A vegetable plot at Buckingham Palace (Telegraph)

Message sent by Robert Holmer and by Willy GOETHALS

The Queen has joined the “grow your own” revolution after creating a vegetable plot at Buckingham Palace.

By Andrew Alderson, Chief Reporter
Published: 9:00AM BST 14 Jun 2009

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh talk to Claire Midgley, the Deputy Gardens Manager of Buckingham Palace, as they study the new vegetable garden in the grounds of the Royal reside.  Queen Elizabeth’s organic vegetable patch at Buckingham Palace is about 10 yards by eight yards in size.  For the first time since the Second World War vegetables are being grown in the Palace’s grounds alongside ornamental plants. The move comes amid a surge in demand from people up and down the country to have their own allotment to grow their own food during the recession.
The Queen’s organic vegetable patch is about 10 yards by eight yards in size. It is at the rear of the garden in an area which is called the Yard Bed. Guests attending the Queen’s garden parties will be able to see her new allotment over the summer. “The Queen is very keen on gardens in general and she is always willing to try out new things,” said a royal source.  “She attends the Chelsea Flower Show each year and has always been fond of Kew Gardens.”

Claire Midgley, the Deputy Gardens Manager, last week showed the Queen a variety of vegetables that are being grown, including runner beans, “Stuttgarter” onions, “Musselburgh” leeks, sweetcorn, “Red Ace” beetroot, “Fly Away” carrots and an endangered variety of climbing French beans called “Blue Queen”. No chemicals have been used to cultivate the allotment sites. Liquid sea-weed has been used to feed the plants and forms of garlic are being used to deter aphids. Like the rest of the garden, water from the palace borehole is used to irrigate the plants. Mulch from the palace’s compost heap has been used to bed the vegetables in.  In 1918, there was a vegetable patch at Buckingham Palace which was used to grow turnips. There is a short film of the turnips being harvested on the Royal Channel on YouTube. During the Second World War, vegetables were also grown at Windsor Castle.  A photograph of The Queen, when she was Princess Elizabeth, was taken in the grounds of the Castle to support the Second World War “Dig for Victory” campaign. Buckingham Palace’s garden covers 40 acres, and it includes a helicopter landing area, a four-acre lake, and a tennis court where King George VI often played tennis with Fred Perry, three three-time Wimbledon champion. It is home to 30 different species of bird and more than 350 different wild flowers, some extremely rare. The gardens can comfortably accommodate 7,000 guests at each of the Queen’s annual garden parties. Allotments were introduced by the philanthropic Victorians to provide a healthy diet and lifestyle for factory workers.  Today, when their appeal has crossed the class divide, they still offer the same benefits. Over the years, the popularity of the allotment has risen and fallen in relation to the nation’s feeling of wellbeing. In times of hardship, the public has been keen to turn to the soil – most notably during the Second World War, when millions became vegetable gardeners. It was revealed in February that the National Trust is converting some of its land into about 1,000 allotments to meet soaring demand.


See also: http://www.cityfarmer.info/the-queen-installs-a-vegetable-patch-at-buckingham-palace/#more-1652 for corresponding youtube link


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.