The Duchess of Cambridge’s green thumb has been on our minds since her latest visit to the Chelsea Flower Show, and last week we took look at what plants to include in your own country (or suburban) garden to make it a little more like Anmer Hall. For Part 2 of our mini gardening series, we turn our attention to Kate’s in-town garden. While she is sure to have a private garden space within the walls of Kensington Palace, she doubtless lacks the expanse she enjoys in Norfolk, something most of us can appreciate! To be sure, the Duchess of Cambridge doesn’t check her love of gardening at London’s city limits, and nor should we.
Houseplants can lend an air of lush seclusion in the midst of an urban jungle. The key is to know your space and the light patterns and make your plant purchases appropriately. With that in mind, orchids are a great choice for indoors because many varieties require very little light. For beauty as well as sentiment, I imagine that the Duchess of Cambridge’s apartment boasts both the variety named in her and Prince William’s honor – the Vanda William Catherine – as well as the orchid developed for Princess Diana just before her death in 1997. Their Royal Highnesses first viewed both flowers while in Singapore during their Jubilee tour of Southeast Asia.
Nothing beats the winter blues like the sight of the first snowdrops or crocus popping up through the frozen ground. The good news is that both plants – as well as numerous other bulb flowers – can be “forced” or coaxed into growing indoors, making them a perfect addition to both Apartment 1A as well as your own indoor garden. By placing bulbs in a cold place (your refrigerator will do nicely) and then planting them in pots, you, too, can have those late winter and early spring blooms to carry you through until springtime weather arrives. We know that Catherine loves hyacinth (her wedding bouquet featured a white variety), so these are a prime sentimental choice for her rooms. A lovely two-tone species of daffodil was named for Prince George after his birth, and would pair nicely on the side table with the Duchess’s hyacinth. Since Kate has shown that she’s keen on passing on her love of gardening to her children, planting his namesake daffodils with Prince George sounds like the perfect activity for a rainy autumn or winter afternoon!
If you have your heart set on roses, you’ll be happy to know that many varieties of the plant grow well as container plants, too! Success with container gardening will depend on available sunlight (and an outdoor terrace or balcony is a better set-up for success than indoors near a window), but it is definitely possible to have a rose garden without any in-ground gardening space. Even the William and Catherine rose we highlighted in Part 1 will flourish in a container, according to the breeder! (Our American readers may consider the ‘Susan Williams-Ellis’ rose as a substitute, as the ‘William and Catherine’ is not currently available in the U.S.)
We all know too well that good eating habits cannot afford to take a break if you’re seeking a svelte figure like Kate’s, so having fresh produce on hand in London is just as important as when the Cambridges are in the country. Catherine surprised and delighted her fans when she accepted a cherry tomato (which briefly fell to the ground) from the tasting garden at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, a sure sign of a seasoned gardener who is accustomed to nibbling straight from the vine. While traditional tomato plants can be space-consuming, cherry tomatoes are a great container grower and perfect for the urban garden.
Herbs are easy to grow on a sunny windowsill and the benefit to having them inside is that they’re close at hand when you’re busy in the kitchen! The varieties you choose should center around your most common cooking needs. For me, that’s basil, dill, thyme, and parsley. I would love to know which herbs Her Royal Highness reaches for most often!
Lettuce is also easy to have on hand even when working with a small space or indoor growing area. Hydroponic lettuce has taken off in popularity over the last few years (you can get a growing kit at your local hardware store for under $100), so it’s easy to imagine the Duchess embracing this trend to add some of her own greens to the family meals at KP.
Do you have a Duchess-worthy garden? We would love to hear about what you’re growing!