The Duchess of Cambridge made a return to royal duties today, following the summer break. Catherine made a previously-unannounced visit to RHS Garden Wisley’s ‘Back To Nature’ festival, where she officially opened her ‘Back To Nature’ garden.
This garden is the last of three that were designed by the Duchess, with the help of architecture firm Davies White. The first garden appeared at the Chelsea Flower Show in May and the second at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in July. Unlike the previous two gardens, this one will be a permanent fixture at Wisley.
The final Back To Nature garden features elements from the previous two gardens, like the hollow log from Chelsea and the wildflower meadow and rolling hill from Hampton Court. New features include two connected treehouses and slides. This garden is bigger than the other two, and more child-friendly. It’s main aim is to encourage families and friends to have fun together in a natural environment.
Kate was joined by Royal Horticultural Society ambassador, Mary Berry, for the festival. She also invited schoolchildren, charities and organisations who have helped her with her work in the field of early years to join them. They were all seeing having a blast as they got a lift on a tractor – not something you would expect to see a Duchess travel on!
Kate was first taken on a tour by Matthew Pottage, curator of RHS Garden Wisely, before she planted a weeping blue cedar tree to formally mark the opening of her garden. She then toured the wider festival, where she watched toddlers trying their luck at a coconut shy, joined youngsters for some art and spoke to various children and their parents.
The Duchess of Cambridge, who was seen with a black folder, then addressed those in attendance. She began her speech by thanking those present for attending before she went on to tell them: “I am not as green fingered as many of you here, but I was passionate about creating a garden that inspired children and adults alike to get back to nature and reap the positive mental and physical health benefits that it can bring. The gardens were, I suppose, a manifestation of some of the work I have been focusing on around how best we can support our children in the earliest years.”
Sue Biggs, Director General of the Royal Horticultural Society spoke about Catherine’s collaboration with them, saying: “We are grateful to the duchess for the incredible impact that this Back to Nature collaboration has had. There is no doubt that this project, through her passion and vision, has highlighted that access to natural environments and green spaces isn’t just a nice to have, it’s vital to have.
“This is something that the RHS also strongly believes in and will continue to champion through our Greening Great Britain Campaign and charitable work.”
Members of the public can visit the latest ‘Back To Nature’ garden all year round.