Buckingham Palace Open Gardens : A Guide by Within London
Guest writer, Ina, talented creator of the culture vulture's guide to London takes LondonPop on a tour of the Queen's Gardens, open to the public for the first time this summer! Follow Ina at www.withinLondon.com & @withinLondon
From July - September '21, paying visitors will be welcomed to picnic and indulge in self-guided tours of the superbly-landscaped royal grounds of Buckingham Palace. The gardens are home to a biodiverse habitat of 320 different types of grasses, wildflowers, and over 1,000 trees.
Although the original naturalistic landscaping was inspired by Humphry Repton and Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, the current garden scenery dates from 1825 when the Buckingham House was declared a palace by George IV who appointed William Townsend - also in charge of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew - to oversee the re-modelling of the gardens.
The wildlife-rich oasis tucked right into Central London features a mulberry that dates back to James I of England, a 19th-century lake – once beautified by a small flock of flamingoes that sadly fell victim to a daring fox, a tennis court, a helicopter landing pad, and a small 18th-century summerhouse designed by William Kent.
A lesser-known fact about the Buckingham gardens is the resemblance to the Palace regarding its richness in works of art. The display collection famously includes the legendary Waterloo Vase commissioned by Napoleon to celebrate his anticipated victories. Intended at some point for the Waterloo chamber at Windsor Castle, King Edward VII eventually decided to place it in the outdoor gardens at Buckingham as the urn, weighing 15 tons, was too heavy for indoor floors.
Buckingham Gardens' vast diversity of flora and fauna contributes to the capital’s thriving ecosystem with 6,500 plants, 325 wild-plant species, 260 types of wildflowers including orchids, and over 200 species of trees (including 85 different species of oak). The 30 species of breeding birds boast a variety of water birds and native birds rarely seen in London, such as the Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus), Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos), and Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca).
The wildflower meadow, summer house, and rose garden can be enjoyed exclusively through guided tours.
The Gardens will be dotted with many food stalls and visitors can purchase delicious refreshments.