We woke this morning to death of Queen Elizabeth II and the succession of King Charles III to the throne. Today is an opportunity to reflect on Her Majesty’s horticultural legacy. It is more than plants named in her honour – notably ‘Queen Elizabeth’, a reliable, long-stemmed pink rose that’s much loved as a cut flower, ‘Scarlet Queen Elizabeth’; a vermillion rose that is thorny but vigorous; and Clematis montana ‘Elizabeth’, a lovely, perfumed clematis that’s just coming into bloom in cool climate gardens.
Her Majesty was also known to have loved stately trees and no doubt planted many over her 70-year reign. Her passion for trees was featured in a documentary with Sir David Attenborough, The Queen’s Green Planet.
She initiated The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy in 2015, which aimed to plant 20 million trees around the world. This was followed by The Queen’s Green Canopy (queensgreencanopy.org), which began in May 2021 in the UK in honour of her Platinum Jubilee in 2022. To increase and protect native tree cover, people were being urged to create this ‘special gift’ for the Queen, to mark her 70 years on the throne. The planting was also extended to countries throughout the Commonwealth.
For those wishing to create a living memorial to our long-reigning Monarch, plant a tree in memory as a symbol of caring and supporting our ‘green canopy’ or add one of the flowers named in her honour to your garden.
Annette Irish and Jennifer Stackhouse