It is somewhat fitting that Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, wore green to her first two appearances to the famed Chelsea Flower Show: by all accounts, Her Royal Highness has quite the green thumb! In fact, Kate has revealed her love for gardening at several appearances over the past few years. Join WWKD for Part 1 of this two-part series on gardening like the Duchess.
Two staples of the quintessential English country garden are foxglove and roses. Kate revealed at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show that she was already teaching George to stay away from the foxglove (it is poisonous), so it seems that the garden at Anmer Hall is keeping up with tradition. Foxglove is a biennial – which means that they typically rebloom once after the initial planting.
It’s impossible for us to know which varieties of roses Catherine favors, but I like to think that she has at least one specimen of hybridizer David Austin’s William and Catherine rose (bred especially in honor of their wedding) features in her garden. (Bonus garden RepliKate: the William and Catherine rose is available for purchase directly from the grower!) Roses are perennials, meaning that, with the right care, they will continue to bloom year after year.
The Duke and Duchess also revealed that their garden includes the buxus or boxwood plant. At last year’s Chelsea Flower Show, Prince William took a liking to the plant and, when he pointed it out to Catherine, she was heard to reply, “darling, we’ve got that.” Boxwood make an excellent anchor to your garden, as they are an evergreen, meaning that they maintain their leaves and color year-round.
What other sentimental flowers may be blooming at Anmer? I expect that Kate has also planted lily of the valley, which featured in her wedding bouquet in 2011 (although it is also poisonous, so one hopes it is out of the reach of small royal hands!). Sweet William (commonly called Pinks in the United States), which the Duchess also carried on her wedding day, would be the perfect plant to fill in the gaps between larger plants. They are low-growing, evergreen, and very easy to maintain.
Of course, remember to check the specifics of your growing region before plumping down for some royal-worthy plants. I live in the Southern United States, and sadly cannot grow lily of the valley. Likewise, some varieties of roses don’t fare well in very cold climes.
With Catherine’s culinary interests, it comes as no surprise that fresh fruits and vegetables feature prominently in the kitchen garden at Anmer Hall. Whilst visiting a tasting garden at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, Kate is reported to have commented that ‘[i]t makes such a difference when you take it from the ground.” (Psst . . . for Kate fans with little princes or princesses in tow, this is a great area to get the kids involved as well!)
Kate has given us a few hints as to her own farm-to-table efforts. She commented in September 2016 that she was teaching George the varieties of apples in the orchards at Anmer and Sandringham. She also has revealed that she grows asparagus in her kitchen garden.
Alliums (leeks, onions and garlic) are a constant must in every kitchen. Kate lent a skilled hand to schoolchildren planting onions during a visit to Arlingham earlier this year. Cucumbers are an easy-to-grow favorite and abundant producer, so I am willing to bet that Catherine has included some in her own garden for salads and pickling.
And how does the Duchess manage “pest control” in the garden? My local farmer suggests growing radishes between other plants as a means of keeping six-legged nibblers off of the more tender plants and lettuces.
While I like to imagine that Kate rings up father-in-law Prince Charles when she has a gardening question (His Royal Highness’s Highgrove Gardens are renound), I imagine she also turns to the Internet just like us for quick answer. Both the Royal Horticultural Society and the American Horticultural Society have a valuable online presence. Many universities also operate a local extension, which is a great resource for locale-specific growing tips!
Stay tuned next week, when we turn our attention to what may be blossoming inThe Duchess of Cambridge’s urban garden at Kensington Palace!