Chelsea Flower Show hosts its first wedding

Manoj Malde marries his partner, Clive Gillmor (Jeremy Selwyn)
Manoj Malde marries his partner, Clive Gillmor (Jeremy Selwyn)

Ordering the flowers for a wedding day is usually just one item on a long to-do list. But for garden designer Manoj Malde, sorting out the floral displays took on far more significance for his marriage today to partner Clive Gillmor.

The ceremony at the Chelsea Flower Show — a first in the 110 year history of the event — took place in the garden he designed for organisers the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) highlighting this year’s theme of diversity and inclusion.

Kenyan-born Malde, 54, a presenter of the BBC’s Your Garden Made Perfect and Channel 4’s Garden Of The Year, said: “The RHS have been amazing. If I had to do all the wedding organisation as well as the garden build I would have been a broken man. The build is always very stressful but everything has gone to plan.

Manoj and husband  Clive (Jeremy Selwyn)
Manoj and husband Clive (Jeremy Selwyn)

“It took us 18 years to get engaged but in our minds we’ve always been married to each other. Today we’re making it more official.” The couple, who have been together for 33 years, tied the knot in front of 30 guests on the curtain raiser press day ahead of a visit by the King.

The event opens to RHS members only tomorrow and to the general public from Thursday to Saturday.

The RHS and Eastern Eye Garden of Unity has a colour scheme of orange and pink marigolds used in Hindu worship, and colourful spices set out on a table alongside small oil lamps used at festivals and religious ceremonies. The garden will also feature Asian fruit and vegetables and five cherry trees, each represent a pillar of Islam.

A Hindu ceremony overseen by celebrant and fellow garden designer and RHS ambassador James Alexander-Sinclair, who is a pastor in the Universal Life Church, was followed by an official legal process conducted by a registrar from Kensington and Chelsea council.

The showground was visited by celebrities today, including Jenna Coleman and Ben Whishaw, as designers waited for judges to do the rounds of the 12 show gardens and other categories before awarding the gold medals and Best in Show titles. Meanwhile, TV presenter Steve Backshall visited the RSPCA garden in the Sanctuary Garden category.