King has achieved so much at Highgrove Gardens

king has achieved so much at highgrove gardens

Tens of thousands of visitors come from all over the world to visit Highgrove Gardens and learn about its organic principles - BEN BIRCHALL/PA

It doesn’t matter how many times I walk around Highgrove Gardens, it always strikes me just how much His Majesty has achieved here since the early 1980s.

It is hard to envisage the blank canvas which encountered him when we are now surrounded by a series of immersive organic gardens, all reflective of the King’s imagination, vision and more often-than-not, his own gardening skill.

Each year, tens of thousands of visitors come from all over the world to visit Highgrove Gardens and learn about the organic principles which have been put into practice here since the very beginning.

This contrast between a place which is both so deeply personal but also accessible is another defining feature of Highgrove.

His Majesty has always been keen that these gardens offer people an opportunity to connect with nature, understand the significance of nature in our everyday lives, and take away ideas for their own green spaces, whatever their size.

This is why it is particularly fitting that since 2021 we, The King’s Foundation, have been custodians of Highgrove Gardens.

king has achieved so much at highgrove gardens

Beth and Bluebell, the King and Queen's dogs, immortalised in willow form by sculptor Emma Stothard - LITTLE BIRD/PA

And this year marks the first time we will be exhibiting at RHS Chelsea Flower Show – the home of gardening – to showcase how our education courses are inspired by the gardens they operate within.

The King’s Foundation’s work focuses on supporting people, places and the planet – we pioneer education courses in traditional skills to preserve them for the next generation, we regenerate historic buildings to revitalise the surrounding communities, and we support improvements to health and wellbeing, including access to nature for young people.

All proceeds generated from visitors participating in garden tours at Highgrove are ploughed back into the work of the charity.

When we arrived at Highgrove in 2021, we had a vision to build on the life-changing work already being undertaken at our headquarters, Dumfries House in Ayrshire, Scotland, where we run an extensive education campus.

The estate has had a profoundly positive impact on the local community and the facilities at Highgrove bring access to similar education courses to students in the south west of England and beyond.

His Majesty is particularly keen to preserve traditional craft skills to ensure they are retained for the future.

king has achieved so much at highgrove gardens

Workshops at Highgrove offer specialist courses in traditional heritage skills - LITTLE BIRD/PA

With that in mind, our workshops at Highgrove offer specialist courses in traditional heritage skills – from woodworking at the Snowdon School of Furniture and embroidery through our Chanel and King’s Foundation métiers d’art training atelier fellowship.

All of our students’ work is inspired by the flora and fauna in the gardens, and we are thrilled some of our students will be joining us at Chelsea this year to showcase the skills we promote to visitors.

Visitors to Highgrove at Chelsea this week will also be able to say hello to Beth and Bluebell, the King and Queen’s dogs (adopted from Battersea Cats and Dogs Home), immortalised in willow form by sculptor Emma Stothard. Emma works closely with the King’s Foundation to offer weaving courses using traditional materials for the general public.

Given the longstanding connection between the Royal family and Chelsea, we are delighted to be part of the story this year.

We look forward to showcasing the work of the King’s Foundation and, hopefully, welcoming many more guests to Highgrove to see for themselves the inspirational gardens which have for such a long time promoted the very principles which underpin our work.

Constantine Innemée is the Highgrove Director for The King’s Foundation

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