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Floral archway for Queen’s 90th and immersive ‘Rose Tunnel’ at RHS Chelsea

This year, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) will celebrate the 90th birthday of HM The Queen with a floral archway at both the Bull Ring and London Gate entrances to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (24 – 28 May), sponsored by M&G Investments.

The primary arch, by leading designer Shane Connolly, will span the iconic Bull Ring gate entrance, situated on the bank of the river Thames, while its sister arch will welcome visitors to the London Gate. The designer chosen to create the London Gate arch will be named in due course.

The Bull Ring arch will be made using all British blooms donated by UK growers and will be installed with the help of design students from several UK colleges.

As the Royal florist responsible for directing the horticultural elements at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and who holds a Royal Warrant of Appointment to HRH the Prince of Wales and HM The Queen, Shane is no stranger to Royal floral design and is looking forward to this new challenge.

Shane said: “I’m honoured and delighted to have been asked to design this archway for HM The Queen’s Birthday and really want it to showcase the beauty and range of British grown plants and flowers and the skills of the British flower and plant growers. Having students of floral design to help install it will really be the icing on the cake. It will be the best of British Birthdays for HM The Queen.”

Award-winning artist Joseph Massie provides another unique floral display for 2016. ‘Rosa’, a hanging installation beneath the Rock Bank restaurant, that connects Main Avenue and Ranalegh Way, will offer a sensory, immersive experience, and will feature over five thousand fresh rose blooms.

Joseph, the British Floristry Association (BFA) Young Florist of the Year in 2007, has won 17 national and international competitions for his work, including five RHS Gold medals and four Best in Show awards at RHS Chelsea, the youngest person ever to achieve such accolades.

Speaking about the installation, Joseph said: “I’m so very excited to be returning to the show to unveil ‘Rosa’. RHS Chelsea has been such a huge part of my journey, and to be able to display my artwork on such a scale really is a very special experience indeed.”

The installation will be formed of two lit pools at either end of the walkway, with rows of the finest preserved rose petals flowing towards the ceiling on a seemingly invisible thread, displaying a mix of warm summery pinks and soft apricot tones.

As the two columns of petals rise, hanging full headed roses intertwine with them to create a fuller column of rose heads and petals at the tunnel’s peak. Hanging vertically from the ceiling, the roses will dry naturally over the course of the Show, changing in colour and texture over time.

The five thousand rose petals used to create the artwork will be recycled at the end of the Show.

Tickets to RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 are available to buy at rhs.org.uk/flowershows.

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