Gardeners commemorate WW1 Centenary


Image courtesy of Chelsea Physic Garden: Charlie Hopkinson

New forests, poppy fields and a Ration Garden are amongst the gardening events set to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

Together they form part of a programme of community commemorative events marking key milestones of the War, coordinated by The Imperial War Museum, which will be opening its own new WW1 galleries later this month.

A tree-planting project launched by The Woodland Trust is already underway, with sites across the British Isles being planted with new centenary forests designed to be both tranquil spaces for reflection and havens for wildlife. Donations to the project are requested.

From the beginning of this month, Kew Gardens’, Plants, People and the Products of War exhibition will feature artefacts, photographs and writings from the Kew archives, highlighting the Gardens’ involvement in the War, from the rise of women gardeners to the perils of collecting plant specimens on the battlefield.

The centenary will be marked at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh  by a poppy field planted to flower at this time,while the Shrewsbury Flower Show (8-9th August), cancelled in 1914, includes an event featuring a thousand young volunteers dressed as poppies.

During the War, gardens were created both to raise funds and to celebrate victories. Somewhat further afield, The Call to Duty exhibition in Brisbane in August will commemorate the Allies’ Garden City carnival hosted there from December 1916 to January 1917.

This month, Bradford YMCA is recreating a YMCA hut, 4000 of which were used to support soldiers and workers during the War, together with a Ration Garden and Chelsea Physic Garden is offering free entry for Chelsea Pensioners. The Peabody Housing Group London is creating a small garden spelling out WW1 which will be used for services of remembrance in November.

Further details can be found at

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