On the 10th of September 2019, the Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton) formally opened the new ‘Back to Nature’ Garden at RHS Wisley in Woking.
The Duchess unveiled the garden alongside RHS Ambassador, food writer and television presenter Mary Berry.
The garden is the third and final part of a collaboration between Kate, the Royal Horticultural Society and NHS England. The project aims to promote the benefits of green spaces and gardening on both physical and mental health.
For the first part of the collaboration, Kate co-designed a garden for the Chelsea Flower Show in May. Then, the garden was transferred to Hampton Court Palace in July. (Read our article about that here).
The RHS Wisley garden takes inspiration from the space Kate co-created for the Chelsea Flower Show. It contains many of the original garden’s elements, including a hollow log, boulders, a wildflower meadow and a hidden burrow. The new garden also features two treehouses, a living willow pod and a trampoline area surrounded by trees.
Today, Kate gave a speech at the unveiling of the garden. She explained how the project relates to the charity work she’s carried out over the past few years:
I am not as green-fingered as many of you here, but I was passionate about creating a garden that inspired children and adults alike to get back to nature and reap the positive mental and physical health benefits that it can bring.The Duchess of Cambridge
The physical benefits of being outdoors and in nature are well documented. More recently, however, I have learnt that these often safe and supportive environments can also bring significant benefits to the cognitive, social and emotional development of our children too. The experiences we gain during our earliest years influence who we become as people. They influence how we interact in school, in work and in society and, ultimately how we bring up our own children.
Kate and Mary had fun during the engagement. They took a ride in a tractor-trailer and chatted with youngsters as they played.
Guests represented a variety of the charities and organisations Kate has met over the last eight years.
Kate also met with 12-year-old Jessica, the winner of the Blue Peter Royal Garden Competition.
Jessica entered by designing a stunning butterfly sculpture, which got brought to life for the garden. The sculpture features a wooden body, reclaimed metal wings and a windchime detail. Over time, different species of clematis flower will creep up the wings. See Kate meet Jessica in the video below:
The Duchess took part in the judging panel and chose the winning entry back in June. Below, an image of the judging process shared by the palace. (Note: Kate’s wearing her pink L.K. Bennett Madison dress here.)
The nature garden will be a permanent feature at RHS Wisley, allowing children and families to enjoy the space for years to come.
Kate’s outfit at the RHS Wisley garden opening:
Kate wore a mid-length floral dress by Emilia Wickstead.
The long-sleeved dress features pink roses printed on a light blue background. It’s made from seersucker fabric and comes with a matching belt.
With a ladylike silhouette featuring a collar, long sleeves, and cinched waist, the number was still classically Kate.Harpers Bazaar
The piece is exclusive to Net-A-Porter where it retails for $2,255 / £1,635.
Kate regularly wears clothing by Emilia Wickstead. After graduating from college, the New Zealand designer worked for fashion houses in New York. She set up her own label and showed her first collection during London Fashion Week in 2012. Here’s Kate wearing one of her gold coat dresses in Bhutan:
View more examples of Kate wearing Emilia Wickstead here.
Back to the garden visit now. Kate brought back her Monsoon Fleur Espadrilles. The almond-toed wedges feature a taupe suede shoe on a woven base.
You’ll probably remember them from the 2016 Royal Visit to Mumbai?
They’re the Simple Filigree Short Drop Earrings in gold. They retailed for £5 / $6 before going on sale at £1.50 / $1.80! Sadly, they’re no longer in stock.
(Thank you to @carolinepparr on Twitter for finding the earrings.)