By Jill Brooke
Starting today, the East Terrace Garden at Windsor Castle, created by George IV in the 1820s, will open to the public at weekends for the first time in 40 years.
Now that the Queen and Prince Phillip moved to Balmoral Castle, the royal family’s Scottish summer estate, the Queen decided to open up the garden so that the public has a special place to have a visual treat. Visitors won’t be disappointed.
There are over 3,500 rose bushes – plenty of David Austin ones – planted in a precise pattern around a central fountain. Look at the petals and that dreamy peach color that is now in bloom.
During the pandemic, Queen Elizabeth also made a point to contribute to the on-line version of the Chelsea Flower Show and even share her favorite flower. Turns out it is lily of the valley which is also the flower she had in her coronation bouquet.
Hasn’t Queen Elizabeth shown such leadership during this crisis?
Not only role modeling wearing a mask right away- that brilliantly matched her signature floral hats – but also giving motivational speeches to Britain and the world about fortitude, patience and perseverance.
The formal gardens are meticulously groomed and nostalgic as well. During World War II, she and her sister Princess Margaret turned a portion of the space into a vegetable garden which produced corn, tomatoes and beans. The flowers were dug up and replaced by vegetables to show how the Princesses were contributing to the war effort.
All these years later, it’s where she’s spent four months of lockdown.
Here’s a romantic little tidbit. Knowing how special this garden is to his wife, in 1971 Prince Phillip redesigned the flowerbeds and even commissioned a bronze lotus fountain that he personally designed.
The garden owes its current grandeur to the efforts of Queen Elizabeth’s relative, Queen Victoria.
As a flower lover, Queen Victoria ushered in an era of floral appreciation in the 19th century by creating beautiful gardens and popularizing the language of flowers. Her beloved Prince Albert took particular interest in the garden’s planting scheme, and in the early 20th century, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra held large garden parties there each summer.
It obviously is a special place to the Queen.
It is also the site where she was photographed in 2016 by Vanity Fair’s Annie Leibovitz.
At.a time when there are reduced pleasures, seeing a magnificent garden is definitely a treat. Attendance is expected to be high since these magnificent gardens will only be open until September.