Sunken Garden: Palace garden inspired by Diana – how to grow Princess’ ‘favourite’ flowers

Princess Diana 'loved The Sunken Garden' says expert

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The newly re-designed Sunken Gardens is meant to offer a “calmer and more reflective setting” in commemoration of what would have been Princess Diana’s 60th birthday. The ceremony, which will unveil the statue, will take place this afternoon. The garden’s talented designer Pip Morrison said it was a “very special project” to work on and said it featured many of the princess’s favourite blooms.

The huge project began in October 2019 and has taken a total of 1,000 hours and five gardeners to complete.

The garden has more than 4,000 individual flowers which includes some of the Princess’ favourites.

Forget-me-nots – which are known for their blue flowers – were particularly adored by Diana.

Other varieties include roses, forget-me-nots, tulips, lavender, dahlias, and sweet peas.

The garden also includes more than 400 metres of short-cut turf.

Kensington Palace said the new garden design has “deeper flower borders” and a more “generous” lawn around the pool.

Historic Royal Palaces’ deputy head of gardens and estates Graham Dillamore said the Princess often admired the floral displays in the Sunken Garden.

He said: “While she was in residence at Kensington Palace, Diana, Princess of Wales regularly admired the changing floral displays in the Sunken Garden and would always stop to talk with me and the other gardeners who cared for it,” he said.

“Over three decades later, I’m honoured to have been part of the team preparing the garden for the installation of this statue.

“We’ve incorporated a number of the princess’s favourite flowers into the design, and I hope that visitors to the palace and gardens will enjoy its peaceful setting, and take a moment to reflect on the life and legacy of the princess.”

Here’s how you can grow some of the Princess’ favourite blooms yourself:

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Forget-me-nots

Forget-me-nots, also known as Myosotis, are a spring flower which are famous for their beautiful bright blue flowers.

They are often found in borders, on the edge of paths or in clusters.

You can sow forget-me-not seeds in March, April, May and September, and plant them out in April and May.

Forget-me-nots usually flower from April to June.

The biennial plants well-drained soil in either sunny or shady spots and are ideally placed next to shade-loving plants, according to Gardeners’ World.

The great thing about forget-me-nots is they actually self-seed so you don’t need to worry about sowing too many seeds next year.

However, it’s best to pull-up the plants if you don’t want them to spread.

Dahlias

Dahlias are a truly stunning plants that come in a range of colours and shades.

You can plant them in May and June and watch them flower from July to October.

Some dahlias are perfect for borders while others are great for a more exotic scheme.

These beautiful flowers love well-drained soil and a sunny yet sheltered spot.

In the autumn months, you can dig up the tubers of dahlias and keep them in a frost-free place to then pot them up in April.

They can then be planted out in the garden in May, once there is no more frost.

Sweet peas

Sweet peas don’t only smell incredible but they look beautiful too.

The good news is, they’re easy to grow and you can plant them out from April to June.

You can expect to see sweet pea flowers, which come in a range of flowers, from June to October.

Sweet peas can either be grown in pots or trained up a frame to create a stunning display.

These flowers enjoy a sunny spot in well-drained soil, peat-free compost and slow-release fertiliser.

It’s a bit late to sow seeds now but you can plant out shop-bought ones now.

Lavender

A popular evergreen shrub found in most British gardens, there are a plethora of different lavender varieties.

English lavender is more hardy than French and Spanish varieties while hybrid lavenders or “lavendin” lavenders can tolerate wetter, cooler conditions and flower for longer.

Lavender likes well-drained soil and full sunlight but tender ones like to be sheltered.

The best time to plant lavender is from March to May so you can enjoy its flowers from July to September.

However, you can also plant them in October and November.

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