Saturday, June 20, 2009

My dogs have the back yard pretty dug up at the moment, but I hear from my readers that more homegrown gardens went in this year...even the Royals.

Queen turns corner of palace backyard into an allotment

For the first time since the war, fruit and vegetables are to be found in an allotment-sized plot in the gardens of Buckingham Palace. True, the yield will not be sufficient wholly to sustain the royal family and palace staff, while having a 39-acre back garden negates the inconvenience of allotment waiting list times of up to 40 years in some London boroughs.

But from now on, token quantities of fresh tomatoes, beans, onions, leeks, carrots and other homegrown produce will be transported to the palace kitchen.

The first harvest - a selection of Cambridge Favourite strawberries - was served to the Queen and Prince Philip, on his 88th birthday last week.

She is not the first head of state to highlight frugality in these cash-strapped times. Barack Obama has put his wife in charge of a White House herb and vegetable patch, though the Queen's plans are said to have been devised long before the president's inauguration.

Called the Yard Bed, Buckingham Palace's 4x10 metre plot is in a challenging, north-facing area to the garden's rear, tight up against the Gardeners' Yard. MORE TO THE STORY:

"Not ideal, but it is the only open space available, because everything is so landscaped," admitted deputy gardens manager Claire Midgley, 32, one of eight gardeners at the palace.

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