Painting Paradise, and sneaking looks at Buckingham Palace garden through bars….

Now, Writer in the Garden hasn’t been getting out as much as she’d like recently, but when she does, she goes in style.


Last week I went off to the launch of Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace no less. That’s the curator, Vanessa Remington above, who wrote the accompanying book, Painting Paradise which I am still lusting after.

Here’s what she said: ‘The exhibition tells the story of how gardens have developed over time and of the many ways in which they have been valued by their royal owners. From the practical manuals they read to the botanical images they collected, and most of all from the many beautiful images of royal gardens, we can gain a real sense of how each generation of the royal family created their own corner of Paradise.’


And as she says, this is an exhibition about royal gardens first and foremost so I’m sure it will pull the tourists in.


But then it deserves too. I thought it was rather wonderful. So many stories here. Such as this painting of Charles II and his gardener, John Rose, from 1677.


Marvellous handing over of a pineapple there, ALTHOUGH at the time of the painting, no fruit had been successfully raised in Britain. So it was just wishful thinking.

And then there’s the extraordinary Sunflower clock from the Vincennes porcelain factory, c1752…


And what about this Victorian glass chandelier… the writer in the garden likes garden in the home very much indeed!


In particular, these delicate Faberge plants almost floored me with desire…



This one, the celandine, belonged to Vita Sackville-West. From one very royal presence to another…


And there’s the view of Hampton court, c 1704-14, by Leonard Knyff. I’ve only seen it in books during my garden history studies before, but there are so many details – deer, sundials – that you just don’t see unless you look close up.


Those two sundials in front of it are actually featured in the picture. Although so small and dot-ty that you probably would have to take a magnifying glass to see them properly.


What else? Oh yes, these magnificent tulip vases, thought to be the largest ever…


And I did promise a view from behind bars. Here you go, the Queen’s garden seen just outside the gallery…