The Queen's Gardener Reveals Landscaping Tips in "Buckingham Palace: A Royal Garden"

Mary Elizabeth Andriotis
·3 min read
Photo credit: JOHN CAMPBELL for Royal Collection Trust
Photo credit: JOHN CAMPBELL for Royal Collection Trust


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Just last week, it was announced that Buckingham Palace visitors will soon be able to partake in a self-guided tour of its expansive garden for the first time ever, come this summer. Well, we’re delighted to share even more royal landscaping news—which requires no travel whatsoever. A new book by Claire Masset, titled Buckingham Palace: A Royal Garden, hits shelves (and online retailers) today, providing readers with insight and tips from the Head Gardener at Buckingham Palace, Mark Lane, as well as a look into how this verdant estate alters each season.

Published by the Royal Collection Trust, Buckingham Palace: A Royal Garden explores a year in the life of what is arguably the most famous royal garden in England and beyond, accompanied by scenic photographs and anecdotes from members of the royal family. This historic landscape is where the Queen’s three annual garden parties are held each summer, garnering more than 30,000 guests in total.

The garden at Buckingham Palace, which is part of the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens, was originally designed by gardener Henry Wise over 300 years ago. Shortly thereafter, King George IV enlisted William Townsend Aiton, an English botanist, to oversee the garden’s redesign. Today, this renowned terrain boasts a 15-feet-high stone urn (made from a single piece of Carrara marble!) known as the Waterloo Vase, a tennis court, 19th-century lake, and even a helicopter pad.

Ever since Buckingham House, as it was originally called, became a palace in the 1820s, its accompanying lush landscape has been on full display for generations of the British royal family and their guests to admire. Of course, Queen Elizabeth II isn’t the only royal with ties to this historic garden. The 42-acre private park at Buckingham Palace—the Queen’s official London residence—boasts trees planted by (and named after!) fellow royals, including Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, as well as a mulberry tree sowed during the reign of King James I, in the early 1600s.

Photo credit: John Campbell for Royal Collection Trust
Photo credit: John Campbell for Royal Collection Trust

Of course, no garden looks exactly like the same year-round, so Buckingham Palace: A Royal Garden depicts and divulges just how much this famed landscape transforms with each season. In the spring, daffodils, bluebells, and azaleas are just some of the blossoms that are in bloom, while the summer welcomes various arrays of roses in all of their glory. As for autumn, expect no shortage of picturesque foliage on full display; and even in the winter, much is still in bloom, like the Japanese cornelian cherry (AKA cornus officinalis), which brightens any dreary London day with a cheerful shade of yellow.

So, how can you go about making your own garden look anything like the 42-acre one at Buckingham Palace? Mark Lane, the Head Gardener at Buckingham Palace, divulges various landscaping tips and tricks throughout this book, including an unexpected but undoubtedly helpful asset: beehives! Yes, you read that right—for the past 13 years, this royal garden has been home to five beehives, filled with the creatures that many of us live in fear of—all of which are ready to pollinate the many flowers, shrubs, and everything in between that make up this spectacular park.

It’s no wonder why this garden is worthy of not only Queen Elizabeth II herself, but also past, present, and future generations of royal descendants, for that matter. Interested in learning more about this landmark landscape? You can purchase Buckingham Palace: A Royal Garden here.

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