Grow a Garden Fit for Royalty
There is no doubt that the Royal Family love their gardens and flowers, with the landscaping on royal grounds truly breath-taking. But, do you know the favourite flowers of the family? Members of the royal household revealed their favourites during a virtual celebration of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2020. We’ll let you know those chosen and how you can grow them in your garden.
Queen Elizabeth II
What an honour to be chosen as our Queen’s favourite flower, and the lily of the valley takes that crown. These pretty white flowers featured in the Queen’s wedding bouquet and have held special significance to her ever since.
To grow your own, you can often get them as rooted crowns. These are soaked in water for half an hour and then you transfer them into pots filled with compost. Let them begin to grow in these pots indoors or in a cool greenhouse for about a month or two, after which, they should be hardy enough to be transferred into moist, shaded raised beds or borders. They’re likely to look their best in June-August.
The Prince of Wales
Prince Charles has never been shy about his concern for the environment and has been quoted as saying that he finds gardening “marvellous and therapeutic”. The gorgeously vivid blooms of delphiniums are his favourite. He said, the “magnificent, glorious apparelled delphinium, with its impeccable bearing and massed in platoons, holds pride of place in my botanical affections.”
Delphiniums are best grown in moist, well-drained soil that has as much exposure to the sun as possible. They struggle in the colder winter wetness, so adding grit to the planting hole to provide drainage is a good idea. After they have flowered, cut the stems back which could bring a second bout of blooming. The seeds should be sown in March-April, or planted as established plants in May-June, and their flowers look best in June-September.
The Duchess of Cornwall
Rather unusually, Camilla opted for a plant more often associated with foliage and is regularly used as a filler for flower beds or bouquets. The alchemilla mollis, or ‘lady’s mantle’ was chosen by her because, “This acid green fluffy-flowered plant is one of the best ever foliage plants for the garden and vase. A must for every gardener.”
Alchemilla mollis is often used as a ‘glue’ to bring other plants together or as an under plant for larger ones like roses. You can grow yours in part-shade or the sunshine, so it is a useful and versatile plant. If you grow from seeds, they’re best sown 3mm deep in moist well-drained seed compost. Once established, these can be moved to your chosen area and then will mostly take care of themselves! Sow the seeds from March-May, and they are likely to look their best from June-September.
The Princess Royal
Princess Anne holds a particularly special place in our hearts at HSL, as we received a royal visit from her to commemorate our 50th anniversary! Her flower of choice is a great way of bringing some colour to your winter and spring garden! When asked for one of her favourites, she chose hellebores. Speaking of the pretty flowers, she said “Not only do they flower early but they keep flowering for two months, and they are often beautifully marked with endless variations.”
Hellebores should be grown in well-drained, fertile soil and can be placed at the front of a border or beneath shrubs or pots as they like to be in the sun or partial shade. Once they’re established, it’s unwise to transplant them, and you should care for them with annual mulching. They’re usually bought as established plants and can be planted at most times of the year as long as the ground isn’t frozen. They tend to be in garden centres from late winter to early spring and look their most vibrant from January-April.