Royal gardener lifts lid on Queen Mother’s ‘secret garden’

Royal family 'to step up and support Queen' says expert

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The Queen Mother was a keen horticulturist and enjoyed her own space in the gardens of the Windsor estate. Neil Dodds, the Frogmore head gardener, described the Queen Mother’s area of the grounds during a conversation with John Anderson, the Keeper of the Gardens, as part of an online event for the National Garden Scheme.

He worked on the section of the garden in order to tailor it to the Queen Mother’s taste and included cherries, camellias, magnolias and ferns in the layout.

Mr Dodds said: “Before I arrived on the scene it actually was just more of a rubbish dump really.

“And then we created it into what… is the secret garden primarily for the Queen Mother, the late Queen Mother, because she wanted somewhere to go and sit.

“There used to be a chair, a seat in there for her.”

The gardens nowadays feature seats placed “strategically” so that the Queen can sit while walking around the grounds.

They also include three bowls which are regularly filled with water for the Queen’s corgis.

Queen Elizabeth II once recounted her mother’s love for gardening in a message to Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time.

She said: “I have an early memory of my mother, Queen Elizabeth, being a hands-on gardener, a tradition that has been followed by other members of my family.

“I know this passion is shared by your listeners and many other people besides.

“I’m not any sort of expert on gardening, but plants, trees and flowers have been a source of pleasure throughout my life.”

Frogmore was purchased by Queen Charlotte in 1792 and was renovated by architect James Wyatt.

The gardens are rarely open to visitors, but the Royal Collection Trust typically hosts three Charity Open Days at Frogmore House and Gardens each year.

The grounds will remain closed to the public until 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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