RHS Greening Grey Britain Campaign expanded to

recognise important work of RHS’s army of gardeners
by RHS
April 7, 2019

• RHS army of gardeners add 22 million plants to gardens each year*, benefiting wildlife, the environment and health and wellbeing

• Area of plants added by 500,000 members size of 350 football pitches**

• RHS Members plant equivalent of 98 hectares of forest per year***

• RHS Bloom and It’s Your Neighbourhood Groups plant 176,006 trees, 966,065 shrubs and 10,606 bulbs****

• New survey reveals RHS members’ gardening activities as the charity expands its campaign to promote growing more plants in any environment

The RHS is expanding its Greening Grey Britain campaign to Greening Great Britain to promote that growing more plants in any setting is vital for the environment and our health and wellbeing.

A new survey* has revealed the extent of RHS members’ gardening activities and the broadened campaign, which still encompasses the importance of greening the grey, better recognises the significant impact they are making by adding some 22 million* plants to their gardens each year and the wider work of the Charity.

The area of new plants grown by RHS members last year is the size of 350 football pitches.** Within the 22 million plants, at least 157,270 trees were introduced, creating the equivalent of 98 hectares of forest.***

Sue Biggs, RHS Director General, says: “We know most of our members are active gardeners, but these figures are stunning and exceeded our expectations with the amount, and diversity, of plants they are adding each year. This is immensely positive for wildlife, the environment and numerous other benefits, including cooling local areas in summer, flood protection, air quality improvement, noise reduction and wellbeing benefits.”

Some 77% of members chose plants for bees, with 44% also saying they selected plants for other pollinators. Only 15% of members didn’t choose any plants with wildlife in mind.

Thousands of Bloom volunteers also continually enhance established community gardens. RHS Bloom and It’s Your Neighbourhood Groups plant 176,006 trees, 966,065 shrubs and 10,606 bulbs per year.**** The RHS is likewise bringing more horticultural highlights to the RHS’s four gardens and is currently creating of a whole new garden in Bridgewater in Salford.

Visitors to RHS Gardens last year bought just under a million garden plants including trees, shrubs, herbaceous roses and alpines, on top of this they purchased over one million bulbs and over 110,000 packets of seeds.

Sue finishes: “Without the plants our gardeners grow we would have fewer insects, wildlife, bees, beauty and benefits to the environment.

“We would have less nature, seasonality and colour in our front and back gardens; and if we didn’t have our ‘army of gardeners’ we wouldn’t have the rich and beautiful diversity we are so famed for and so good at maintaining.

“Through Greening Great Britain with all our amazing supporters we’ll continue to champion why gardening and growing more plants matters.”

The survey found that 96% of members believe in the health benefits of gardening and 95% view that gardening is beneficial to the environment.

The RHS’s 500,000 Members are also happy to share their gardening knowledge, with nearly 80% having helped family or friends with gardening needs.

Since the RHS launched its’ Greening Grey Britain Campaign in 2015, the Greening Grey Britain Report has been raised in The London Assembly, the charity held a Front Garden Summit in 2016 where policymakers, developers, planners and landscapers discussed solutions to start making a difference and 128 grants have been giving to communities to turn grey spaces green. The RHS hosted a conference at Tatton Park Flower Show in 2018 to highlight the importance of greening urban spaces and its last three gardens from RHS Chelsea Flower Show have all transformed grey spaces to green after the show.

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