Royal gardens' manager reveals his sustainable gardening secrets

The royal gardener cares for the grounds of Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace, both famed for their beautiful grounds

Royal gardens: tips from the manager of Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace
(Image credit: Historic Royal Palaces)

If you've been inspired by royal gardens – in Britain or around the world – you might just like this... 

Graham Dillamore is Gardens Manager at Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that cares for the publicly accessible staterooms and gardens. Maintaining the palaces' spectacular gardens is all in a day’s work for the royal gardener, who is responsible for organizing the grounds of the most eminent properties in the UK. 

He currently manages Kensington Palace gardens (above), which is the home to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Hampton Court, the baroque-style Tudor Palace (below), owned by Queen Elizabeth II and famed for its association with Henry VIII. 

Throughout his years of service, Mr Dillamore has acquired a host of noble tips and secrets which allow him to keep the palace gardens as magnificent as one might expect, all year round. 

We are all becoming increasingly more concerned with living sustainably and preserving the verdant beauty of our gardens for our future selves and upcoming generations, and, as Mr Dillamore explains, the royal gardens are certainly no exception to this. 

See: Garden ideas for borders – for a neat, tidy and decorative look

Royal garden tips, Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace, Royal Family, Sustainability

Hampton Court Palace, Surrey

(Image credit: Historic Royal Palaces)

‘As guardians of landscapes which have witnessed centuries of garden trends come and go, I think it’s important that royal gardens such as those we care for at Hampton Court Palace and Kensington Palace are still in dialogue with their past, have a clear strategy for their future, and avoid the temptation to make significant and regular alterations in order to follow fashions or changing styles,’ Mr Dillamore shared. 

He added: ‘It’s thanks to this gentle intervention that we can still enjoy specimens planted over 300 years ago in our gardens, and this is something that all gardeners – however small their plot – could consider when redesigning or replanting.’

See: Planning a winter garden: 10 inspiring winter garden ideas and expert advice

Royal garden tips, Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace, Royal Family, Sustainability

Hampton Court Palace, Surrey

(Image credit: Historic Royal Palaces)

Then, in his discussion of the sustainability strategy in the most opulent gardens in Great Britain, Mr Dillamore continues: ‘We advocate for, and where possible only purchase plants from growers and suppliers of native plants for use across our sites, and thinking about the origin of the plants we’re buying is an increasing consideration for many of us. We recycle 100% of our green waste, so if you have the space, composting not only saves money but reduces the environmental impact, and all it requires is a bit of patience!’

The Historic Royal Palaces cares for six of the most wonderful palaces and their magnificent gardens in the UK. We look forward to admiring their grandeur once again, just as soon as restrictions allow. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.