Queen Elizabeth's Balmoral: All About Her Scottish Castle Hideaway in Fall

On Friday, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles added a new tree — this one commemorating her upcoming Platinum Jubilee — to the countless number across her 50,000-acre estate

The Queen on horse looking to Balmoral
Queen Elizabeth. Photo: Lichfield/Getty

The changing of the season saw Queen Elizabeth plant a new tree at her Balmoral Castle estate on Friday.

It was an important milestone, kicking off a period of planting that the royals hoped will be replicated across the U.K. in the lead-up to her upcoming Platinum Jubilee next year.

The colors of fall were evident from miles around as the Queen, 95, and Prince Charles, 72, planted the symbolic tree. "The mixed mature deciduous trees and shrubs show off their vibrant colors," at this time of year, the castle's head gardener Brian Corr tells PEOPLE Royals.

"The orange, yellow and red tints of the natural groups and specimens of maples, oaks, limes, aspen and birch further enhance the idyllic landscapes of the Balmoral Castle gardens and grounds," he adds.

Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle. Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty

The royal family has been coming to the castle, set amid the majestic Cairngorm mountains, for 170 years. The Queen, who has been at the estate since late July, "takes a keen interest in all aspects of the estate and gardens, and often comments on their beauty when in residence," says Corr.

During her time in Scotland, Queen Elizabeth has been entertaining family and friends as she keeps up with work, reading the documents in her red boxes and conducting meetings with government ministers and her advisers.

<a href="https://people.com/tag/queen-elizabeth/" data-inlink="true">Queen Elizabeth</a> II and Prince of Wales
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles and local schoolchildren. PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

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Much of the food that the family eats — and the flowers that decorate their rooms — comes from the magnificent kitchen garden to the south of the Castle and its grand greenhouses. "There is a particular magic to Balmoral gardens in autumn as during this this time the vegetables are mature and ready for final harvesting," Corr tells PEOPLE. "There is something very personal and rewarding about harvesting the vegetables, knowing they will be used by the Queen and the royal family when they are in residence at Balmoral."

He adds, "The garden operates on organic principles and operates a no-dig policy. At the end of the growing season, the vegetable plots are covered with compost created from the waste vegetable matter from the garden." They also use biological methods to combat the pests like whiteflies, aphids and mealy bugs at bay, while they use pest and disease resistant varieties of vegetables."

Giuseppe Masci/AGF/UIG/Getty Images.

As well as the majestic trees, there are late flowering annuals can be seen in the flower borders and late flowering herbaceous perennials such as the Rudbeckia flower late into the autumn months, Corr reports.

"You get a real sense of spirit of the place when visiting the gardens at Balmoral Castle," he adds.

For more exclusive royal insights, including glamorous photos and even a glimpse inside the Queen's purse, pick up PEOPLE Royals' fall issue, out now!

Royals quarterly Fall 2021

Staying on the estate and visiting the castle, when the family is not in residence, can be arranged via the website.

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