Charles praises benefits of gardens in lockdown

The Prince of Wales has spoken about the “beneficial effects of gardens and green spaces” especially during the coronavirus lockdown in a video message in a support of a decades-old charity.

Charles recorded the short film to highlight the work of the National Garden Scheme which raises funds for health charities and other organisations supporting nurses – who have been part of the frontline against Covid-19.

The scheme gives visitors unique access to more than 3,700 private gardens in England and Wales, and last year raised £4 million in donations for good causes through sales of tickets and refreshments.

The prince, who is the National Garden Scheme’s patron said in the video, filmed at his Scottish home Birkhall: “This link between gardens and our health has never been more relevant – especially as we endure the challenges of the confined circumstances in which we currently find ourselves, in many cases beset with anxiety and, I am afraid to say, often with personal tragedy.

Charles in the grounds of his Highgrove home whose gardens are closed to the public due to Covid-19. Highgrove Enterprises
Charles in the grounds of his Highgrove home where gardens are closed to the public due to Covid-19 (Highgrove Enterprises)

“During these times the beneficial effects of gardens and green spaces have never been more apparent.

“The reassuring solace, peace and inspiration of a garden, whether it is your own or someone else’s, can now be found to a certain extent through digital means, thanks to this terrific scheme.”

The charity was founded in 1927 to raise funds for community nurses and since that time has donated more than £60 million.

The coronavirus outbreak has meant visitors have only been able to tour gardens virtually, but the National Garden Scheme announced plans on Monday for some to reopen.

Charles added: “But now, for the first time in over 90 years, gardens are unable to open, and subsequently no funds are being raised for charity.

We are delighted to announce that some of our gardens are reopening. All garden visitors must pre-purchase tickets on our website for a timed slot at their garden of choice. To find out more and to book your tickets, visit 🍃

— National Garden Scheme (@NGSOpenGardens) June 1, 2020

“I must say that I can empathise with garden owners’ frustration about this because, like them, for the first time in 26 years, I too have been unable to open Highgrove Garden to visitors.

“Of course, this is at a time when the nursing charities the National Garden Scheme supports are working heroically on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic, and need the financial support more than ever.”

George Plumptre, chief executive officer of the National Garden Scheme, said: “His Royal Highness’s love of gardens is well known, inherited from his grandmother who he succeeded as our patron, and the various themes he articulates here so compellingly, from admiration for our charitable work, and emphasising the health benefits of gardens, will all strike a chord with our garden owners and supporters.”

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