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22 June 2023 Approachable Prince visits Brixton estates

Residents of two Lambeth London Living estates had a very special visit today, when His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex came to see their gardens.

In his role as Patron of the Royal Gardens Society, Prince Edward travelled to Brixton to meet some of the winners of Lambeth’s popular Estates in Bloom competition.

His first stop was Edmondsbury Estate where Mrs May Horscroft, the competition’s overall winner from last year, walked him through her colourful floral display while letting him in on some of her growing tips.

She said: “He told me the garden was seriously impressive.”

The Earl took time to shake the hands of individual residents and ask about their involvement in gardening.

In his second stop, Prince Edward walked around the grounds of Arlington Lodge which won Best Kept Estate in last year’s competition.

Irena Kowalewska, Chair of Arlington Residents Association said she was very honoured to show him around: “I think he’s a lovely Prince and I never imagined royalty would be so approachable”.

Fellow resident and gardener Jean Baker said: “this visit has given us the encouragement to keep gardening and keep our estate tidy; the fact a Prince has been here means we will continue the good work.”

While at Arlington Lodge, The Earl also met with excited children from the Renton Close After School Programme, who were runners up in the competition. He asked them what they grew in their vegetable garden and what their favourite vegetables were. Isobel Abebrese said it was the first time she’d seen a member of the Royal Family in person “I felt a bit nervous because he’s so important”.

Residents weren’t the only ones impressed by The Earl’s gentle and approachable manner, with Lambeth London Living Chief Executive Cathy Deplessis commenting: “He recognised that tending to a small piece of land can make a huge difference to people’s lives.”

“We’re here to help and encourage people to have homes, not just houses and flats.”

Estates in Bloom is now in its tenth year and has eight categories for green fingered tenants and leaseholders to enter. Gardeners are able to display an array of skills from domestic paved or grassed gardens to community gardens.

Entries for this year’s competition close on 23 July.