Britain’s Queen Elizabeth is taking a cue from First Lady Michelle Obama. The 83-year old monarch is growing her own vegetables at the London royal residence, Buckingham Palace. This is the first time since World War II that a vegetable patch has adorned the palace grounds. The garden, which is at the back of a large, 40-acre plot, shares the space with a helicopter landing pad, a four-acre lake and a tennis court, in addition to 30 species of birds and more than 350 different wild flowers – some extremely rare.
The vegetables selected for the garden include an endangered variety of a climbing French bean called “Blue Queen” from the Heritage Seed Collection, as well as potatoes, lettuce, leeks, tomatoes, onions and beetroot. All plants will be grown without chemicals, using traditional methods to deter pests.
According to the BBC, the garden is the brainchild of deputy head gardener, Claire Midgeley, but one can only speculate that perhaps Mrs. Obama’s green thumb has rubbed off on the Queen. Since the two women met at the G-20 summit in April, they’ve shared common interests – fashion, family and gardening – and have kept in touch through letters, phone calls and visits.
Midgley told ABC News that this project should help encourage gardening and inspire people to start growing their own vegetables. ”We’re trying to promote growing your own food, vegetables, getting families and children involved, getting their hands dirty to create and grow food so that they can have a meal,” she said. “It’s a growing movement throughout the country and we’re just hoping to encourage that.”
As with the harvest from the White House vegetable garden, the produce picked from the royal garden will be used to feed the Queen’s family and guests.