Prince Charles has given an interview to BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time in which he discusses his love of gardening and his gardens at his various homes. He also discusses how he’s made his gardens child-friendly and how he wants to instill a love of gardening into Prince George at an early age.
Charles gave the interview to promote the very first Highgrove Garden Festival which takes place April 11 to 16.
On planting trees with George: “You just never know, do you, what people are going to be interested in but the most important thing is I’ve got him planting a tree or two here. So we’ve planted it together and shovelled in the earth. Because that’s the way, I think, when you’re very small. And then you see, each time they come you say do you see how much the tree has grown? And you hope that they take an interest. But you see I’ve always liked gardening, I hate to say this, from a child’s point of view. Because I have such happy memories of bits of my grandmother’s house.”
On designing his gardens to appeal to children: “In Scotland and here I have tried to design it to what would appeal to a child. It’s the paths and the interests. We’ve made a maze up there, which is rather fun. I adored a maze when I was young. You just put yourself in the child’s position. It works.”
About that whole ‘talking to plants’ thing: “You can’t make a joke, can you?”
He’s not as hands-on in the garden at Highgrove as he used to be: “I used to do much more when I first came because there was only, you know, one or two of us. I planted a lot of the trees. I cut off the end of my finger, banging in stakes and had to be taken to Swindon Hospital to have it sewn back on again. So I did a hell of a lot more. As I’ve got older and my back get worse, so I have to kneel to do everything. But funnily enough I probably do a bit more hands-on planting in Scotland in the garden there.”
On losing his garden at Birkhall: “There was always the danger every now and again it would flood a little bit but nothing like this horror, which literally sort of gouged out half the garden and removed even from the stumpery. We found stumps half way up trees. So starting again is always a bit exhausting at my age but you know you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start all over again.”
Prince Philip was not impressed by Charles’ garden of dead tree trucks: “My papa came along and said: ‘When are you going to set fire to all of this?'”
After that weird press war last year where a Charles source claimed Charles complained to friends ‘They never let me see my grandson’, and then Charles put a photo of himself holding George into the background of one of his video messages that same month (first photo below), but then Clarence House insiders claimed “there are ‘lots’ of pictures of the Prince with his grandson dotted around the residence” so it wasn’t a pointed message to the press or the Middletons, I really wonder just how much time Charles spends with George, and now Princess Charlotte. I wonder if Charles will spend any time with his grandchildren while William and Kate are off doing their tour.
BTW, these are the only photos we have of Charles with George. The two not taken at the Christening seem to have been taken on the same day – George is wearing the same outfit. I’d really love to see them release a professional photo of Charles with his grandchildren.