Buckingham Palace Diamond Garden

Buckingham Palace Diamond Garden

Buckingham Palace Diamond Garden

Buckingham Palace Diamond Garden

Buckingham Palace Diamond Garden

Buckingham Palace Diamond Garden

The Diamond Garden was installed to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s 60th anniversary of her accession to the British throne: the Diamond Anniversary.  The garden is in the public realm on the sidewalk outside the Queen’s Gallery, and is the main drop-off point for tourists visiting the palace.  Previously the space consisted of a raised mown lawn beneath two large mature London Plane Trees.

Above: the site before the re-design. 

There was a complex design brief:  reference to diamonds had to be made because of the Anniversary; maintenance was to be very simple and not entail any greater annual time commitment than the existing grass cutting; the gardens needed to look good everyday of the year; overall the vegetation had to be relatively short to prevent any danger of explosive items being hidden as a counter-terrorism precaution; the flowering plants had to have proven value to pollinating insects; and all this had to work under the shade of mature London Plane trees.

The design of the garden is based on a regular square grid, turned 90 degrees to create a diamond pattern, and then stretched to give a strong sense of perspective and depth.  The grid is picked out with Portland Limestone strips – a bright creamy white stone that looks good throughout the year.  Within the grid there are two types of planting.  First a strongly naturalistic, meadow-like planting with pink, purple and white colours – this fills the majority of the space.  To contrast strongly with this, a smaller number of ‘cells’ are filled with mostly evergreen groundcovers.  The flowering of the garden happens mostly in the spring and early summer, and then cools down to a tapestry of foliage patterns in the cool of the summer shade, and this patterning stays in place through the autumn and winter.

Below: The creation of the design concept: from regular grid to stretch perspective diamonds

Below: setting out the stone strips and the planting

 

Below: Showing the Queen the Garden

Below: The garden soon after planting

Flowering plants were all chosen for their proven value to pollinating insects.  Because the garden is in dry shade, the main flowering impact is in the spring and early summer.

Below: The Diamond Garden in spring