Hampton Court Palace and Palace Het Loo in the Netherlands have embarked upon an exciting new project that will see historic plant varieties exchanged between the two related palaces.
During the 17th century, William III and Mary II transported a large number of rare and exotic plants from their palaces in the Netherlands to their new English palaces at Hampton Court and Kensington in order to embellish these palaces and their beautiful new gardens that were being transformed in the new Baroque style by the royal couple.
The first exchange has seen twelve variegated standard holly trees that have derived from William III’s Privy Garden of 1702, sent to the palace gardens of Palace Het Loo. These holly trees will be used to decorate the beautiful Baroque gardens, in particular the King’s Garden, the private garden of William III in Apeldoorn. In return, the gardens at Hampton Court have received 22 rare and historic plants such as Myrtles, Palms, Lantana and Aloe, all of which will be added to our Queen Mary’s 17th century collection of exotic plants.
The next phase of this project will see old 17th century varieties of citrus species, in particular bitter oranges symbolic of ‘The House of Orange’, exchanged. These grafts of some of the original, more than 320 year old, collections of William and Mary, will further cement the excellent connection between our two royal palaces.