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“The jewels of England – beautiful gardens”

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Extract from The Daily Telegraph 5 March, 2016

Original article: Show your love for the English garden

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English Tourism Week, which runs from March 5-13, has chosen the English Garden as its theme for this year. Here the Prince of Wales, who is its Patron, sets out the case for taking holidays in flood-hit areas of Britain to help get rural economies back on their feet, which also provides an opportunity to enjoy some of the best gardens the country has to offer.

I have had a particular passion for gardening ever since I first moved to Highgrove 36 years ago and began to create the gardens there. I have also been fortunate enough to visit, and be inspired by, many of this country’s greatest gardens. They lie at the heart of some of the most glorious parts of the English countryside and merge seamlessly into it. Spending time in such incredibly beautiful places raises the spirits and leaves indelible memories.

So, I could not be more pleased that English Tourism Week, of which I happen to be Patron, has chosen 2016 to be the Year of the English Garden.

For some of us, every year is in some way the year of the English garden, because continuity and renewal play such an important part in the natural progression of the seasons and, indeed, of our own lives. But 2016 also marks the 300th anniversary of Lancelot “Capability” Brown, the renowned landscape architect who transformed many of England’s gardens and inspired successive generations to follow and develop his ideas.

Brown had both an extraordinary eye for landscape and the practical ability to deliver hugely ambitious schemes that reshaped the way that more than 170 of this country’s most special historic houses relate to their surroundings. These wonderful landscape gardens are now places of incomparable beauty and many, including some that are not usually open to the public, will welcome visitors in this anniversary year, as will many other gardens around the country. I am delighted to say that this will also include a festival week for my own garden at Highgrove.

I think it is important to remember that the gardens designed by Capability Brown, and by many of his successors, were not only designed to sit in harmony with the countryside, they were created to be an integral part of its living and working fabric. As such, they have always helped the rural economy in surrounding areas. Today, the ability of those magnificent gardens to generate income from visitors makes a real difference to many hard-pressed communities.

“I personally believe that we are incredibly lucky to be blessed with
such a rich assortment of historic and cultural gems in this country”

I am, therefore, delighted to hear of the initiative around theCountryside is GREATcampaign to encourage people to do exactly this in spring this year. From first-hand experience I know this initiative will give a much-needed and welcome boost to our rural economies.

But, perhaps more notably, I personally believe that we are incredibly lucky to be blessed with such a rich assortment of historic and cultural gems in this country, not to mention the jewel of our national parks and, above all, some of the wonders of our many hidden gardens, which are once again ready to amaze and delight visitors.

I can only encourage you, therefore, to enjoy the best of what Great Britain has to offer this spring, and to take this opportunity to wish the Countryside is GREAT Campaign and English Tourism Week every possible success, for both hosts and visitors alike.