By REBECCA ENGLISH
Florists deliver flowers to Westminster Abbey today. Kate Middleton has ordered more than four tons of foliage - including eight, 20 foot high trees - to recreate a lavish English country garden inside the church
Kate Middleton has ordered more than four tons of foliage – including eight, 20 foot high trees - to recreate a lavish English country garden inside Westminster Abbey.
Under the guidance of her so-called ‘floral artistic director’, Shane Connolly, half a dozen English Field Maples have been installed in the historic church to create a ‘Living Avenue’ under which guests will walk to their seats.
Each of the trees have been placed in a planter personally designed by Mr Connolly and handcrafted by artisans on the Prince of Wales’s Highgrove estate.
Foliage is unloaded outside the Abbey. Kate is only using trees that are seasonal and can be re-planted
Workers put up an English field Maple tree in preparation for the Royal wedding in Westminster Abbey. Half a dozen of the tress have been installed in the historic church to create a 'Living Avenue' under which guests will walk to their seats
The entire scheme is believed to have cost up to £50,000 – not quite the ‘austerity’ wedding St James’s Palace originally had in mind.
According to royal sources, the idea was suggested by Mr Connolly as a way of mirroring the Abbey’s famous medieval arches.
Kate fell in love with his suggestion but agreed on the environmentally-friendly proviso that the trees were seasonal and could be re-planted.
Mr Connolly said: ‘These wonderful curved ceilings are supposed to reflect the branches of trees and that was what I thought of when I thought of having trees in the abbey,’ he enthused.
'Floral artistic director' Shane Connolly, right, stands beneath an English Field Maple. Each of the trees have been placed in a planter personally designed by Mr Connolly and handcrafted by artisans on the Prince of Wales’s Highgrove estate
Florists unload flowers to be taken into Westminster Abbey. The entire scheme is believed to have cost up to £50,000 - not quite the 'austerity' wedding St James's Palace originally had in mind
The historic Abbey will be bedecked in armfuls of cream and white flowers including blossoms, azaleas, rhododendrons, euphorbias, beech, wisteria and lilac
Kate Middleton, pictured driving away from her family home in Bucklebury today, has devised a theme which she says 'pays tribute to the Language of Flowers'
Workers struggle with one of the six trees being placed in the church for the wedding ceremony
Miss Middleton, 29, who studied history of art at St Andrew’s, has devised a theme which she says ‘pays tribute to the Language of Flowers’ - an idea that is bound to have gone down well with her gardening-obsessed father-in-law, Prince Charles, who famously admitted that he talks to his plants.
She has worked closely with London-based designer Mr Connolly, who has a royal warrant from Prince Charles, and is directing a team of the country’s best florists including several borrowed from Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey.
Kate and William have insisted on using only seasonal, organic British flowers incorporating as many growing plants as possible rather than cut ones.
Many have been sourced from royal estates including Sandringham and Windsor Great Park.
Members of the National Association of Flower Arranging Societies prepare lilac flowers in the Abbey
Flowers and arrangements are wheeled in by the trolley load. Kate and William have insisted on using only seasonal, organic British flowers incorporating as many growing plants as possible
The 15-year-old trees – each weighing half a ton - have been grown on the firm’s 26 acre site near Uxbridge, Middlesex.
Owner Andrew Halksworth told the Mail that Kate originally had other trees in mind but when she found out that they were not seasonal, plumped for English Field Maples and Hornbeams.
‘Kate has been very hands on throughout the process,’ he said.
‘She devised a theme, the Language of Flowers, and has picked everything around it
‘She was very clear that she wanted them to be British and seasonal as opposed to anything that was being deliberately hot-housed for the big day.’
One of the 20ft trees is manoeuvred into the church using a forklift
After the wedding, the flowers and plants will be left in position in Westminster Abbey for a week in order for members of the public to view them.
Most of the trees will then be taken to Highgrove Gardens where they will be planted as a lasting memorial to the couple’s big day.
Any cut flowers will be donated to charity while all the growing vegetation will be re-planted.
Many of the flowers have been sourced from royal estates including Sandringham and Windsor Great Park