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Can Kate emulate Charles’s success at the Chelsea Flower Show?



When it was announced that Kate would design the RHS Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, it immediately brought to mind her father-in-law’s passion for gardening and his own garden designs for the Chelsea Flower Show.

According to the palace, Kate’s garden is based on woodland and “seeks to recapture for adults the sense of wonder and magic that they enjoyed as children, in addition to kindling excitement and a passion for nature in future generations.”

Kate’s garden, designed with the Royal Horticultural Society and landscape architects Andree Davies and Adam White, will contain wild planting and natural materials “to recreate a woodland wilderness where children and adults alike can feel closer to the great outdoors.”

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Prince Charles himself designed two winning gardens in 2001 and 2002, winning silver both times. Could Kate follow in his footsteps this May?

In 2001, Prince Charles teamed up with Michael Miller of Clifton Nurseries to create an Islamic Courtyard Garden he called the Carpet Garden.

“After gazing for many years at the patterns and colours of one of the small Turkish carpets in my room at Highgrove, I couldn’t help feeling what fun it would be to use those patterns and colours to create a theme for a garden,” he said at the time.

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The Carpet Garden featured traditional Islamic garden elements including water, shade and perfume; and Prince Charles said that it felt peaceful to be in its midst like it had the essence of running water.

The Carpet Garden was quartered by pathways and featured an octagonal fountain and bowl in the centre.

Miller told the BBC that, “Of all the gardens which I have created for Chelsea over the years, this has been one of the most technically demanding yet fascinating, trying as we have to incorporate as many important elements of Islamic design and garden traditions as possible.”

After the Chelsea Flower Show, the Carpet Garden was transferred to Highgrove.

The following year, Prince Charles worked with Jinny Blom, a garden designer, to create The Healing Garden, a garden they’d been working on for eight months.

The Healing Garden featured 125 varieties of medicinal herbs and shrubs and kitchen plants that help with everything from bruises to stress, according to the BBC.

A spokesperson for Prince Charles said at the time, “[Prince Charles] is a firm believer in the benefits of herbal medicine. Hopefully, this garden will promote a greater understanding of the healing properties of plants, as well as being beautiful in its own right.”

Designed with elements of “sacred geometry and organic architecture,” the 200 square-foot garden was displayed over three terraces: the bottom terrace featured healthy, edible plants such as asparagus, fennel and rosemary; the second terrace featured a pond and medicinal plants, including sweet flag and water lily; and the third terrace featured plants that “in the right hands are good for you and in the wrong hands are not so good for you,” according to Blom, including nightshade.

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Blom told The Telegraph that she and Prince Charles had walked around Highgrove to get inspiration, saying, “The refreshing thing is neither of us have got particularly airy-fairy ideas. The healing stuff is all very practical and useful.

“He has got a strong interest in healing, and he is interested in organic architecture, so really we were looking at making a garden based around those sorts of concerns.”

The sacred geometry came into play with the garden’s layout, with Blom saying that it’s about “numerical sequences that appear in nature. Basically, the whole garden is based on this spiral of growth…” and the organic architecture is reflected in the “natural substances and ancient techniques” of the shelter design.

Kate’s garden will be called the RHS Back to Nature Garden, and the design will be revealed at a press conference on 11 February. Kate will also design two further gardens with the same team for the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival in July and the RHS Garden Wisley in the fall.



About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, with an emphasis on the British, Danish, and Swedish Royal Families.