Documentary opens Buckingham Palace gardens to the public

The gardens boasts 350 wildflower species, 83 bird species, 2,500 insect varieties, 200,000 honey bees and a helliborine orchid. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The secrets of Buckingham Palace, including its liberal use of garlic and horse manure and its camomile-infused lawns, will be revealed in a British television documentary to be shown at Christmas.

ITV was given rare access to the central London oasis -- the size of 22 football pitches -- for a full year, and will air two hour-long episodes of “The Queen’s Garden”, exploring its farthest corners.

Viewers will see archive footage of Queen Elizabeth II and her late younger sister princess Margaret playing in the palace grounds as children and learn about the organic methods used to maintain the gardens and attract wildlife.

The gardens boasts 350 wildflower species, 83 bird species, 2,500 insect varieties, 200,000 honey bees and a helliborine orchid, the first discovered growing in London for over a century.

The gardeners describe their use of a garlic spray to ward off pests and the plot’s “magic ingredient”: piles of horse dung collected from the nearby royal mews.

Produce from the garden, including honey and mulberries, are used extensively in the royal kitchen, and served up to some of the 7,000 guests invited to the queen’s annual summer garden parties.

Plaques throughout the grounds commemorate the planting of trees by generations of kings and queens, including a mulberry tree said to have been planted by James I in 1609 in an attempt to begin a silk-making industry.

The filmmakers were also granted access after nightfall to try and locate the grounds’ pipistrelle bats, the smallest bat in Britain.

“She is very much at the helm of how her garden is run,” said presenter Alan Titchmarsh.

“And the wildlife is very important to her. There is this overwhelming desire to be accommodating to all forms of life.”
 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44
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