Festivities in connection with celebrating Queen Elisabeth’s Platinum Jubilee in Britain is well underway. A great occasion for me to convey some pics from a visit to Hampton Court Palace some years ago. This was once the home of the mighty Henry VIII and his entourage. For me, seeing the huge(!) kitchen in the palace told a story in itself, food was no doubt a major focal point here. But really I did come for the gardens, which are equally impressive. Perhaps not quite on par with Versaille, but still, the gardens @ Hampton Court Palace tell a grand story.
The green space surrounding the palace 500 years ago mainly comprised hunting grounds. There was, however, also a Privy (Private) Garden which contained flowers and herbs that were available in sixteenth century England. There were also brass sundials and sculptures of heraldic beasts used by the King to represent his lineage and reinforce his claim to the throne. Henry VIII also had an orchard on the grounds.
Subsequent monarchs put their own mark on the gardens, changing design in line with the current garden fashions. William III & Mary II worked Baroque influences such as a maze and sophisticated broderie design. Over time the design became less formal. For example, the yews and hollies were retained but were no longer clipped into shape and the statuary was removed.
The Privy Garden was restored between 1992 and 1995 at which point the original layout of the was revealed. What you see today is a restoration of William III‘s baroque Privy Garden of 1702. In all the gardens at Hampton Court Palace comprise 60 acres of formal gardens and 750 acres (304 hectares) of parkland, all set within a loop of the River Thames.