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Camilla's Country Life: how the Duchess uses gardening therapy for her own wellbeing

Speaking from Highgrove House for last night's UK documentary, the Duchess of Cornwall described gardening as 'one of the most relaxing things anyone can do'

The Duchess of Cornwall with Monty Don
The Duchess of Cornwall with garden expert Monty Don
(Image credit: Country Life)

The psychological benefits of gardening are undeniable. Whether you find a moment  of calm in planting or spend leisurely time unwinding on your patio or terrace. You may have guessed that you're not alone in finding solace in gardening therapy – but did you know you're in royal company? 

Speaking from Highgrove House, the royal residence owned by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, which is famed for its garden, parts of which the public can tour, Camilla labeled gardening as 'therapeutic' before sharing some of the green-thumbed jobs she enjoys in the grounds. 

In a documentary for H&G's sister magazine, Country Life (opens in new tab), named Camilla's Country Life, the Duchess offered a glimpse into the process of guest-editing the brand's recent issue. A section of the show captured Camilla wandering Highgrove's extensive grounds – where she commented on her admiration for gardening and its impact on relaxing qualities. 

The Duchess of Cornwall

The Duchess of Cornwall on the front cover of Country Life, photographed by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge

(Image credit: Country Life)

In the footage, Camilla revealed her husband, Charles, the Prince of Wales, is 'passionate' about gardening before sharing that she shares his sentiments. 

'I love gardening. It’s therapeutic,' Camilla says. 'You can go and garden, and you just become completely involved in what you’re doing and what you’re planting. [You can] do a bit of weeding and you can be very creative, it’s just one of the most relaxing things anyone can do. Go into the garden, get on with it.'

The gardens at RayMill House

The gardens at RayMill House where Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, photographed Camilla for Country Life magazine

(Image credit: Country Life)

And Camilla's love of gardening is not limited to the grounds at Highgrove. Though she was filmed in its world famous gardens, much of the Country Life issue came from the gardens of Ray Mill House in Wiltshire, which she owned before moving in with Prince Charles. The gardens (seen above) hosted the backdrop of the issue's front cover (below) – photographed by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. 

The Duchess of Cornwall with Monty Don

The Duchess of Cornwall with gardener Monty Don

(Image credit: Country Life)

The Duchess of Cornwall's comments are unsurprising; a recent study* that revealed that 9 in 10 of us have continued our pandemic gardening habits – motivated not only by their impact on our wellbeing – but by our desire to protect the planet. 

But it's not all about aesthetics. As the Duchess hinted, working in the garden is what contributes to wellbeing. 

Promoting good soil health is one of the most popular jobs amongst respondents after many (46%) showed particular interest in soil's benefits. 

'All soils benefit from the addition of organic matter to improve biodiversity, drainage, and oxygen levels,' says garden expert Poppy Okotcha for *Weleda (opens in new tab). 'Making your own compost is also a great way to save money, and it reduces waste. So get out into your garden and get your hands dirty – it’s good for you and the planet.'

Discover Highgrove garden tours to see more (opens in new tab).

Megan Slack
Megan Slack

Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.