Green-fingered Kate is designing her THIRD children’s garden to encourage families to explore the natural world after her success at the Chelsea Flower Show
- The new garden will be opened in the autumn at RHS Wisley, Surrey
- Treehouses, tunnels, slides, fireman’s poles and climbing blocks will feature
- ‘Gardening brings people of all ages together,’ according to the RHS
It will be an enchanting children’s paradise where families can play together as they explore the natural world.
This is the idea behind a garden being created by the Duchess of Cambridge for the Royal Horticultural Society’s site at Wisley, Surrey – her third and grandest project to date.
While plans have yet to be finalised, among the ideas being considered are living structures made from willow that provide shade, and a place for children to retreat for some peace and quiet.
‘Capability Kate’: She has earned the nickname for her ability to turn her hand to coming up with great garden ideas
Kate has previously created gardens for this year’s Chelsea and Hampton Court flower shows. She has now been jokingly dubbed ‘Capability Kate’, after the celebrated 18th Century landscape architect Capability Brown.
The Wisley garden, co-designed with award-winning landscape architects Andree Davies and Adam White, who also worked with the Duchess on the Chelsea and Hampton Court schemes, will be opened in the autumn and will eventually become a permanent fixture at Wisley.
Like Kate’s previous two gardens, it has been conceived to inspire families to get outside and explore nature together.
It is likely to feature two treehouses, tunnels, slides, fireman’s poles and climbing blocks.
Splashing around: Prince George and Princess Charlotte play in the water and the Duke of Cambridge lets Prince Louis explore the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London
The garden will include a special sculpture made from natural materials designed by the winner of a Blue Peter competition.
The Duchess has been working with the two designers for more than a year to make the meticulously detailed creations. Mr White said: ‘There are certain things that children love – swinging, sliding and tunnels – all of which we hope to include.
‘These projects, from Chelsea through to Wisley, are gradually becoming more interactive.’
Recalling the initial design discussions with the Duchess, he said: ‘We went to the Palace, sat down, had a slice of cake and a cup of tea, and talked about our memories of childhood and nature.
‘We got a big piece of paper and started scribbling down words relating to our memories of time in nature, and the memories of our friends and families.
‘We couldn’t get it all in a garden at Chelsea, so we picked out the ones that worked, and then – as Hampton was bigger – we looked at the sheet of paper again.’
Explaining how much continuity there will be through all three gardens, Ms Davies said: ‘The same trees that were in Chelsea were showcased at Hampton and will be at Wisley, the permanent home.
New fixture: The garden will be a permanent fixture at RHS Wisley in Woking, Surrey
‘We’ve chosen trees that have character and personality – not the lollipop trees that you normally get at a nursery.
‘The gardens were designed for children. We want children to engage with the trees and plants, so we chose things that are pretty tough – if they get a bit of trampling, that’s fine.
‘We’d like it if children pick the flowers, the daisies, because we want them to feel connected to them. All the other plants that we’ve chosen are woodland species – there is a lot of texture with a green colour palette.’
A spokesman for the Royal Horticultural Society said: ‘Gardening brings people of all ages together to connect with nature in a hugely positive way, which is good for their health and the environment.
‘RHS Garden Wisley has long been a destination for families to come and spend time together, enjoying the benefits of being outdoors around plants and the natural world.
‘Nearly 20,000 school pupils visit Wisley every year, so it’s especially wonderful that it will become a permanent, much-loved feature in one of the world’s most famous gardens, for families to play in and enjoy for years to come.’