Getting Outside

HRH The Duchess of Cambridge has co-designed a garden for the Royal Horticultural Society at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, did you get the chance to see it?

The RHS Back to Nature Garden has been designed by The Duchess of Cambridge and award-winning landscape architects Andree Davies and Adam White, of Davies White Landscape Architects. The Garden is a woodland setting for families and communities. It encourages those from all backgrounds to connect with nature and enjoy growing plants for their health and wellbeing.

In a World that seems to speed along at break neck speed, getting into the garden and gaining a sense of connection through horticulture is seen by many as a form of therapy. Being wholly absorbed in an activity – taking in the immediacy of the environment – enables me personally to lose the frenetic noise of a busy world and I enjoy nothing better than digging over the kitchen garden with my daughter and planting seeds that will (hopefully) grow into vegetables and be on our plates in a few months. Recent research carried out by the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) showed that 79% of us believe that access to a garden is essential for quality of life. So hats off to Kate as she promotes getting outside at Chelsea Flower Show this year.

Asides from the fact Kate chose to use reclaimed timber from Southend Pier (we are keen recyclers too!), rhubarb featured! If you’ve been following our posts, you’ll know we love a great rhubarb recipe.

We are a lucky family – we have a large garden. One of the reasons we chose to buy this house was the acre plot that surrounds the property and it was one of the best house purchasing decisions we ever made. As our family grows we have been able to enjoy the outdoors without having to get in the car and drive to a wood. We have pottered around with a vision in our head of how we want the garden to look but rather than try to create an award wining garden immediately we have enjoyed just getting out into the fresh air, getting our hands dirty, growing some fruit and vegetables and watching pretty flowers grow. It is great exercise, mentally invigorating and something we can do as a family. This would have sounded very strange to my younger self when I was a city dweller surrounded by grey concrete, “who needs a garden? The pub has one!” Now the garden is my favourite place to be.

My wife and I had the pleasure of working with an amazing garden designer – Ula Maria – who has designed a garden for us, which we are slowly building ourselves. The focus was on creating spaces that would encourage us to be outside more and more. An outside kitchen and dining room would draw us out to sit with friends, the kitchen garden would encourage us to be self-sustaining and the natural swimming pool make us want to take a fresh morning dip. But most importantly the lawn areas are there for games with children, trees for climbing and an orchard for building dens.

We are thrilled that Kate Middleton is encouraging more families to get out into the garden – it definitely makes us feel good.