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Prince Charles is known for his love of the countryside and his passion for plants and nature. But some may not be aware that his wife Camilla is also green-fingered with a long-standing interest in gardening.
The Duchess of Cornwall has spoken about how she looks after her garden—and the challenges that she faces doing so—in a special guest appearance on BBC Two’s Gardeners’ World. As presenter Monty Don showed Camilla around the program’s garden Longmeadow in Herefordshire, western England, the Duchess shared how important she thought gardens had been to people during the pandemic. “I think gardens got people through Covid. They realized how special a garden was and what they could do with it,” Camilla said. “It was a sort of spiritual experience for them, they discovered a sort of affinity with the soil—you can go into a garden and you can completely lose yourself, you don’t have to think about anything else, you’re surrounded by nature, you’ve got birds singing, you’ve got bees buzzing about—there is something very healing about gardens.”
Of her own garden, the Duchess told how she has a woodland area and would love to “build that up more.” “I would love to put down swathes of bulbs, and I would also like to have a proper wildflower meadow,” she added. However, Camilla is also acutely aware of the challenges that blight gardeners’ efforts. “I’m very lucky I’ve got a big vegetable garden, but you get the mice, the voles this year, all ate the asparagus roots and got into the strawberries, so you can never win, there’s always something,” she said.
The Duchess, who is now 74, retained her own private home, Ray Mill House, in Wiltshire, after she married Prince Charles in 2005. She often spends time there with her children and her five grandchildren. However, her life changed substantially when she wed the heir to the throne and committed herself to public duties. “My mother was a mother, she didn’t really work apart from bringing us up, which a job in itself, but at an age where most people are thinking of retiring, she is suddenly having up to 20 or 30 engagements a day,” her son Tom Parker Bowles told Australia’s Channel 9 in 2015. “She’s brilliant at it, she’s always been brilliant with people.”
Camilla will feature in Gardeners’ World on BBC Two at 8 p.m. BST on August 20.
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