The Queen’s mulberries

That would be the British Queen. And yes, she has mulberry trees. A collection of them, believe it or not. On the grounds of Buckingham Palace, no less. Thanks to Sophie Leguil for pointing me to the story, which is absolutely fascinating, and which you can read in full on the Official Website of the British Monarchy.

Here’s how the story starts, just to whet your appetite:

In 1608 King James I had a Mulberry Garden planted on an area of approximately 17,500 square yards to the north of the present Palace in an attempt to foster the cultivation of silk worms, which had been successful on the continent.

And here’s how it ends:

The collection was awarded provisional National Collection status in October 2002 and granted Full Status in August 2005. Most of the collection is housed at Buckingham Palace whilst a few are held at Kensington Palace and Marlborough House. The mirror collection at the Royal Gardens, Windsor is performing well with good growth all round.

The number of taxa planted in the various gardens is now 35, made up of 9 species (inc. subspecies) and 24 cultivars. The new accession this year has been Morus mongolica received from John Fielding. All plants in the collection are currently labelled distinctly with the Plant Heritage logo to identify the individual specimens in the collection.

But really the fun bit is in between, so do read the whole thing. So many questions arise. Do I write to the HM The Queen if I want seeds, or a cutting? Is she the one to sign the MTA? What descriptors does she use, and are the data online? Does Prince Charles insist on organic management of the trees, and on selling the produce at exorbitant prices? And why is her collections not in WIEWS?

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