The Duchess of Cornwall shares trick to protect her ‘special’ Dahlias in winter

Gardeners World: Monty Don's advice on topiary

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During a tour of Monty Don’s garden in Longmeadow in Herefordshire, The Duchess shared a few of her favourite plants – with Delphiniums, Lupins and Dahlias among her top choice.

Referring to the Dahlias, she said: “I grow quite a lot of them,” with ‘Black Knight’ a fond variety of hers.

“It grows and grows; I deadhead them. Once I went away and came back and it was the same size as me,” she said.

To protect them during winter, she told Monty that she takes them indoors.

While out in the garden, The Duchess said she enjoys taking in the scent of the flowers.

Reflecting on the orange blossom, she said: “That to me is a sign that spring is upon us and everything is getting better.”

“I just love being outside and smelling everything,” added Camilla.

During the tour, The Duchess told Monty that the garden was her “sanctuary”, adding: “A couple of hours in the garden, and all is well with the world.”

Admitting that horticulture was a constant learning process, she said: “The thing about gardening is you’re never going to know it all.”

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Later in the show, Camilla praised the role of gardening which she said had become a “spiritual experience” for many people throughout the pandemic and had embarked on a project to develop a woodland garden.

The Duchess spoke of the problem with mice and voles in her garden. She told Monty how the rodents had targeted the asparagus roots in the vegetable patch, along with a crop of strawberries.

 “I’m very lucky I’ve got a big vegetable garden, but you get the mice; the voles this year all ate the asparagus roots and then they got into the strawberries, so you can never win, there’s always something,” she told Monty.

In response, Monty said: “I think you just have to accept that there are some things that are just not going to go for you this year, whatever it might be.”

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While Prince Charles and Camilla are known to have a penchant for gardening, the Duchess highlighted the benefits it has had in boosting people’s wellbeing during the pandemic.

“I think gardens got people through Covid,” she said. “They realised how special a garden was and what they could do with it.

 “They could become inventive, even if they hadn’t before, they could start growing vegetables.`’

Reflecting on the therapeutic qualities gardening offers to many people, The Duchess said: “It was a sort of a spiritual experience for them, they discovered a sort of affinity with the soil – you can go into a garden, and you can completely lose yourself.

 “You don’t have to think about anything else, you’re surrounded by nature, you’ve got birds singing, you’ve got bees buzzing about, there is something very healing about gardens.”

Sharing plans for her own garden project, The Duchess said: “I’ve got a little bit of a woodland garden that I’ve started, and I would love to build that up more.

 “I would love to put down swathes of bulbs, and I would also like to have a proper wildflower meadow.

“At the moment I’ve got a bit, but the grass has sort of taken over and we’re going to have another go this year of planting more seeds, because I think, especially now, it’s even more important to have these wildflowers if we’re going to keep on attracting butterflies and bees.”

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