Chelsea Flower Show: Suffolk sweet pea grower wins royal approval after giving bouquet to the Queen

  • Watch Chris Wiley's interview with ITV News Anglia's Russell Hookey

A sweet pea grower said having his new variety presented in a bouquet to the Queen at the Chelsea Flower Show was a dream come true.

Chris Wiley developed the new flower variety at his farm in Harkstead in Suffolk.

It was named after Essex celebrity gardener Peter Seabrook, who was known for giving a posy of sweet peas to the Queen each year.

"It was just the most surreal thing", he told ITV News Anglia. "Her comments were that this is amazing, this is just brilliant.

"It's something you could never dream of. I've always wanted to grow my own plant and be a name out there for something unique and I think Peter has helped me to do that and this is my way of saying thank you."

Sweet pea grower Chris Wiley at his farm in Suffolk. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The 27-year-old set up his plant growing business near Ipswich just two years ago.

He said Mr Seabrook visited the farm when it first opened.

"I got to know him three or four years ago," he said. "He helped me with a lot of connections and put some work my way and was a big support to me."

A memorial display for Mr Seabrook, who died in January, stood inside the Floral Marquee at Chelsea, featuring the new sweet pea.

"When he passed away I thought 'I've got to name it after Peter'. It was his favourite plant, the first plant he grew from seed, so it's just the most fitting plant."

Mr Wiley said he intended to make his variety of sweet pea widely available to gardeners, and would donate a proportion of his profits to Peter Seabrook's favourite RHS garden, Hyde Hall near Chelmsford.

Gardening broadcaster Peter Seabrook pictured with the Queen. He died in January 2022 aged 86. Credit: ITV News Anglia