New Design for the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace

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The Sunken Garden, with Kensington Palace in the background. Credit: Kensington Palace
The Sunken Garden, with Kensington Palace in the background. Credit: Kensington Palace

NEW DESIGN FOR THE SUNKEN GARDEN AT KENSINGTON PALACE

Thursday 1st July 2021

Ahead of the unveiling of the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace today, details of the newly redesigned Sunken Garden in which the statue will stand have been released.

The Sunken Garden will be the permanent home of the statue and was one of the Princess’s favourite locations. The layout and planting scheme has been designed by Pip Morrison and created by the Gardens and Estates team at Historic Royal Palaces (HRP), led by Deputy Head of Gardens and Estates, Graham Dillamore.

The new design for the garden by Pip Morrison retains the historic structures within a simplified layout of deeper flower borders and a more generous lawn around the pool to create a calmer and more reflective setting for the statue. The planting design features a number of the Princess’s favourite flowers, including forget-me-nots, as well as many other spring and summer blooms in a variety of pastel shades.

Artist's Impression of the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace. Credit: Historic Royal Palaces
Artist’s Impression of the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace. Credit: Historic Royal Palaces

Work on the garden began in October 2019, and since then five gardeners – led by Deputy Head of Gardens and Estates at Historic Royal Palaces, Graham Dillamore – have spent a total of 1,000 hours working on planting. More than 4,000 individual flowers have been planted, including:

• over 200 roses, of five varieties including Ballerina and Blush Noisette
• 100 Forget-me-nots
• 300 tulips, of three varieties including White Triumphator and China Pink
• over 500 lavender plants
• over 100 dahlias
• 50 sweet peas

More than 400m of fine, short cut turf has also been laid.

Pip Morrison, who designed the new layout of the garden, said: “This has been a very special project to work on, as the Sunken Garden was a favourite place of Diana, Princess of Wales. We have worked carefully to ensure that the new layout and planting scheme compliments the statue, providing a calming place for people who visit Kensington Palace to remember the Princess.”

Graham Dillamore, Deputy Head of Gardens and Estates at Historic Royal Palaces, said: “While she was in residence at Kensington Palace, Diana, Princess of Wales regularly admired the changing floral displays in the Sunken Garden and would always stop to talk with me and the other gardeners who cared for it.

“Over three decades later, I’m honoured to have been part of the team preparing the garden for the installation of this statue. We’ve incorporated a number of the Princess’s favourite flowers into the design, and I hope that visitors to the palace and gardens will enjoy its peaceful setting, and take a moment to reflect on the life and legacy of the Princess.”

The Sunken Garden was created in 1908 at the instigation of King Edward VII, in an area of the palace gardens previously occupied by potting sheds and greenhouses. The layout of the garden takes inspiration from the 17th-century Dutch-style Pond Garden at Hampton Court Palace.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 2017, the garden was temporarily renamed ‘The White Garden’ and planted with flowers in white and soft pastel colours, which took inspiration from items from the Princess’s wardrobe then on display in the palace.

Designed to be viewed from the Cradle Walk, the garden and statue of Diana, Princess of Wales will be free to view during Historic Royal Palaces’ opening hours.