The royal mom's natured-themed garden debuted at the Chelsea Flower Show in May, but it's now been expanded for its second location
The royal mom of three has taken her play-and-learn space to a new site — this time, at a palace. On Monday, she hosted children at the site at Hampton Court Palace’s Garden Festival, where her “Back to Nature”-themed space has been moved six weeks after it debuted at Chelsea Flower Show in May.
Kate, sporting a printed midi dress by Sandro, unveiled the space with children from some of her charities and patronages, including the Anna Freud Centre, Evelina Children’s Hospital, Action for Children and Place2Be. They enjoyed the delights of the garden that had so enraptured her own kids — Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis — by joining her in a treasure hunt and insect spotting activity. Kate then hosted them in a picnic at the center of the garden.
The new space is twice the size of the plot that was used at Chelsea to inspire kids to play and enjoy the outdoors, for the benefits that can bring to mental well-being. The expanded garden adds in fun features to stimulate engagement with nature and free play, including a hill, a bee-friendly meadow and a pond to paddle in.
When Kate noticed 8-year-old Khareesha James was feeling a bit shy, the royal brought the young girl to a den for a private talk.
“I am shy and she said that’s where she goes when she’s shy – in the tent,” Khareesha told reporters afterwards.
Asked if the one-on-one moment with Kate helped her feel better, Khareesha nodded.
Kate also revealed that her eldest children, George and Charlotte, had a special hand in helping her find materials for the expanded garden. The royal siblings found pinecones, which Kate hid for the children’s treasure hunt on Monday.
“There are eight, Charlotte helped me find them,” Kate told the kids as they set out to find the pinecones using magnifying glasses.
Kate’s garden “highlights how time spent in natural environments can help build the foundations for positive physical and mental wellbeing that last through childhood and over a lifetime,” her office at Kensington Palace said in a statement. “Features like the hollow log and rustic dens will return from Chelsea, in addition to a new hidden burrow, rolling hill and stream. These environments enable children to develop skills for life through free play, building their confidence, strength, resilience and social skills.”
“In addition to the physical and mental health benefits of being in nature, spending quality time with parents and carers outside has a valuable impact on children’s early development,” they added. “In the garden, families can explore together and enjoy nature as a playground.”
Kate said last month that she wants her children to be outdoors in their garden “rain or shine,” encouraging them to spend time outside whatever the weather, believing “it encourages creativity, confidence.”
“Even a short amount of time — 10 to 15 minutes outside — makes a huge difference to both physical well-being but also to our mental well-being,” she said in a new interview on CBBC’s Blue Peter.
After Hampton Court Palace, the garden will be permanently located in its final place at the RHS garden at Wisley, in the Surrey hills south west of London, in September.