Thursday, May 30, 2024
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King Charles – the word from the flower beds


IT is no secret that our new King communicates with his plants and trees. 

By joining a tour of the gardens at Highgrove House and speaking to various plants, our Gardening Correspondent, Ambrose Chutney-Sprigg, was able to gain an exclusive insight into the thoughts of King Charles concerning his recent Coronation.

I began my investigation by speaking to the elephant’s ears (bergenia). It revealed that in times of stress it is His Majesty’s first port of call when he enters the gardens. ‘I am sure we get on so well because we are both known for our ears. I think it’s rather unfair as I would rather be known for my lovely pink flowers. Charles told me that his big day was extremely stressful. He said that the day started badly when his boiled egg was too soft and his soldiers were soggy. To make matters worse his manservant had put too much toothpaste on his toothbrush. Then Camilla couldn’t decide on which earrings to wear, and Anne insisted on wearing a silly hat.’

This sense that all was not well behind the scenes was reinforced when I managed a brief conversation with the wisteria adorning the wonderful pergola. ‘Charles was very angry that he and Camilla had been kept waiting outside the Abbey. I told him that he had waited 20 years more than he anticipated so a few minutes shouldn’t make much difference. He was not amused and he stormed off in the direction of the orchard.’ 

I continued my enquiries by talking to an Egremont Russet apple tree, which was not overly impressed by the King’s belief in the cult of climate change. ‘Look at me,’ said the tree, ‘it’s nearly the middle of May and my blossom is only just showing. It’s been a miserable winter and a cool spring. Normally, I’m in full bloom by now and attracting all sorts of pollinators. Just look at me!’ I left the unhappy tree as it continued its lamentations with a nearby Cox’s Orange Pippin.

A friendly Victoria plum tree was my next interviewee. It seems that His Majesty was still in a state of high dudgeon when they chatted. ‘He was very indignant about some of the attendees at the service. He believed they didn’t give him the respect he demands. In particular he mentioned someone called Johnson who he called a “twit”. At least I think that’s what he called him. It was quite windy when we spoke and my hearing is not very good.’

As the party moved on to some grape hyacinths, I pretended to drop my programme to get low enough to hear what they had to say. ‘Charles went on and on about the Celebration Concert. He liked the military band and the opera singers but said he hadn’t a clue who the others were and some of them were “ghastly”. To make matters worse Camilla had to keep prodding him to stay awake and he has a bruised thigh.’

To conclude my investigation I spoke to a fragrant mock orange (philadelphus). It confirmed that the new monarch was not completely happy with his enthronement. ‘He complained that Welby had a droning voice, everyone was talking about Mordaunt rather than him, and that William couldn’t remember a simple sentence. He also complained that he was told his best friend Klaus couldn’t attend.’

It was clear to me from talking to the Highgrove vegetation that the Coronation was somewhat stressful for King Charles. However, all the plants I spoke with are confident that he will soon recover his élan and continue his overriding quest to make the world a better place for plants of all descriptions.

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John Ellwood
John Ellwood
John is the father of four beautiful girls. He is, thankfully, not knowingly related to Tobias Ellwood. ‘My Dear Friends . . . ’ a compilation of many of John’s contributions to TCW Defending Freedom is available in paperback and on Kindle.

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