A garden right for Queen's height

The studio, made out of recycled timber and in the shape of a waratah, has been built so that at the Queen's eye height the viewer has an unimpeded 360-degree view of the garden

Anyone slightly taller or shorter than her majesty will have their view of the garden interrupted by the hand-crafted wooden petals that form the outside of the studio.

Whether the Queen, who opens the Chelsea Flower Show each year and has missed it only twice in her 60-year reign, will deign to climb the 3.8 metres to the studio is another question.

But it is details such as these that will help Australia's entry in the Chelsea Flower Show, the premier garden competition in the world, or, as designer of the garden Philip Johnson puts it, ''the Oscars of horticulture.''

This year would be a good year to win with it marking the 100th jubilee of the competition.

While Australian teams have regularly picked up gold medals and silver gilts, they are yet to take home either of the most prestigious prizes - Best in Show or People's Choice.

For the Chelsea Flower Show gardeners from around the world work for 17 days to build extravagant gardens on small plots of land in Chelsea. It is a hard fought competition. One year Prince Charles entered a garden design and had it turned down, and teams regularly spend upwards of £1 million ($1.5 million) on their gardens.

This year, the Australian team has been given the most prominent and the largest plot of land at the site. Wes Fleming of Fleming's Nurseries, says this year's garden will be the most expensive they have ever funded, costing more than $800,000. The design features a meadow of Australian wildflowers, billabong, gorge with waterfalls and the best of Australian flora, including a family of the pot-bellied Queensland bottle trees.

Jesse Novotny, 22, is the youngest member of the team. He is a third-year horticulture apprentice and was offered the spot after he won Apprentice of the Year in 2012.

''I'm just going to lap it all up. It's going to be such a great learning experience, no TAFE can teach you this,'' he said.

Johnson cannot wait for May, when the team follows the container of supplies over to London to start construction. The plants have to be sourced from Europe.

''We've got a fair bit of pressure, but we're going to try to make Australia proud,'' he said.

''It's inspired by the natural beauty of this country.

''A big thing is just showcasing that to the world.''

The story A garden right for Queen's height first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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