Plants enrich lives, have the capacity to lift our spirits and can help the nation become happier and healthier. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) garden at RHS Chelsea Flower
Show 2016 (24–28 May), sponsored by M&G Investments, will champion the health and wellbeing benefits of greening-up our grey spaces.
At an RHS press conference held today, the RHS released details of the ‘RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden for Health, Happiness and Horticulture’ designed by leading garden designer and BBC presenter, Ann-Marie Powell.
Greening Grey Britain is an RHS call to action to get the nation to transform hard, cold grey areas into living planted-up beautiful places, to improve lives and help the environment. To date, more than 1,300 people have pledged to plant up an area of grey to green, helping the RHS reach its target of 6,000 pledges by the end of 2017.
Ann-Marie Powell’s colourful front-garden design celebrates the health and wellbeing benefits of Greening Grey Britain. With bright borders to lift the spirit, benches to relax and share a chat on, soothing water features, a bee-friendly perennial meadow, edible plants in pots and a stylish kitchen garden, ideas contained within this front-garden setting can be incorporated both in private and community gardens.
Ann-Marie Powell says: “Gardens and gardening do more good to heart and soul than they are ever given credit for, and I’m delighted to be helping the RHS shout about this at the world-famous flower show. It’s important that my take on a front-garden theme is full of take-home ideas both for individuals and for communities, and I hope it will inspire visitors and viewers to get involved in Greening Grey Britain. Too many people are paving over their front gardens but anybody can have a beautiful front garden.”
Following along the same theme, Jekka McVicar, author, broadcaster and organic gardening expert – who Jamie Oliver nicknamed ‘Queen of Herbs’ – is creating Show Garden ‘A Modern Apothecary’ for St John’s Hospice. Jekka uses plants selected for their medical practices, which will later be recycled to the hospice.
The inspiration for Jekka’s garden came from conversations with doctors and care professionals about what we can do to improve our own health within the context of gardens and plants, as well as the healing power of plants and the quote by Hippocrates, ‘Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.’
‘Healthy gardens, healthy gardeners’ by Coventry University will feature in the Discovery Zone in the Great Pavilion. The exhibit will explore how gardening can be a form of exercise, if undertaken in the correct manner. The interactive feature will be a gardener in a motion-capture suit performing typical gardening activities, with a screen showing how hard the gardener’s muscles are working.
Health, Happiness and Horticulture is incorporated in several designs at RHS Chelsea. Chris Beardshaw’s collaboration with Morgan Stanley is a distinctive Show Garden that will be relocated to the heart of Great Ormond Street Hospital after the show as a therapeutic space for parents. Charlie Albone’s design for Husqvarna is inspired by the healing effect and solace found whilst being in a garden. Alison Doxey and Stephen Welch have designed ‘The Garden Bed’ as a green space for hospice patients and Paul Martin is creating a Show Garden for Vestra Wealth as a calm space to relax in after a busy day.