Buckingham Palace gardener reveals the Royal secrets of this famous garden, but what next?

Now he’s custodian, everyone’s talking about how King Charles will take forward this gorgeous historic green space in central London

view of Buckingham Palace from the lake in the gardens
(Image credit: The Royal Collection Trust/Media Select)

Now keen organic gardener King Charles is in charge of the famous Buckingham Palace garden, everyone is waiting to see what he will do with the carefully designed and tended landscape. 

A new book reveals that the garden design includes beehives, a bug-friendly water feature and even a dozen carefully selected ‘botanicals’ including mulberry bushes, lemon verbena, hawthorn berries and bay leaves grown especially to produce Buckingham Palace gin. 

'I do wonder what His Royal Highness will make of the Buckingham Palace gardens,' says Chris Bonnett, founder and CEO of Gardening Express. 'Will he turn over some of the lawns into huge organic vegetable beds? Perhaps he could arrange a link up with inner-city schools to visit and tend the vegetables and for the children to learn about where food comes from and the importance of growing your own.'

rose gardens at Buckingham Palace gardens

Rose gardens at Buckingham Palace gardens

(Image credit: John Campbell (photographer) from Buckingham Palace: A Royal Garden by Claire Masset (Royal Collection Trust)/Source PA Media)

Royal inspiration

Fans of the Royalcore garden trend will find much to inspire in Buckingham Palace head gardener Mark Lane’s book, Buckingham Palace, A Royal Garden, available on Amazon, written in collaboration with gardening author Claire Masset and photographer John Campbell.

'The garden you see today looks nothing like it did in the 18th century, when it reached a peak of formality,' the book reveals. 'The then gardener, Henry Wise, added lots of finely executed features, including a canal, avenues of lime trees, elaborate parterres with fountains and statues, and paths lined with neatly-spaced tubs of bay and orange trees.'

the lake at Buckingham Palace gardens

The lake at Buckingham Palace gardens

(Image credit: The Royal Collection Trust/Media Select)

Bee friendly

One of the two idyllic islands in the three-acre lake at Buckingham Palace has been home to five beehives since 2008, which produce around 160 jars of honey a year for use in the royal kitchens. 

The gardens are already bursting with bee-friendly blooms, including the Buckingham Palace Rose Garden, with 25 rose beds, each boasting 60 rose bushes of a different variety, and a glorious herbaceous border more than 500 foot long.

beehives in Buckingham Palace gardens

Beehives in Buckingham Palace gardens

(Image credit: The Royal Collection Trust/Media Select)

Welcoming waterfall

The eco-friendly garden is believed to host 350 species of wildflower, 83 species of birds and 2,500 British species of insects including butterflies.

The picturesque waterfall, a key element of the Romantic style of landscaping which has long influenced the garden’s design, helps to oxygenate the lake and attract all those birds and insects.

the waterfall at Buckingham Palace Gardens

The waterfall in Buckingham Palace Gardens

(Image credit: The Royal Collection Trust/Media Select)

Veteran British gardener, author and TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh, says it's already a wildlife garden haven: 'As you venture around the lake into the wildest places, you feel as though you’re deep in the country. I’m not the only one that’s fooled. Her Majesty made her garden a place where nature thrives.'

Only time will tell how Buckingham Palace Gardens will continue to evolve in the future under the new King. 

Buckingham Palace opens for visitors several times a year, and tickets for 2023 will be available soon. 

Jayne Dowle
Freelance writer

Jayne Dowle is an award-winning gardening, homes and property writer who writes for publications including Sunday Times Home, Times Bricks & Mortar, Grand Designs, House Beautiful and The Spectator. She was awarded the Garden Journalist of the Year accolade at the Property Press Awards in 2021.