White Garden tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales opens at Kensington Palace

White Garden tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales opens at Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace gardeners celebrate the life of Diana, Princess of Wales with a temporary White Garden in the palace’s historic Sunken Garden.

April – September 2017

This Easter, a new temporary garden is flowering in the grounds of Kensington Palace, dedicated to Diana, Princess of Wales.  Designed and created by gardeners at Kensington Palace – the garden celebrates Diana’s elegance, vivacity and style with a sea of white flowers, including some of the Princess’s personal favourites.  Located in the palace’s historic Sunken Garden – which the Princess herself admired – the display will bloom for Spring between April and mid-May, with new summer planting being installed in time for June, July and August.

The garden is the brainchild of Sean Harkin, Head Gardener at Kensington Palace, who, along with his team, wanted to celebrate the Princess’s life in the year which marks 20 years since her death in 1997. The location in the Sunken Garden was chosen because members of the team, including Historic Royal Palaces’ Gardens Manager Graham Dillamore, have fond memories of the Princess visiting the garden and enjoying the changing floral displays. They decided to dedicate this year’s display to Diana, Princess of Wales.

The team worked together to research and brainstorm choices of flowers and plants for a spring and summer planting scheme.  A white planting scheme was chosen, to follow in the horticultural tradition established by the famous White Garden at Sissinghurst, as a peaceful, contemplative space, where visitors can reflect on the Princess’s life and legacy.  The team carefully selected flowers and foliage inspired by memories of the Princess’s image and style, researching some of her favourite blooms, to ensure they were included.  12,000 bulbs were planted for the garden last autumn.

Spring planting, which is already flourishing after a mild March, includes a sea of white tulips (varieties include ‘Diana’, ‘Spring Green’, and ‘Purissimus’) , scented hyacinths and daffodils, planted through a swathe of white Forget-me-Nots – a favourite of the Princess.  In Mid-May, the palace gardeners will be hard at work once more, changing over the planting and introducing a new scheme for the Summer season, which is to include a selection of white roses surrounding the garden’s central reflective pool, and beds filled with lilies, gladioli, Cosmos, Gaura and fragrant Nemesia.

Sean Harkin, Head Gardener, Kensington Palace, said,

‘My team and I have been planning this display for over a year, and we’re thrilled it’s now blossoming and ready for the public to visit and enjoy.  As we’ve been working in the garden, many of our palace visitors have stopped to talk to us and share their own memories of Diana, Princess of Wales.  We hope that our garden captures the energy and spirit that made her such a popular figure around the world.’

The Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace was created in 1909, at the instigation of King Edward VII, and laid out in the 17th century Dutch style by Ernest Law, who also designed some of the royal gardens at Hampton Court Palace.  Designed to be looked at as a complete picture from the garden’s surrounding covered ‘Cradle Walk’, the garden is a popular feature amongst visitors to the palace, who, like the Princess once did, still enjoy the gardens team’s colourful changing floral displays. 

The temporary White Garden will be free for public access.  The exhibition, Diana: Her Fashion Story, continues at Kensington Palace until 2019. Please visit the website for opening times and admission prices.

Notes to Editors

A full list of planting in the White Garden is available on the HRP website here:


For further information and images please contact Laura Hutchinson in the Historic Royal Palaces Press Office: laura.hutchinson@hrp.org.uk or telephone: 0203 166 6338.

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