Designer seeks Holy Grail with Da Vinci Code garden

FIRST the book, then the movie, now the garden. Designer David Domoney is vying for one of the prizes at Chelsea Flower Show with a garden inspired by Dan Brown’s international bestseller The Da Vinci Code.

“Let’s hope we can find the Holy Grail with the judges,” Mr Domoney said yesterday beside his small show garden which is dominated by a replica of the glass pyramid outside the Louvre Museum in Paris that figures in the novel’s opening.

“We have even hidden codes on the leaves of some of the plants which you can only find with an ultra-violet lamp. I think we all love this idea of hidden treasures and conspiracy theories,” he said.

Chelsea, the world’s most famous flower show, attracts exhibitors from as far afield as New Zealand, South Africa and Grenada to its elegant showgrounds on the banks of the River Thames for the four-day show.

Competition is fierce at The “Olympics of Gardening” which gives a major fillip to Britain’s two billion pound gardening industry.

Gardening is, in the words of designer Terence Conran, the “new rock ‘n’ roll for the young” with gardening experts now rivalling celebrity chefs on television makeover shows.

But this summer this normally green and pleasant land faces draconian water restrictions as the worst drought in 100 years threatens areas of the country.

Chelsea, which attracts up to 160,000 visitors a year, drilled its own borehole to ensure that all the lovingly tended blooms did not wilt under a hosepipe ban.

They need not have worried — London was drenched in weekend storms, although clever ideas on how to save water from computer-driven “rainwater harvester systems” to built-in water butts were a constant theme around Chelsea 2006.

The sun even shone briefly on yesterday’s media day with former Beatle Ringo Starr, Royal Ballet star Darcy Bussell and West Indian cricketer Garfield Sobers among the eclectic mix of celebrities invited along to open the leading show gardens.

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