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.
At RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon, there will be a lively program of events and activities inspired by The Famous Five’s values – friendship, heroism, adventure, outdoors and daring. There are ‘Five Go on a Garden Adventure’ trails, and a delightful exhibition of Enid Blyton memorabilia, drop-in family craft workshops every weekday and Rosemoor is holding 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.
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
The RHS’s Liz Thwaite, 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 at Rosemoor will encourage children to help The Famous Five find Uncle Quentin, who has gone missing on a horticultural research mission. In addition to the trail, exhibition and craft activities there is a whole raft of other events taking place throughout the Summer Holidays.
All activities, with the exception of Outdoor Theatre, are included with normal garden admission, which is Free for RHS Members. For more information and to book garden admission tickets please visit www.rhs.org.uk/rosemoor.