Buckingham Palace’s Head Gardener is spilling the “authorised” secrets of London’s largest* private garden in a new book.

Although visitors to the summer opening of Buckingham Palace get to walk around the edge on the way out – via a gift shop marquee — the bulk of the vast space is private and only seen during official functions. The new book, written by garden writer Claire Masset with Mark Lane, Head Gardener at Buckingham Palace gives a chance to see what lays beyond the footpath and follows a year in the life of the famous garden.

The book is a written tour of the garden’s main features, from its large lawns, Herbaceous Border and wildflower meadows to the Rose Garden and 3.5-acre lake, complete with a waterfall and a secluded island that provides a haven for wildlife. Despite its urban location, the garden is home to a remarkable array of flora and fauna, including rare native plants seldom seen in London.

A garden this large and old has a lot of heritage which is included, such as that the garden once housed an elephant and one of the first zebras ever seen in England.

It also turns out that since 1992, The Queen receives a seasonal posy from the garden every Monday when she’s in residence at Buckingham Palace.

For active gardeners, seasonal gardening tips are included.

Photos in the book are by John Campbell.

The 120-page book, Buckingham Palace: A Royal Garden will be available from Amazon, Foyles, Waterstones, or direct from the Royal Collection Trust from April.

*The second-largest private garden in London is Winfield House, the residence of the US Ambassador to the UK. The third-largest isn’t known.

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