Garden designers prepare for sixth year at the Chelsea Flower Show

Patricia Thirion and Janet Honour (right) of Berkhamsted Chelsea Flower Show designers.
Patricia Thirion and Janet Honour (right) of Berkhamsted Chelsea Flower Show designers.

A gardening duo will be exhibiting at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show for the sixth year.

Designers Janet Honour, from Berkhamsted, and Patricia Thirion, who hails from Paris, are creating a garden inspired by the Magna Carta 800th anniversary.

The pair set up their garden design business - A Touch of France - after meeting while studying their craft at London’s Capel Manor College.

Their latest garden exhibition is being sponsored by Surrey County Council and the Runnymede-on-Thames hotel.

Janet said: “It is remarkable that a document drawn up as a peace treaty between King John and the Anglo-Norman barons went on to influence important legislation such as the American Bill of Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“Successive generations have interpreted and used clauses within Magna Carta, which has come to symbolize liberty and democracy for many. It is a fascinating story to tell at Chelsea.”

Typical medieval features are used in their garden design, including a formal layout, wattle obelisks, raised beds and a fountain.

The garden’s symmetry aims to symbolised the new law and order of the time.

A slice of a yew tree trunk, inscribed to relate to Magna Carta, is featured towards the front of the garden in a meadow planted bed, evocative of Runnymede. This is symbolic of the ancient Ankerwycke Yew, said to be about 2,000 years old, and growing close to the site where Magna Carta is thought to have been sealed.

Following this year’s show - running from May 19 to 23 - the garden will be moved to the Runnymede-on-Thames hotel in Egham, which is set on the banks of the River Thames opposite the historic Runnymede meadows and just a short walk from the Magna Carta Memorial.

The business pair created their first garden at Chelsea shortly after graduating in 2006 when they received a silver gilt medal.

In 2013, they were awarded a gold medal for their Herbert Smith Freehills garden for WaterAid, which was supported by Ringo Starr.