Kate offers ‘peek’ at Back to Nature Garden

Image copyright @kensingtonroyal
Image caption The Duchess of Cambridge has created a multi-sensory garden for flower show

The Duchess of Cambridge has revealed a “sneak peek” at the garden she has designed for the Chelsea Flower Show.

Catherine is pictured in her Back To Nature Garden in a series of images posted on photo-sharing site Instagram.

The duchess’s woodland wilderness plot forms part of her work on early childhood development.

Speaking ahead of the garden’s unveiling, she said spending time outdoors can help children grow up to become “happy, healthy adults”.

Image copyright @kensingtonroyal
Image caption The garden was co-created with Andree Davies, Adam White and the RHS

In a letter to experts, she wrote that it was “heart-breaking” to know there is a “long way to go” to ensure all children grow up “happy, healthy, and equipped to be able to take every opportunity that comes their way”.

The duchess, who is mother to Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, added: “I can understand that people [parents] are nervous about asking for help for fear of judgment, and how that sense of isolation can quickly become overriding and debilitating for any new parent.”

Co-created with landscape architects Andrée Davies and Adam White, along with the Royal Horticultural Society, the garden is intended by the duchess to highlight the benefits the natural world brings to mental and physical well-being.

Image copyright @kensingtonroyal
Image caption The garden will be filled with forest scenes

Earlier this year, landscape architect Ms Davies told the Daily Telegraph that the duchess had brought the idea of forest bathing to the discussions.

The Japanese concept is the practice of spending time in woodland to help relaxation.

What is forest bathing?

Forest bathing – or the Japanese art of shinrin-yoku – originates from 1980s Japan, where it was introduced as a national health programme by the government.

Japanese scientists found two hours of mindful exploration in a forest could reduce blood pressure, lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and improve memory and concentration.

They also found phytoncides – chemicals emitted by trees – have an anti-microbial effect on humans, boosting our immune systems.

In practice, forest bathing means simply slowing down and taking time to really immerse yourself in the forest atmosphere.

The Forestry Agency of Japan says: “Just as bathing in a hot spring helps to soak your cares away, going for a walk in the woods is said to have a soothing effect.”

Source: National Trust / Forestry Agency of Japan

The garden features a swing seat hanging below a high-platform treehouse, “encouraging creative play and discovery for all generations”.

The treehouse has been constructed from chestnut, with hazel, stag horn oak and larch nest cladding and was reportedly inspired by a bird or animal nest.

The multi-sensory garden is also said to be filled with “incredible edibles”, plants for craft activities and forest scenes.

It will also feature a swing seat, rustic den and a campfire as well as tree stumps, stepping stones and a hollow log for children to play on.

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