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  • Writer's pictureHelen

"Charles, is that a vegetable patch"?

Right at the heart of London is a very special, beautifully tended garden where vegetables and fruit are grown in view of Buckingham Palace! At the far end of the oldest Royal Park (St James's) near Horse Guard's Parade is a little gem. Duck Island Cottage (now HQ to London Parks and Gardens Trust) has runner beans, raspberries, potatoes and courgettes amongst the crop for 2022 in the cottage garden. There's also an insect hotel and some stunningly colourful flowers.

Around 500 years ago, St James's Park was a swampy wetland hosting a hospital for female lepers where St James’s Palace stands today. King Henry VIII drained and landscaped the park for the first time, creating a deer park; King James I kept a menagerie including camels, crocodiles, an elephant and aviaries of exotic birds along what is now Birdcage Walk. Pelicans were first introduced in the 1660s and a group still live in the park today. Stroll around this historic space and admire the gorgeous landscaping and gardens of John Nash, architect to the Prince Regent.

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