The Queen Mother's Garden at Walmer Castle
The Queen Mother was Lord Warden from 1978 until 2002 and a garden was created at Walmer in honour of her 95th birthday, designed by the leading garden designer Penelope Hobhouse. The Queen Mother declared, “I have been given many presents before, but never a garden.”
It is designed along classical lines reflecting Hobhouse's deep interest in Islamic gardens, a tranquil combination of still water, rich planting and cool shade. The elegant arched pavilion is reflected in the rectangular pool and surrounded by deep borders with sculptural plants such as tall, purple headed Cardoons, deep blue Agapanthus, purple Verbena, scented roses and mauve alliums. In the late spring large terracotta pots are full of brightly coloured tulips and the Paul's Scarlet Hawthorn trees round the outside are full of rich red blossom.
The opening of this garden in July 1997 was the first new garden created by English Heritage and proved to be very popular with the public. It sparked off a design programme of other contemporary gardens at English Heritage properties such as Lincoln Medieval Bishop's Palace and The Governor's Garden at Portland Castle.