Prince Charles recalls ‘splendid’ gardener from his childhood

‘My sister and I had a little vegetable patch in the back of some border somewhere,’ Prince of Wales recalls

Olivia Petter
Saturday 28 August 2021 16:07

The Prince of Wales has opened up about his childhood passion for gardening, recalling a “splendid” gardener who worked for his family.

Speaking to Simon Armitage on BBC Radio 4’s The Poet Laureate Has Gone To His Shed, Prince Charles explained how he and his younger sister, Princess Anne, would often play together in the garden as children.

“My sister and I had a little vegetable patch in the back of some border somewhere,” he said. “We had great fun trying to grow tomatoes rather unsuccessfully, and things like that.”

Charles continued: “There was a wonderful head gardener at Buckingham Palace, he was called Mr Nutbeam, rather splendidly.

“He was splendid, and helped us a bit, my sister and I, with the little garden we had.”

The 72-year-old went on to say how fulfilling he found it growing his own fruit and vegetables.

“There’s nothing to beat, is there, I think, eating what you have grown?” he said.

“This is another reason why I always feel it is so important to find ways of encouraging children to grow vegetables and things at school.”

The prince also recalled how the late poet Ted Hughes once gave him a tip to remembering what various plants were called.

“I remember I said to him once ‘I cannot remember all the names of these plants, it drives me mad’,” Charles recalled.

“He said ‘Ah, what you need to do is’ - typical, wonderful poet, only a poet could think like this I think - ‘you have to see what the name conjures up, what image does it give you in your mind?’

“And then he said what you’ll find, if you practise, and this is my problem, is practising it, then you have the word association with the image that you created and that will bring it back to your memory far better than a word will.”

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