Carter. During her tour, the monarch, who has just named Lily of the Valley as her favourite flower, was told the delicate bloom was historically used as a poison. "I've been given two bunches this week. Perhaps they want me dead," she joked.
It also marked the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first visit to the show and as they toured it with Prince Harry, I managed to snap one of my favourite photographs - the royal trio peering through holes in a concrete box containing a garden called the Antithesis of Sarcophagi.
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HELLO!'s royal editor Emily took this photo of Kate, William and Harry
Chelsea may not be open this year, but the show must go on and there is plenty to see and learn from some of the world’s leading garden designers and experts. I for one can’t wait for it to return in all its glory.
The virtual Chelsea Flower Show is taking place from 18 to 23 May.
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