The Duchess of Cambridge has marked the 10th anniversary of the Campaign for School Gardening by visiting a garden in a London school.
Her Royal Highness, dressed casually in boots, jeans and a wax jacket, got down to some planting with pupils from the Robin Hood Primary School, in Raynes Park, south-west London, helping to plant spring-flowering bulbs including daffodils and snake’s head fritillaries. She also got involved in building bug hotels for garden insects to expand a wildlife habitat already created by the children and nicknamed “Bug-ingham Palace”. Children told her how the bug hotel has already become home to caterpillars, woodlice, stag beetles, ladybirds and a nesting robin.
In a speech, she said she had fond memories of being in the garden from her own childhood and was sharing that with her own children, George and Charlotte.
“What you have created here is really so special,” she said. “Hopefully you will have lots of memories of your time here in the garden, looking for insects or planting bulbs. I hope you remember these special times for the rest of your lives.”
The school is one of over 34,000 across the country which have signed up to the Royal Horticultural Society’s campaign, which calls for all children to be given the chance to garden. As part of the scheme, the school has created a sensory garden and an outdoor learning area with a range of outdoor classrooms in a woodland setting, giving pupils the chance to explore the natural environment and take part in learning activities through gardening.
In a recent RHS survey 83% of schools which took part in the Campaign felt that gardening had improved young people’s mental wellbeing, and 82% their physical wellbeing. Research has also found that gardening at school can foster crucial life skills, including communication, personal confidence and teamwork.