Richard Jackson’s Garden’s blogger invited to Buckingham Palace

Geoff Stonebanks attends Macmillan Cancer Support Volunteers Reception at Buckingham Palace, Hosted by HRH The Prince of Wales

Geoff Stonebanks meets HRH Prince Charles. Image: Paul Burns Photography, courtesy of Clarence House
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Macmillan Cancer Support’s Patron, HRH The Prince of Wales hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace on 31 January. The event recognised and thanked exceptional volunteers for their life-changing contributions to helping people living with cancer.

Geoff Stonebanks at Buckingham Palace

The reception focused on the contribution these supporters have made, and celebrated the vital role volunteers play at Macmillan. One of our regular bloggers, Geoff Stonebanks, was extremely lucky to be one of those invited to attend this prestigious event. Macmillan said of all of those who attended that they had gone above and beyond their volunteer role.

Geoff raises money for The Macmillan Horizon Centre, over £54000 to date, through events in his own garden, Driftwood and by single-handedly organising the annual Macmillan Coastal Garden Trail between Brighton and Seaford under the banner of his Driftwood Fundraising Group.

Geoff recounts how he brought a smile to The Prince’s face by telling him of a trick he had picked up for his own garden, Driftwood, after a visit to Highgrove a couple of years ago. The Prince had some large urns at the back of the house which were looking a little faded and tired. As Geoff watched on, a couple of gardeners came up with a tractor and trailer loaded with pots of perfectly primed tulips, just about to burst into flower! They lifted out the tired, inner container from the urn and replaced it with one of tulips. Instant impact! This is something that Geoff now adopts, not on such a grand scale, in his own award-winning garden each season, where he has over 200 different containers. 

Geoff Stonebanks and HRH Prince Charles share a joke. Image: Paul Burns Photography, courtesy of Clarence House

Geoff said: “This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and so totally unexpected. Never ever did I imagine I would visit Buckingham Palace and engage in conversation on one of my favourite pastimes with The Prince of Wales, utterly magical! Thank you, Macmillan!”

The royal connection does not end there though! Geoff was dumbstruck in January to receive an invitation to The Queen’s Royal Garden Party, also at Buckingham Palace, in June, for his services to the local community in Seaford, where he lives.

You can see Geoff’s own garden and discuss with him the tips he pinched from Highgrove when it opens 14 times for various charities this summer. You can also talk to him about Flower Power, which has been feeding his multi award winning garden for the last 3 years. www.driftwoodbysea.co.uk

Jean Vernon

About Jean Vernon

Jean Vernon is a slightly quirky, bee friendly, alternative gardener. She doesn’t follow the rules and likes to push the boundaries a bit just to see what happens. She has a fascination for odd plants, especially edibles and a keen interest in growing for pollinators especially bees. She’s rather obsessed with the little buzzers. Telegraph Gardening Correspondent, mostly testing and trialing products and Editor-In-Chief for Richard Jackson’s Garden.
@TheGreenJeanie
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