Five things you may not know about Buckingham Palace Garden
Hidden behind the high walls surrounding Buckingham Palace is one of London's most beautiful gardens, the venue for a busy calendar of royal events.
Our publication, Buckingham Palace: A Royal Garden, takes readers on a behind-the-scenes tour as the garden blooms over the course of a year. Featuring tips and tales from Head Gardener, Mark Lane, the royal residence is seen in a new light through stunning new photography.
Our Top Five Facts
1. The garden used to be home to a zebra
In 1762, Queen Charlotte – the wife of George III – transformed the vegetable patch at Buckingham Palace Garden into a paddock for her menagerie.
Among the exotic animals were a female zebra and an elephant. Elsewhere were two monkey houses and aviaries filled with unusual birds.
Nowadays the garden is home to five beehives and over 50 different types of birds, who come and go as they please.
The image on the right is a painting by George Stubbs in 1763.
© Yale Centre for British Art
2. Over 200 varieties of camellias can be found in the garden
Spring flowering trees have been favoured by many resident kings and queens, including King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth who oversaw the planting of magnolias, cherries and camellias in the garden in the 1930s and 1940s. Many still thrive today.
Camellias have a long flowering season, from late winter to early summer.
3. A striking living memorial commemorates two former royal residents
On the north corner of the palace two large London plane trees come into view. Known as Victoria and Albert, no one knows who planted which tree more than 150 years ago.
Their broad canopies reaching up and touching each other are seen as a memorial to the couple’s love, strength and unity.
The image on the right depicts the Garden’s two most famous plane trees.
4. 27,000 cups of tea are served at each of The Queen’s Garden Parties.
The Queen traditionally hosts three Garden Parties a year, each attended by around 8,000 guests. Alongside many cups of tea guests are also treated to tempting displays of sandwiches and cakes on the lawn while being entertained by military bands.
On the right is Buckingham Palace bathed in soft golden light at daybreak.
5. The garden has its own gin
Launched in 2020, Buckingham Palace Gin has a unique royal origin. Lemon, verbena, hawthorn berries and mulberry leaves are among 12 botanicals hand-picked in the gardens, giving the gin its citrus and herbal notes.
Pictured is a Buckingham Palace Gardener picking mulberry leaves.
Our Garden Gifts
Discover gifts inspired by the wonderful gardens and outdoor landscapes. From our dry Buckingham Palace gin made using botanicals from the royal gardens to our publication Buckingham Palace: A Royal Garden which includes more incredible garden facts within its pages.