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Gardening & Agriculture gardening   agriculture Ornamental

Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton teaches gardening the royal way

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by: Hans van der Broek
duchess of cambridge kate middleton teaches gardening the royal way

Celebrating 10 Years of School Gardening.

The Duchess of Cambridge and a child working in the garden of the Robin Hood Primary School
Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge, visits a London school to mark the anniversary of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening. The Duchess of Cambridge visited green-fingered youngsters at Robin Hood Primary School in Kingston Vale to learn more about the health and wellbeing benefits of gardening. With a fondness for the outdoors, the mother of two was right at home as she pulled on a pair of gardening gloves and got to work with the youngsters, planting some winter bulbs. Notably dressed down for the outing, Middleton sported her Barbour olive green jacket layered over a black knit tunic with her decade-old Penelope Chilvers boots. 
Helping to plant spring bulbs and build bug hotels 
Daffodil yellow orange flowers
Her Royal Highness got straight to work with some of the school’s 5-11 year-old pupils by helping to plant spring-flowering bulbs, including daffodils and snake's head fritillaries and then build bug hotels for garden insects in the shadow of the school’s existing ‘Bug-ingham Palace’.
snake's head fritillaries

Robin Hood Primary School

Robin Hood Primary School is one of over 34,000 schools and youth groups now signed up to the RHS campaign. With support from the RHS, the school has developed a progressive outdoor learning curriculum where pupils have access to a range of outdoor classrooms within woodland. They give children the opportunity to explore the natural environment and take part in challenging yet achievable activities that bring their learning to life. 

More reasons why gardening for children is so important?

Engages All the Senses
Kids learn best when engaging all their senses. With gardening, kids can touch and feel the dirt, seeds and flowers, see the vibrant colors and varied sizes of the plants, hear the sound of the vegetable when it is taken from the plant and smell the amazing scents of the flowers. Allowing all the senses to be involved helps kids understand and grasp the concept of gardening along with all the math and scientific concepts that go along with it.

Encourages Healthy Eating
Eating healthy food is vital for brain and body development but it can be hard at times to get kids to eat those fruits and veggies. By having them grow their own string beans, carrots and lettuce, they will have a sense of pride in eating what they have “created.” This, in turn, will emphasize the importance of healthy eating. Kids will soon learn to love eating strawberries, blueberries and even broccoli!
Mother and daughter working in a garden with strawberries

Enhances Fine Motor Development
Scooping up the dirt, placing the seeds in the pots and pouring the water all take fine motor control and strength. As kids garden, they develop important motor skills that will help them improve their academic skills such as writing, cutting and typing.
Children watering the garden

Introduces Kids to Scientific Concepts
Gardening is a wonderful introduction into the world of science especially botany, biology and chemistry. When kids plant their first seeds they become curious about what will happen next. They make their own hypothesis and monitor the progress each day. Without even realizing it, kids are learning the basic steps of the scientific process. As kids get older, they learn about the impact of sunlight and water on the growth of a plant. They learn which plants need more sunlight, which need less water and how long they take to grow. Gardening offers wonderful science lessons right at home!

Fosters Family Bonding
I have so many friends that love to garden with their parents. In fact, it is often a spring tradition that carries well into adulthood. This shows what a wonderful bonding effect gardening can have. Kids and parents can work together to decide what flowers and vegetables to plant and where to plant them. Families can then work together to make meals using the vegetables they have grown.

Teaches Responsibility
Gardening is a great way to teach kids about responsibility. Kids learn that they have to take care of their seeds each day in order for them to become healthy plants. To help, you can make a checklist that kids can use to make sure they care for their plant every day.

Highlights the Importance of Taking Care of the Environment
When kids garden, they realize how important it is to take care of the Earth if they want their garden to grow and produce healthy plants. It creates the perfect opportunity for parents to talk to their kids about concepts such as pollution, pesticides and recycling.
Organic pest control by bees

Develops Math Skills
There are so many teachable math moments when gardening from measuring the soil depth to counting the seeds. You can also embed math lessons into the gardening experience. For example, your child can measure the growth of the plant and then create a graph. Kids can also measure and compare the sizes of the vegetables as well the number of petals on the flowers. Another fun lesson is to identify all the different shapes that can be found in the garden. This is a great introduction to Geometry.

Teaches Patience
As I begin the gardening process with my children, it has become abundantly clear how important it is to have patience. Kids are used to immediate gratification; however, gardening is often a slow process. Kids have to learn to be patient when waiting for their flowers and vegetables to grow. The waiting actually makes the moment the flower or vegetable sprouts even more exciting!

