Measuring 12 metres by 5 metres, each flowerbed spells out NHS in giant letters that can be enjoyed by park visitors, and even viewed from the sky. The special flowerbeds are located in the iconic setting of the Memorial Gardens, that is part of St James’s Park, and sits in front of Buckingham Palace.
Every summer, the Memorial Gardens are planted with 22,500 plants grown in the Hyde Park Nursery. One of the plants included in the annual design is scarlet geraniums, selected to match the tunics of The Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace. This year marks the first variation of the design in decades.
Mark Wasilewski, Park Manager at St James’s Park, explains: “We believe it’s the first change of design to the Memorial Gardens in decades, perhaps since the First World War when the flowerbeds were planted with potatoes. We wanted the flowerbeds to replicate the colours of the NHS, so the letters are formed of white begonias, against a blue background of drought resistant succulents. Happy birthday to the NHS and thank you for everything you do.”
Rob Dowling, Assistant Park Manager at St James’s Park, said: “We have a long tradition of commemorating events and major occasions through the use of carpet bedding. For the Diamond Jubilee in 2012, a 3D crown was planted in St James’s Park, but this is the first time we have done this in the Memorial Gardens. We hope it demonstrates how special the NHS is to The Royal Parks and is just a small token of our appreciation for all their hard work and dedication this year, and every year.”
The NHS flowerbeds, will be in situ until mid-September. Following this the Memorial Gardens will be filled with 50,000 yellow wallflowers and red tulips, ready for next spring.