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The BBC's Jennie Bond
"The exhibitors have had to contend with some of the coldest, wettest conditions on record"
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Monday, 21 May, 2001, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Flower power comes to Chelsea
Garden designer Mike Miller
Mike Miller designed a garden for Prince Charles
The world-famous Chelsea Flower Show has opened in glorious sunshine with this year's highlights including an Islamic garden commissioned by Prince Charles.

The garden is based on the colours and geometric patterns of two giant Turkish rugs at Highgrove, and will be transferred to his house in Gloucestershire when the show closes.

The prince will be among a host of Royal visitors on Monday evening, including the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Princess Royal. The Queen Mother also hopes to attend.

Eric Dennett, 80
Chelsea pensioner Eric Dennett gets a sneak preview
They will be joined by Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito, heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne, who is on an official visit to Britain.

The show's orgnaisers are expecting to welcome 170,000 visitors this week

The prince's garden, called the Carpet Garden, includes traditional features of Islamic gardens, such as water, shade and perfume.

The prince, who has shown great interest in Arab culture, made a pre-show visit to Chelsea on Thursday to see work in progress on the garden.

Long tradition

The show, which is arguably the most important date in the gardening calendar with a 139-year-old tradition, also includes the world's biggest show garden, a North American prairie garden, a garden for learning and various courtyard gardens.

The event opens to Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) members on Tuesday and Wednesday and to the general public on Thursday and Friday.

Held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, RHS staff, exhibitors and contractors start planning for each show 18 months in advance, meaning work is already under way for next year's event.

It takes 800 people three-and-a-half weeks to build the show, laying more than three miles of piping, installing 185 toilets and using enough canvas to cover six football pitches.

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22 May 00 | UK
Queen visits flower show
07 Jun 99 | UK
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07 Jun 99 | Entertainment
The Chelsea Flower Show in pictures
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