The secret of how the Buckingham Palace garden is kept so immaculate is the subject of a new behind-the-scenes book.
Buckingham Palace: A Royal Garden charts a year in the life of the 39-acre oasis, which boasts sweeping lawns, a 512ft (156m) herbaceous border, wildflower meadows, a rose garden and a 3.5-acre lake.
The tradition began in 1992 and half a dozen fresh flowers, chosen by the Queen’s Royal Florist, are placed in a vase on the Queen’s writing table each week.
In winter, as an alternative to flowers, the posies feature a mix of evergreen leaves and colourful berries.
The Palace’s head gardener, Mark Lane, shares his tips on how he cares for the garden throughout the year.
Some 24,000 guests usually traipse over the grass in the summer during the Queen’s three garden parties, leaving the lawn in need of repair.
The lawn has to be mown weekly as soon as the grass starts growing in the spring to keep it at the right height, and the edges are painstakingly clipped to add precision.
Stripes are created in formal areas of lawn using a mower with a built-in roller to help lead the eye and make the garden or lawn look larger, as well as framing the flower borders.
The Royal Collection Trust’s Buckingham Palace Gin is infused with botanicals collected from the garden, including lemon verbena, hawthorn berries, bay leaves and mulberry leaves.
The rose garden contains 25 beds of roses, with each one planted with 60 rose bushes of a different variety.
There are also 200 different varieties of camellias in the garden.
The lake features a waterfall and a secluded island which acts as a haven for wildlife.
During the 1930s and 1940s, the Queen’s mother and father, George VI and Queen Elizabeth, oversaw the planting of magnolias, cherries and camellias, many of which still thrive today.
Queen Victoria noted in her diary in May 1843: “It was so fine in our pretty garden, with all the azaleas & rhododendrons out.”
In 1762, Queen Charlotte established a menagerie in the garden, including an elephant, monkeys and one of the first zebras ever seen in England.
– Buckingham Palace: A Royal Garden, by Claire Masset, will be published by the Royal Collection Trust on April 13 2021, priced £14.95 from Royal Collection Trust shops and www.rct.uk/shop and £16.95 from bookshops.