As Queen Elizabeth prepares to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee this week, there’s a new report looking at six of Her Majesty’s major private gardens to find the plants, flowers and features the 96-year-old monarch loves the best.
Along with priceless statues, elegant pergolas and woodland walks, the report found the following – clematis, daffodils, pink and red roses, hedges and herbaceous flower beds with traditional favorites such as delphiniums, lupins and verbascum – in every single one.
'It’s fascinating to see the features that make a Royal garden Royal,' says Sophie Birkert, founder and designer of Screen With Envy (opens in new tab), the garden screen company behind the research.
'Now, with this list, people will be armed with the information they need to be able to recreate the look of a royal garden at home, just in time for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.'
'Clematis is the queen of climbers, scrambling up trellises, climbing over arbors and threading themselves through other plants,' says Sophie. 'There are many varieties of the plant featured throughout all of the palace gardens.'
'I love the beautiful blooms you get to enjoy when growing clematis,' says Beth Murton, editor of Gardeningetc. 'I have several growing up a trellis on a fence in my garden and the bold colors and large flowers never fail to bring a smile to my face.'
At Windsor Castle just outside London, there's even a beautiful purple variety called 'Prince Philip', named, as you might have guessed, after the late Prince Philip.
Daffodils do it
'As daffodils are the national flower of Wales, they hold a special place in the Queen’s heart and are found in all of her private gardens,' says Sophie.
'In fact, the Queen has even had a daffodil created for her in 2012 called the Narcissus ‘Diamond Jubilee’, and other varieties of the flowers especially bred for her.
We've got plenty of tips on how and when to plant daffodil bulbs so you can give your own plot a royal touch come next spring.
'The Queen’s love of roses is well-known. At Windsor Castle, there are 3,500 rose bushes planted in a geometric pattern,' says Sophie.
When Gardeningetc visited the Buckingham Palace Gardens in central London last summer, we were wowed by the sheer variety of roses in the stunning rose garden. We learned that there are 25 different beds and each bed contains 60 rose bushes of the same color and variety, with each type of rose chosen for its stunning fragrance and color.
'It is red and pink roses that appear in all of Her Majesty’s gardens,' says Sophie, 'as opposed to orange, white and yellow, which feature in 83.33% of gardens.'
'Hedges not only look great in the Queen’s Royal gardens, but they are also very practical, helping to add privacy to the vast spaces,' says Sophie.
At Sandringham House in Norfolk, there are colorful plants surrounded by pristine hedgerows, including yew.
'At Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland, the keeper of the Walled Garden, Adam Ferguson, says he reimagined the feature by incorporating symmetrical structural hedging to introduce color and excitement to the space,' adds Sophie.
'From Buckingham Palace’s 156-metre herbaceous garden border to Sandringham House Garden’s beautiful herbaceous borders designed by late renowned landscape architect Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, this traditional cottage garden style is a must-have in any royal garden,' says Sophie.
'The borders are a display of colors from reds, oranges and yellows through to blues, mauves and a complete sensory overload. From delphiniums and phloxes to daylilies and heleniums, there’s so many ideas for your own space.'
How many of the Queen's must-have plants will you be including in your garden design ideas?
Jayne Dowle is an award-winning freelance gardening, homes and property writer who writes about everything from swimming ponds to skyscraper apartments, for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. Awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021, she has a degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Oxford and a lifelong love of homes, interiors and gardens. Her first memories include planting potatoes with her grandfather and drawing houses. Her own garden - her fourth - at home in a 1920s house in Yorkshire, is south-facing and on the side of a valley. It’s a constant challenge
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