Spring Flowers Fit for a Royal Wedding

6a01156fa075f4970c01538e18d2a9970bFreelance gardening editor of Country Living, Stephanie Donaldson is also an author of many popular gardening books and co-authored ‘The Elements of Organic Gardening at Highgrove, Clarence House and Birkhall’ with the Prince of Wales.  Chosen for her knowledge of organic gardening and writing skills, Stephanie explains, “For 6 months, I would go along to Highgrove once a month for the day; the morning would be spent with the head gardener who is the Princes right-hand man and then, in the afternoon, I was allowed to walk around the garden on my own.  It was a very special experience and I often had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.”

“The thing I like about Highgrove is that it is very much the Prince’s own personal garden; he has not created it to impress anyone else, he has done and grown what he likes.”

Full of praise for the Prince’s passion for organic gardening, Stephanie continues, “He has also learnt as he has gone along.  He has had fabulous people, like Rosemary Verey, to help along the way but he has still very much taken his own path.  The garden has a real sense of his own personal interests.”

The author’s own love of gardening began at a young age,   “My grandfather introduced me to gardening when I was 5 or 6 with my own little patch of garden next to the greenhouse and spending my teens and early adult life in South Africa, I was always nostalgic for England and it’s plants.  I remember coming back to England at Bluebell time which was so lovely.”

Becoming one of the founder members of WWOOF, took Stephanie along the organic route and also to Mid Wales.  “I met a group of people who took me to work on a communal farm in Lampeter.  I was one of 6 people, including Patrick Holden, whose son now makes Hafod cheese from the same farm.”

The self confessed communicator and avid blogger continues, “ I love sharing what’s happening in the garden  with people which is how my website www.theenduringgardener.com grew.  I just take a photo or write a few lines about something that catches my eye and I think would be nice to share.”

Getting married just a few weeks after the Royal Wedding, Stephanie will be using flowers from her own garden for her wedding and that she thinks the Prince of Wales will be keen for William and Catherine to use flowers from Highgrove.  “There is a beautiful cutting garden there and home-grown flowers are used for as many occasions as possible.  Judging on what’s blooming in my own garden at the moment, I imagine flowers for the Royal Wedding may include lilacs, tulips, lily-of-the-valley, bluebells and maybe even the odd sprig of cow parsley.”

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