Buckingham Palace redesigns flowerbeds for first time in decades to thank NHS

Lifestyle Team
·3-min read

Buckingham Palace gardeners have created a tribute to the NHS as the health institution marks 72 years since it was founded.

The palace flowerbeds have been redesigned for what is thought to be the first time since the First World War to spell out NHS in 45,000 white and blue flowers.

The display, in the Memorial Gardens at St James’s Park, usually feature scarlet geraniums to match the uniforms of the Queen’s Guard.

This year is the first variation for several years.

Royal Parks staff applaud the NHS's 72 birthday behind one of two specially created 12 x 5 metre flowerbeds in front of Buckingham Palace in the Memorial Gardens in St James's Park. The letters are made up of 1,500 Begonia semperflorens 'Heaven White' plants in each bed, while the background is 21,000 plants of Echeveria imbricate, Senecio serpens and Sedum pachyclados.
Royal Parks staff applaud the NHS's 72 birthday next to the flowerbeds. (PA Images)
Note to eds: pixelation on Buckingham Palace rooftop as supplied from original source. An aerial view of two specially created 12 x 5 metre flowerbeds in front of Buckingham Palace in the Memorial Gardens in St James's Park as a tribute to the 72nd anniversary of the NHS. The letters are made up of 1,500 Begonia semperflorens 'Heaven White' plants in each bed, while the background is 21,000 plants of Echeveria imbricate, Senecio serpens and Sedum pachyclados.
An aerial view of two specially created flowerbeds in front of Buckingham Palace. (PA Images)
Note to eds: This picture is a stitched panorama. An aerial view of two specially created 12 x 5 metre flowerbeds in front of Buckingham Palace in the Memorial Gardens in St James's Park as a tribute to the 72nd anniversary of the NHS. The letters are made up of 1,500 Begonia semperflorens 'Heaven White' plants in each bed, while the background is 21,000 plants of Echeveria imbricate, Senecio serpens and Sedum pachyclados.
IT's the first time the beds have been changed in decades. (PA images)

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Mark Wasilewski, St James’s Park manager, said: “We believe it’s the first change of design to the Memorial Gardens in decades, perhaps since the First World War when the flowerbeds were planted with potatoes.

“We wanted the flowerbeds to replicate the colours of the NHS, so the letters are formed of white begonias against a blue background of drought-resistant succulents.”

The letters are made up of 1,500 Begonia semperflorens 'Heaven White' plants in each bed, while the background is 21,000 plants of Echeveria imbricate, Senecio serpens and Sedum pachyclados

The arrangement will stay in place until mid-September when it will be replanted with 50,000 yellow wallflowers and red tulips for spring.

An aerial view of one of two specially created 12 x 5 metre flowerbeds in front of Buckingham Palace in the Memorial Gardens in St James's Park as a tribute to the 72nd anniversary of the NHS. The letters are made up of 1,500 Begonia semperflorens 'Heaven White' plants in each bed, while the background is 21,000 plants of Echeveria imbricate, Senecio serpens and Sedum pachyclados.
The letters are made up of 1,500 Begonia semperflorens 'Heaven White' plants in each bed, while the background is 21,000 plants of Echeveria imbricate, Senecio serpens and Sedum pachyclados. (PA Images)
Royal Parks staff applaud the NHS's 72 birthday behind one of two specially created 12 x 5 metre flowerbeds in front of Buckingham Palace in the Memorial Gardens in St James's Park. The letters are made up of 1,500 Begonia semperflorens 'Heaven White' plants in each bed, while the background is 21,000 plants of Echeveria imbricate, Senecio serpens and Sedum pachyclados.
The new design is the first change in decades. (PA images)
Royal Parks staff applaud the NHS's 72 birthday behind one of two specially created 12 x 5 metre flowerbeds in front of Buckingham Palace in the Memorial Gardens in St James's Park. The letters are made up of 1,500 Begonia semperflorens 'Heaven White' plants in each bed, while the background is 21,000 plants of Echeveria imbricate, Senecio serpens and Sedum pachyclados.
The design was completed in time for the NHS's anniversary on Saturday. (PA Images)
An aerial view of two specially created 12 x 5 metre flowerbeds in front of Buckingham Palace in the Memorial Gardens in St James's Park as a tribute to the 72nd anniversary of the NHS. The letters are made up of 1,500 Begonia semperflorens 'Heaven White' plants in each bed, while the background is 21,000 plants of Echeveria imbricate, Senecio serpens and Sedum pachyclados.
The Memorial Gardens outside Buckingham Palace, which will have this design until September. (PA Images)

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Rob Dowling, assistant manager at St James’s Park, said: “We have a long tradition of commemorating events and major occasions through the use of carpet bedding. For the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, a 3D crown was planted in St James’s Park, but this is the first time we have done this in the Memorial Gardens.

“We hope it demonstrates how special the NHS is to the Royal Parks and is just a small token of our appreciation for all their hard work and dedication this year, and every year.”

The Queen is not currently staying at Buckingham Palace, having travelled to Windsor Castle in March for Easter Court, and staying in isolation since then.

She would usually be in Scotland at this time of year, for the Holyroodhouse Garden Party, but that has been cancelled.

It’s not known for certain if she will be able to head to her Scottish home of Balmoral for her annual summer break.