The Queen has discovered a renewed interest in gardening, it has emerged, proving that even at the age of 91, it is never too late to take up a new hobby.
The monarch, who toured the Chelsea Flower Show on Monday alongside the Duke of Edinburgh, was inspired by a garden restoration project at Windsor and has developed an impressive knowledge about plants.
She has taken such an interest in the regeneration of the gardens at Frogmore House that for her 90th birthday last year, her friends gave her plants for the new beds.
And as a result of her new passion, the Queen was said to have been unusually animated while visiting the world famous flower show.
Robert Hillier, chairman of Hillier Nurseries, one of the country’s leading horticultural suppliers, has met the Queen on several occasions but revealed that he was taken aback by her sudden interest and in depth knowledge of the subject.
He said: “She has never shown her knowledge before. We have met many times but suddenly she is so interested in plants and planting.
“She is really thrilled with the way Frogmore is developing. She has now got more ambitious and wants to do a lot more.
“She obviously enjoys going to Chelsea, but in the past she has not been so animated. She has got really into gardening. It’s never too late!”
Lady Elizabeth Anson, who has been overseeing the project, said: “Her knowledge of plants of phenomenal – and she knows the Latin names.”
Frogmore, a Georgian house set in 35 acres inside the Home Park of Windsor Castle, is bursting with tulip trees, redwoods and wisteria. The grounds were designed as an escape for Queen Charlotte, the green-fingered wife of George III, and are rarely open to the public.
Such is the Queen’s love of its lawns, that it has been claimed the five-strong gardening team are not allowed to remove a single tree or shrub without her permission.