Buckingham Palace's head gardener reveals how to keep your plants alive at home

Pool/Anwar Hussein Collection/Getty ImagesThe Queen’s resident gardening expert shared advice on Twitter.
  • Mark Lane, Buckingham Palace’s Head Gardener, answered people’s questions about how to properly grow all sorts of flowers and plants.
  • Lane, who has been the palace’s resident gardening expert for 28 years, shared his advice on the Royal Family’s official Twitter account on Friday as part of the UK’s National Gardening Week.
  • His gardening hacks included placing mulch on flower beds to reduce stray weeds, and picking the right plants to thrive in shady conditions.
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It’s not every day that employees of Buckingham Palace share their expertise or offer a glimpse into what it’s really like to work for the royal family.

In honour of National Gardening Week, the Queen’s resident garden expert, Mark Lane, shared his gardening knowledge on Twitter in a Q&A session on Friday.

While the Queen’s annual garden parties are on hold this year, the flowers around the palace seem to be in full bloom, according to a gallery of photos posted by the royal family.

Lane, who has served as the Head Gardener at Buckingham Palace for 28 years, answered questions from Twitter users about everything from managing bothersome weeds that have taken over a yard, to picking the right flowers that will thrive in various conditions.

There’s a special art to cutting and re-planting flowers, Lane said

One user asked Lane about the best way to re-plant a couple camellia flowers so they could grow in a more visible part of a garden.

Lane said that the process is best done in early summer.

“Cut a tip of new growth, about 15 centimeters long, just below a node (where leaves grow). Remove the bottom leaves,” Lane wrote. “Apply rooting powder and insert into a damp, sandy compost. Cover with a plastic bag or spray with water occasionally. Place on heated bench.”

Lane suggested a number of flowers that thrive in shaded areas, including geraniums and violas

“Can you suggest some flowering plants, suitable for a small garden and attractive to insects, which will thrive if grown in a north-facing border which gets little or no direct sunlight?” one user asked in a tweet to the gardening expert.

Lane responded with a number of suggestions.

“For a shadier area, why not try lamprocapnos, astrantia, campanula, geranium, heuchera, viola, hosta, tricyrtis, pulmonaria, ajuga, and tiarella,” Lane wrote.

For shaded areas with damp soil, Lane said that hellebore, astilbe, hosta, and ivy could thrive in those conditions.

“My second thought would be to look at ferns,” he wrote.

Geraniums growing in window boxesAlbert Ceolan / De Agostini Picture Library via Getty ImagesGeraniums flowering in window boxes.

Lane offered advice about how to grow berries, specifically strawberries

Lane wrote that strawberries would be an ideal berry to grow indoors, as long as they have first spent time growing outdoors in a colder condition.

“Strawberries would work best, but they need a cold period outdoors before coming in to flower and fruit,” Lane wrote. “Indoors, always look out for pests and diseases, and where possible, provide free-moving air.”

He also listed flowers that thrive with west-facing, late-day sun

“I would recommend astrantia, alchemilla, lysimachia, epimedium, lamprocapnos, euphorbia, thalictrum, heranium, heuchera, gillenia, persicaria, aruncus and lythrum; to name but a few,” Lane wrote in response to a user’s question.

Lythrum flowers gardeningParoli Galperti/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty ImagesLythrum.

Adding mulch to flower beds could reduce the growth of weeds, Lane said

One Twitter user asked Lane about how to stop weeds from growing and spreading in a garden or yard.

“Firstly, you should identify which type of weeds you have,” Lane wrote.

“Annual weeds can simply be pulled up when young, but perennial weeds will need digging out to remove the roots,” Lane continued. “You could try mulching the beds to reduce weed growth.”

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