Duchess of Cambridge co-designs ‘Back to Nature’ outdoor garden for Chelsea Flower Show

The Duchess of Cambridge has helped design a garden for the Chelsea Flower Show later this year, drawing inspiration from her love of the outdoors nurtured as a child.

With the intention of motivating families to get out and enjoy nature, the Duchess, Andree Davies, Adam White, and the Royal Horticultural Society have joined forces to create a breathtaking wilderness garden for the Chelsea Flower Show. The overall inspiration for this enchanting children’s paradise is delightful memories from a childhood happily spent outdoors.

Duchess of Cambridge, Andree Davies, Adam White and @The_RHS plan Back to Nature Garden (Photo Kensington Palace)

Kensington Palace has shared that the garden will ‘highlight the benefits of the natural world on our mental and physical wellbeing’.

With the hope of encouraging people to create new experiences together outdoors, every single feature in the garden has its own unique purpose. Tree stumps, a hollow log and stepping stones will help to sharpen children’s strength, co-ordination and balance. The display will also include edible fruit and vegetable plants for the children to try, in addition to the natural essences from the forest that will  engage the children’s senses.

To add to one’s sense of adventure, a campfire, a den, as well as a stag horn oak treehouse resembling a bird’s nest, are also included in the magical forest. Children will be able to paddle and play with delight in the waterfall and build dams in stream running through the garden, thus encouraging the children’s imaginative spirit. Another additional area will be devoted to crafts that the children will create with plants.

Rendering of the new “Back to Nature” garden exhibit (Photo courtesy of Kensington Palace)

It is hoped that the garden will highlight how beneficial all aspects of the natural world are on one’s mental and physical wellbeing.

Along with memories from childhood, it is said that The Duchess of Cambridge was additionally influenced by her home, Anmer Hall and wanted to create an enchanting area that she felt Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis would really adore.

Catherine was hoping to incorporate some of her children’s favourite outdoor playthings into this special project, one of which is a replica of the Cambridge children’s den in the Anmer Hall woodlands. It is well known that the Duchess strongly advocates for the positive impact that nature and the environment can have on a child’s development. A number of her current projects focus on this.

Duchess of Kate discussing “Back to Nature” garden. ( Photo courtesy of Kensington Palace)

The Chelsea Flower Show takes place for five days in May, hosted by the Royal Horticultural Society in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in Chelsea. Now in its 107th year, the show helps showcase the beauty of plants, in the belief that gardeners make the world a better place

Kate was described by her co-creator, Adam White, as extremely involved with the project. Mr. White said that the Duchess came up with the though of using a Japanese idea called ‘forest bathing’, which is when even office workers in Japan go outside on their lunch breaks and go into the woods to relax and refresh. He said that Kate felt that it would be something special to incorporate into the garden’s design.

“Back to Nature” garden (Photo courtesy of Kensington Palace)

Andree Davies shared: “She is very hands on, model making, emailing images, coming up with all ideas that we want to capture. She would often bring a folder of cuttings with her full of ideas.

“The Duchess was very keen to use natural materials, has a clear idea of the colour palette she wants and her desire to incorporate the natural elements.”

One interesting note is that during their discussions about what to incorporate in the design, all three co-creators realised that they had read the same book, Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv and the idea raised from the book about a “nature deficit disorder”, was one that they all wanted to change.

Not just for children to enjoy, the ‘Back to Nature’ garden will hopefully encourage all age groups to embrace the joys of nature and reconnect with the world around them. Perhaps some families will even decide to incorporate a bit of gardening into their own daily lives. Growing fruit and vegetable plants is not only an enjoyable experience but a healthy one as well. One cannot put a price on the special and incredible family memories that can be created together, nor the benefits mentally and physically acquired by spending time in the outdoors.

Share this

1 comment

Yumiko Kokuryu Tue 12 February, 2019 - 12:03 am

I am very impressed with duchess of cambridge’s expertise in mental health and physical wellbeing’ on the back of her love of nature.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.