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The changing face of gardening

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Gardening is changing rapidly, but not everywhere. And maybe that isn't a bad thing – we have some traditional practices to let us see where we've been, coupled with plenty of innovation to show us a better way into a green future.

Yesterday was the first garden party of the summer for Queen Elizabeth. These events date back at least till the mid-1800s.

The 2008 version wasn’t just a few scones and a cuppa with friends, but 8,000 invitees, all of whom would love to have chatted with the queen personally but recognized that few would be able to.

Everyone got to wander the 42-acre grounds of Buckingham Palace, admiring the profusion of plants, walking some of the 2-1/2 miles of gravel paths, and downing a few cups of tea (28,000 are usually served), a slice or two of cake (20,000), and a couple of sandwiches (20,000).

I’ve always been fascinated by the hats women wear to the queen’s garden parties and even wrote a column about it once, Shrinking violets blossom under hats.

A garden party with the queen is the kind of event that’s fun to dream about. if you're a gardener and an Anglophile. I'd be fascinated to see the mulberry tree that dates back to the 1600s.

And, of course, I'd really like to have eight to 11 gardeners doing my bidding! That's a tradition I could grow used to (providing I had Queen Elizabeth's exchequer, of course)!

The new wave is represented by New York City's latest – and, according to an architecture critic – quirkiest park.

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