She designed it with children in mind, so it was only fitting that the first VIP visitors to the Duchess of Cambridge’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show Garden were her own adorable sons and daughter. Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis all helped to collect moss, leaves and twigs to decorate mum Kate’s Back to Nature garden, and appeared to thoroughly enjoy the results of her hard work during a private visit on Sunday afternoon.
One-year-old Louis, seen walking for the first time in these adorable photographs by Matt Porteous, excitedly brandishes a twig, while his older siblings go barefoot to climb up the waterfall behind him.
A royal source told HELLO! “The Duchess wanted to show her children what she has helped to create. She’s spent a lot of time on this and they have noticed. Naturally she wanted them to try out the garden and its features.”
The Duchess co-designed the RHS Garden at this year’s show alongside award-winning landscape architects Andrée Davies and Adam White and has worked closely with them on the project for the past six months, culminating in its unveiling this week.
Hours before her children visited, Kate joined the gardeners to help with the finishing touches to the woodland setting, which was created for families and communities to come together and connect with nature.
In a statement, Kensington Palace said: “Her Royal Highness is a strong advocate for the proven benefits the outdoors has on physical and mental health, and the positive impact that nature and the environment can have on childhood development in particular.
“Over the past months, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis have helped the Duchess gather moss, leaves and twigs to help decorate the RHS Back to Nature Garden. Hazel sticks collected by the family were also used to make the garden’s den.”
In an interview with celebrity gardener Monty Don for the BBC, Kate said: “I really feel that nature and being interactive outdoors has huge benefits on our physical and mental wellbeing, particularly for young children. I really hope that this woodland that we have created really inspires families, kids and communities to get outside, enjoy nature and the outdoors, and spend quality time together.”
Here, Charlotte and five-year-old George sitting side by side on the bridge and dipping their toes into the stream.Their father the Duke sits in the background apparently showing little Louis the fire pit between two dens built from Hazel branches the family collected themselves.
At the heart of the garden is a nine-tonne treehouse built on a huge chestnut trunk and clad in Staghorn Oak, Larch and Hazel branches. A ladder gives access to a viewing platform over the rest of the garden. Across the boardwalk made of timber from Southend Pier, two dens around a fire pit have been created using Hazel branches collected by the Duke and Duchess and their children.
A waterfall drops into a stream which runs through the garden, while the path leads to a courtyard featuring chairs and tables cut from Cedarwood stumps. The planting was inspired by a bluebell wood and features blue forget-me-nots – the favourite flower of the royal children’s late grandmother Diana, Princess of Wales – geraniums, periwinkle, ajuga and purple astrantia.
There are also edible plants such as wild strawberries, rhubarb, carrots and beetroot, while the trees include pear and cherry trees.
Landscape architect Andrée Davis said: “Because it’s a garden for children, even the planting is designed so it’s suitable for children. Children will come into this garden and if they trample on a few things, that’s fine because we’ve chosen really robust plants that will come back.
“We’ve got plants we can use for craft, a layer of edible plants as well so it’s designed to be multisensory.”
“All three of us wanted to create a garden that anyone that visits or sees it on TV can go, ‘I’d like to create that in the corner of mine,'” said co-designer Adam White. Theses plants are readily available in any garden centre all over the UK and this is how they look right now.”