The RHS Garden, co-designed by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge for the world-famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show (21-25 May 2019), sponsored by M&G Investments, had families and childhood at the heart of its design.
Following the garden at Chelsea, the Duchess has collaborated again with the RHS to publish five activity guides that are intended to inspire young gardeners to engage with gardens and nature and add a touch of Chelsea magic to their own homes.
The step-by-step guides to creating fairy gardens, welly planters, leaf wands, a bug hotel and painted pebbles take inspiration from the garden, co-designed with award-winning landscape architects Andree Davies and Adam White of Davies White Landscape Architects.
The woodland garden was inspired by childhood memories triggered by the natural world and includes a beautifully crafted hollow log for children to climb through, den, waterfall, stream and tree house.
From recycling old toys and boots to creating miniature scenes from their imagination, the activities do not require access to a private garden and are intended to be low cost for families, schools and youth groups.
Alana Cama, Schools and Groups Programme Manager at the Royal Horticultural Society, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to create a series of resources with The Duchess of Cambridge. Children can now take home a slice of the magical RHS Back to Nature Garden
and create special memories with their families in the process.”
About the garden design
Key elements of the garden included a beautifully crafted hollow log for children to climb through, a den, waterfall, stream and tree house.
The tree house formed the centrepiece of the garden and featured a swing seat hanging from the branches, creating a place for children and families to play together. The waterfall and stream also encouraged play – from floating Poohsticks and chasing them along the stream to making dams with stones and sand to attract more wildlife.
Wild trees and shrubs combined with a cool, calm colour palette of green and blue provide an instant 'nature fix' to relax and calm, while the playful and diverse planting included edibles, plants for craft activities and forest scents, ranging from tiny wild strawberries to magnificent trees.
The space wasn't just for people either – the flowers, fruits and seeds provided food for wildlife and nectar for bees and butterflies, while the plants offered nesting sites and shelter for birds and other animals.
Sue Biggs, RHS Director General, said: “We couldn’t be happier with the wonderful design by The Duchess of Cambridge and Andree and Adam for our garden at Chelsea.
“The RHS’s Garden was a beautiful natural space for families to get together, play, dig, grow plants, connect with nature and spend time in the great outdoors – something core to us as a charity to promote, inspire and encourage people to do.
“There were many sensory elements to help children to learn. Active play in the fresh air is also important for a child’s development and getting back to nature has been shown to be good for developing creativity, increasing physical activity and reducing stress.”
RHS partnership with NHS
The RHS Back to Nature Garden was part of the RHS’s partnership with NHS England, which promotes the physical and emotional wellbeing that access to green spaces and gardening provides. After Chelsea, some of the planting and landscaping will go to an NHS Mental Health Trust, as part of a national competition run by the RHS.
Continuing the collaboration and to engage even wider audiences, The Duchess of Cambridge and Davies White will co-design two further RHS Gardens, maintaining many of elements from the Garden at Chelsea, at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival (2-7 July 2019) and RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey, which will open in the autumn later this year.