Flowerbeds outside Buckingham Palace replanted with NHS tribute

Flowerbeds in front of Buckingham Palace have been redesigned for what is believed to be the first time since the First World War and now feature a tribute to the NHS.

In celebration of the health service’s 72nd birthday, the Royal Parks has created two flowerbeds in front of the Palace which each contain 45,000 white and blue flowers.

The display, located in the Memorial Gardens at St James’s Park, spell out “NHS” in giant letters.

NHS 72nd anniversary
An aerial view of the flowerbeds (The Royal Parks/Greywolf Studios/PA)

The beds are traditionally planted with scarlet geraniums to match the uniforms of the Queen’s Guard, with this year being the first variation of the design for many years.

Mark Wasilewski, St James’s Park manager, said: “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.”

NHS 72nd anniversary
The letters are made up of 1,500 Begonias (The Royal Parks/Greywolf Studios/PA)

The garden tribute will be in place until mid-September when it will be replanted with 50,000 yellow wallflowers and red tulips for spring.

Rob Dowling, assistant 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.”

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