RHS to fight concrete jungle with 6,000 greening projects

by Alice Wright

Cody Dock, credit Michael Bowles

A new campaign by the Royal Horticultural Society aims to transform 6,000 neglected spaces into green and beautiful places for the benefit of local people and the environment.

The Britain in Bloom campaign, Greener Streets: Better Lives, will revitalise unloved, grey areas by planting millions of trees, perennials, shrubs and hedges across the UK over the next three years. A 300,000-strong army of volunteers is expected to get involved with the mission, and the RHS will also give communities 250,000 nasturtium seeds to kick start the campaign.

The campaign is part of a wider RHS call to action, Greening Grey Britain, which aims to address the creeping loss of green spaces across the nation’s towns, cities and villages.

Britain in Bloom 2015 was launched this month by RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold medal-winning designers Adam Frost and Chris Beardshaw and RHS Ambassador Nick Knowles at the campaign’s very first site – Cody Dock in East London.

A team of 2,000 volunteers have worked to transform the derelict dock on the river Lea. Adam, Chris and Nick joined volunteers to help clear and plant the final section, creating a flower-packed riverside walk.

Further RHS ‘greening’ projects will take place across the UK.

Adam said: “Projects can range from planting along public walls, and revitalising bald roundabouts or neglected verges with nasturtium seeds, to using planters and raised beds to brighten up a concrete corner, or creating a community garden with friends. While the proposition is simple, the possibilities are huge.”

RHS Director General Sue Biggs said: “Greener Streets: Better Lives is a public challenge to create new colourful havens for wildlife and fight the developing concrete jungle in a beautiful way. Even a solitary pot of bee-friendly chives on an outside ledge can create feelings of connection to the environment, and just sprinkling a packet of forget-me-not seeds on a patch of brown earth can be rewarding.

To register for Greener Streets: Better Lives, download ideas and resources, and apply for free nasturtium seeds, visit rhs.org.uk/GreenerStreetsBetterLives or call 020 7821 3122.

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