We've seen her compete with her husband in various sporting activities and it seems the Duchess of Cambridge couldn't resist getting involved in a little competition during the creation of her RHS Back to Nature Garden. Kate and her co-designers Andrée Davis and Adam White all tried their hand at making boats from reeds and racing them down the waterfall and stream. Adam told HELLO!: "The three of us, the Duchess, Andrée and I – obviously it’s a serious business designing for children – so we had to practise and make sure these things worked, so we were, during the build, making these little boats and seeing who was the winner and (laughing and puffing up his chest) I’m not telling you who was the winner! It’s really good fun and we’re hoping that no matter how old you are you’ll have that, ‘that’s what I used to do!’
"Hopefully when people visit you will find your inner child," he added. "When you walk through, you’ll go, ‘ah I remember building dens when I was little’, or ‘streams, I love Pooh sticks’, or, ‘a fireplace - marshmallows on a campfire’." The landscape architect said the Duchess had been heavily involved in the project since their initial meeting last October. He said: "From the brief to the concept design to the sketches and model making all the way through, suppliers, nurseries and all the materials in there, she’s been involved. It’s been really exciting for us because Andrée and I collaborate together day in, day out."
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Andrée added: "We’ve been out with her visiting places to get ideas, we’ve been to some of the suppliers together. We went to a tree nursery together to select these trees." The garden has been created on site in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea over the past four weeks, with the Duchess making regular visits to help out. Adam: "When the build starts on site, some of the designers don’t come down that often. (But) when the Duchess joined us and it all started to come together, it’s quite addictive, it’s a bit of a bug and you can’t keep away because we’ve worked so hard and put so much energy, the three of us.
"Some of the visits we knew were organised, but then she was like ‘oh yeah, I’m going to come down,’ – she came down this morning, then she’s phoned us up and said ‘I’m coming down again! I’ll be down later if that’s ok.’ So we made the arrangements and it’s been really good. It’s fostered ownership with all three of us that it’s our joint garden."
Andrée said Kate’s visits had helped "to really realise the vision on site. A lot of that is around making sure when it comes to being built it’s absolutely as we all wanted it to be." He added: "Looking at the path edges, combination of plants, how we put them together, that’s definitely been a collaboration between the three of us. If any one party was not involved it would be different, so it’s a really good collaboration."
Andrée said of the aim of the garden: "As a generation we spend a lot of time, children in particular, indoors at the moment, looking at screens and we know intuitively that it’s good for us to be outdoors in nature, but we’ve sort of forgotten to do it. So this is a gentle reminder to get outside, get your nature fix and really get the health and physical and mental wellbeing." "We are hoping people will remember the importance and feelgood factor of time outdoors," added Adam. "So when they leave the busy world of Main Avenue at Chelsea they’ll have this respite, their own little moment of forest bathing. Then they can step back out into the madness of Chelsea."
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