The Famous Five to Give Children a Summer of Adventure at RHS Gardens

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Garden adventure trails celebrate 75th anniversary of first book • Mass picnic on 11 August for Enid Blyton’s 120th birthday • Famous Five stories continue to inspire love of being outdoors

2017 marks 75 years since the first book was published in Enid Blyton’s best-loved series The Famous Five. To celebrate the occasion the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has teamed up with Enid Blyton Entertainment and Hodder Children’s Books to offer a range of exciting events and activities across the four RHS Gardens this summer.

RHS Gardens Wisley in Surrey, Rosemoor in Devon, Hyde Hall in Essex and Harlow Carr in North Yorkshire are running a lively programme of events and activities inspired by The Famous Five’s values – friendship, heroism, adventure, outdoors and daring. Each garden is creating a ‘Five Go on a Garden Adventure’ trail and all four gardens will hold a mass picnic party on 11 August to celebrate Enid Blyton’s 120th birthday.

For children across the generations, Enid Blyton has inspired a love for flowers, plants, gardens and the outdoors through her descriptive powers, and particularly through the adventures of her five famous characters, Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy the dog. From camping on hillsides to exploring streams, from enjoying tasty picnics to discovering caves, many of The Famous Five’s adventures are firmly rooted in the great outdoors.

Enid had an abiding love and deep knowledge of flora and fauna. She wrote to friends of her pleasure at creating her first garden at Elfin Cottage, Beckenham, which included a wild, raised garden in one corner, shrubs and beds of old-fashioned flowers such as lupins, pansies, hollyhocks and roses, an area for fruit and vegetables and a round pond for waterlilies. Inspired by this, lovely descriptions of trees, flowers and birdsong occur even in the midst of her 21 The Famous Five adventures.

Liz Thwaite, Head of RHS Garden Harlow Carr, said: ‘People’s love of gardens and gardening often starts when they are children – running, laughing and playing in them, exploring winding paths, going for country walks and discovering the wonders of plants and wildlife. We hope that this summer will create many new happy memories for children, inspired by our gardens and Enid Blyton’s wonderful adventure books.

The adventure trail in each RHS Garden will encourage children to help The Famous Five find Uncle Quentin, who has gone missing on a horticultural research mission. All the gardens will also be running themed art and craft and storytelling or story-writing activities.

• At RHS Garden Hyde Hall there will also be den-building, biscuit-decorating, orienteering and bushcraft activities – such as learning to follow animal tracks.

• RHS Garden Rosemoor will be holding a family exhibition about the life and works of Enid Blyton, which will include a children’s Faraway Tree with a slide and a Noddy Car. Rosemoor will also hold immersive Famous Five outdoor theatre performances around the garden, bird of prey displays, and a local produce show featuring Famous Five themed classes for adults and children.

• At RHS Garden Harlow Carr there will be birds of prey demonstrations and outdoor workshops exploring how flowers and herbs can be used in food, medicines and drinks. There will also be six performances of immersive Famous Five theatre across the garden, with further details to be announced. For adventurous plant owners there will also be the garden’s first Carnivorous Plants Weekend on 12 and 13 August.

• At RHS Garden Wisley there will be puppet shows, bird of prey displays and workshops on planting, with the chance to sow your own treasure – ‘cloth of gold’ (Achillea filipendulina) – and take cuttings from money trees.

It was only at the start of the 1950s that publishers Hodder & Stoughton first used the term The Famous Five and, within a year or two, they had sold more than six million copies. Enid Blyton had only planned to write a handful, but sales were so strong that she went on to pen 21 Famous Five novels, with more than two million copies continuing to sell each year.

For more details and images, please contact Hannah Dolby or Caroline Craig, 020 7821 3042.

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Notes to editors

Opening times and ticket prices may vary by event and garden. Full details can be found at

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture.Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener, healthier, happier and more beautiful place.We believe everyone in every village, town and city should benefit from growing plants to enhance lives, build stronger, healthier, happier communities and create better places to live.

We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity. At our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants, promote the value of gardens, demonstrate how gardening is good for us and explain the vital roles that plants undertake.

The RHS is committed to bring the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspire the next generation of gardeners and invest in the future to safeguard a £10.4 billion industry employing more than 300,000 people. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and help us secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 020 3176 5820, or visit
RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262.

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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262