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Our Victorian plant collection

The gardens at Kensington Palace were planted with a special scheme in 2019 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria.

Planting in the Sunken Garden and East Front of the palace included eight plant species and varieties that were all discovered during the Victorian era.

Hear from Head Gardener Gary James as he tells us more about how the planting scheme was created in this short film.

Our eight Victorian varieties

Crinodendron hookerianum

Crinodendron hookerianum was first introduced into this country in 1848 by the plant Hunter and collector William Lobb of Exeter.

Lobb travelled by sea to the rain forests of Chile where he brought back the Chilean lantern tree (Crinodendron hookerianum) and began propagating from it shortly after 1848.

Luma apiculata

Luma apiculata is a native to the central Andes between Chile and Argentina, hence its common name The Chilean myrtle.

It was introduced into Europe by William Lobb in 1844 and at first was only grown in the warmer areas such as Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The Arrayanes National Park in Argentinian is the place to see these wonderful trees, which are said to be over 650 years old.

Tropaeolum Speciosum

Tropaeolum Speciosum is a scrambling creeper that grows in the wild throughout Chile. It was discovered and brought back to England for Queen Victoria by William Lobb in 1845.

Cyrptomeria Japonica

Also known as the Japanese cedar, which can grow up to 180ft, Cyrptomeria Japonica is native to Japan and China. It was in China that Robert Fortune first collected seed and plants, which he bought back to England c1843.

Cornus kousa

Cornus kousa is a small deciduous tree commonly known as the Chinese dogwood or Japanese dogwood.

Ernest Wilson, the famous Victorian plant hunter, was the first to introduce this plant into Great Britain after it first went to Boston in the United States at the end of the 19th century.

Trachycarpus fortunei

Trachycarpus fortunei is also known as Chinese Windmill Palm. It is a tough and hardy evergreen Palm that is native to China, India and Japan.

The German physician Philipp Franz von Siebold brought the plant from Japan to Europe in 1830 but it was not until 1849 that Robert Fortune smuggled plants from China to the Kew Horticultural Gardens and gave them to Prince Albert.

Agave Victoriae Reginae

The French plant collector Victor Considerant, was the first to bring this agave to Europe from Mexico in 1872 but sadly this one and only prize specimen was over watered and died the following winter.

In 1874, Considerant tried again, this time importing 12 plants, the biggest of which was planted in the Jardin des Plants in Paris. As the plant was not yet formally named, it was suggested that it be named in honour of Queen Victoria.

Trachelospermum jasminoides

Trachelospermum jasminoides is also known as the Star Jasmine and was first introduced by the Scottish botanist Robert Fortune who discovered the plant growing wild in southern China.

This climbing plant is also known as the Confederate Jasmine as it was also found cultivated in the southern United States.

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The Palace Gardens

Walk in the footsteps of royalty in the beautiful Kensington Palace gardens.

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Victoria: A Royal Childhood

Discover the story of Princess Victoria, the young girl destined to be queen, in the rooms where she was born and raised at Kensington Palace.

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