Enhances the Ability to Plan and Organize
For those that garden regularly, you understand that planning and organizing a garden can be time consuming and somewhat of an art form. You have to know what flowers bloom during what time of year, how long it takes a seed to actually turn into a vegetable and when is the best time to plant your seeds. Involving kids in this process helps increase their planning and problem solving skills. It also enhances their organizational strategies which can be carried over to every facet of life!

While the children were clearly enthusiastic about getting to spend part of the day outside with the duchess, she was equally happy to be sharing her passion—one she also has handed down to her own famous children, 4-year-old Prince George and 2-year-old Princess Charlotte. 
Kate Middleton working in the garden with children
"It's been lovely to meet all of you and thank you so much to all the children who've shown me what they've been doing in their gardens," she said as she addressed the group. "I've got such fond memories of being in the garden and being outside from my own childhood, and I'm sharing that with my own children, George and Charlotte, at the moment." As she sweetly concluded, "What you have created here is really so special. Hopefully you'll have lots of memories of your time here in the garden, looking for insects or planting bulbs...and I really hope you remember these special times for the rest of your lives."
Building a bug-hotel at the Robin Hood school nick named the Bug-ingham Palace’

Speaking to keen young gardeners and teachers about the impact of gardening 

During the visit, The Duchess received a briefing about the RHS nationwide campaign and heard from the keen young gardeners about the things they enjoy learning in a garden setting and from their teachers about its impact. A recent survey of those taking part in the RHS campaign found that four in five young people have used gardening to improve health and wellbeing.

Pete Boulton, Headteacher at Robin Hood Primary & Nursery School, said:

“Our outdoor learning approach and gardening opportunities support children’s development, enabling them to develop their confidence and resilience in a sociable and stimulating environment.  We’re delighted that The Duchess has given our garden and its keen gardeners her royal seal of approval, and we now look forward to welcoming the inhabitants of our newly built bug house and enjoying the colourful spring bulbs.”

Free RHS Campaign for School Gardening resources  

Schools and youth groups can sign-up to receive free resources and support from the RHS Campaign for School Gardening. Useful tools include seeds, plant labels, stickers and posters, as well as ideas for practical activities and lesson plans to help make the most of a school garden. 

The Duchess of Cambridge visited green-fingered youngsters at Robin Hood Primary School in Kingston Vale to learn more about the health and wellbeing benefits of gardening.

Sources: Royal Horticultural Society, Yessica Lopa, Kevin Zelman

Neil Mockford/GC Images, EDDIE MULHOLLAND/AFP/Getty Images

A Dutch design firm has redefined living by creating a house that doesn’t need a foundation, can be built in one day and is three times more sustainable than a normal house.The Wikkelhouse, designed by Fiction Factory in Amsterdam, is built by snapping multiple 1.2 meter (4 feet) wide sections together. Each section is made by wrapping a basic house shape with curved edges in 24 layers of cardboard that are glued together. The sections are then finished with waterproof, breathable foil and covered with a layer of wood paneling for extra protection.“Using cardboard as its main building material, Wikkelhouse is a cutting-edge sustainable house with a beautiful design and exceptional constructive strength,” the website explains.
With the flexible construction process, a house can range from the standard order of three sections to as many as desired.Each section of the Wikkelhouse only weighs 500 kilos (1,100 pounds). It can be taken apart and moved easily when you want to relocate or remodel. You can place the house on the beach, in your backyard or even on top of a building, Fiction Factory boasts.Despite being lightweight, the Wikkelhouse is durable and has a minimum life span of 50 years. The wood outer layer is designed to protect the house from all types of weather elements and events. The cardboard layers also provide maximum insulation, cutting down on energy costs for the owner.The Wikkelhouse is designed to accommodate a kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms, making it fully functional. Customers can pick the inside wall and floor design as well as glazed or opaque facades.Fiction Factory only produces 12 homes a year to maintain optimum quality control, each selling for 25,000 Euros or around $28,000. There is a wait list for orders.

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World traveler, entrepreneur and environmental activist. Has countless ideas and set up several businesses in the Netherlands and abroad. Has an opinion about everything and unlimited thoughts about a better world. He likes hiking and climbed numerous 5.000 m.
World traveler, entrepreneur and environmental activist. Has countless ideas and set up several businesses in the Netherlands and abroad. Has an opinion about everything and unlimited thoughts about a better world. He likes hiking and climbed numerous 5.000 m.
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