Alan Titchmarsh Chelsea Garden to Bloom on London Estate

Monday 16 June 2014

Alan Titchmarsh and Kate Gould’s RHS garden re-planted by homeless people in RHS Britain in Bloom community

On Saturday (June 14) more than 1100 plants from Alan Titchmarsh and Kate Gould’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show feature ‘From the Moors to the Sea: A Celebration of RHS Britain in Bloom’ are being planted in a Southwark estate.

They will be planted in the communal areas of White’s Grounds Estate to benefit local residents. Gardening trainees from a London homelessness charity project Putting Down Roots (PDR) will be helping with the planting. PDR is a project that helps homeless people gain skills, confidence and qualifications to increase their chances of finding employment.

World-renowned multi-RHS Chelsea Gold medallist Kate Gould is attending the planting session on Saturday with her partner Leo Baistow and is thrilled that her and Alan’s garden has been given back to a Bloom community and will have a lasting impact on local residents’ lives.

Kate said: “Chelsea showcases the best in horticulture but it is projects like this that demonstrate why horticulture matters. We’re so pleased that the plants are being re-homed in a Bloom community as part of such an important project, specifically chosen because of its extended benefits. Not only is it helping empower the homeless but the plants will stay with this community so hopefully inspire local residents to continue to involve themselves in gardening activity for years to come.”

PDR – a St Mungo’s Broadway initiative – is working with Business Improvement District Team London Bridge to undertake maintenance and improvement works on the White’s Grounds Estate with a strong emphasis on encouraging residents to get involved by hosting regular gardening workshops with adults and children.

Henry Johnstone from Team London Bridge said: “We're absolutely thrilled. The tireless effort by Putting Down Roots, Leathermarket JMB gardeners and local residents has meant that many of the plants have already been planted – the result being a dramatic and much welcomed improvement to the estate gardens. Through projects like these, funded by Team London Bridge and the Peter De Haan Charitable Trust, we are benefitting so many in the community, not just those that live on the estates but those who St Mungo’s Broadway support through their programmes and it provides local businesses with an opportunity to contribute.”

For Jim Adamson, a resident of White’s Grounds, the donation has been hugely appreciated: “I have lived on the estate for 15 years and this has been a dream of mine for the last 6. The project is superb and next year, once the plants have settled after all the moving they've done recently, the full vista in bloom will be quite spectacular. The community have all been very involved and even the children have formed a mini garden police patrol, ensuring that no one touches their plants! It really wouldn't be possible without everyone in the community from Team London Bridge to the mini-horticulturalists who live here working together - it's a team effort.”
Stephanie Eynon, RHS Community Horticulture Manager, said: “We’re so pleased these plants have found such a wonderful new home. What an inspiring project – so encouraging to see different elements of the community working together for the benefit of all residents and the great thing is this is happening in thousands of RHS Britain in Bloom communities across the UK.”

To find out more about the power of community gardening or to join more than 3,900 RHS Britain in Bloom groups already involved, visit:


Notes to editors

For more information about RHS Britain in Bloom, please contact Ed Horne in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3356 or email  

For more information about Team London Bridge, please contact: Henry Johnstone 020 7407 4701  

RHS Britain in Bloom:
History: The idea came from journalist Roy Hay MBE who went to France during the Fleurissement de France and was enthralled by seeing the country "filled to overflowing with flowers, shrubs and trees all in full bloom".

Bloom started as a way to attract visitors to the UK by the British Tourist Authority. In 1964 Bath was the first national winner. From 1964 to 1969 inclusive there was an overall national winner. From 1970, however, the competition was divided up into a range of categories, because of the difficulty of comparing settlements of different sizes fairly.

Tidy Britain ran Bloom from 1983 until 2001 when it was handed over to the RHS. Since then, Bloom has become a major campaign which brings communities together to enhance the look, feel and pride of a place. The RHS has increased the campaign’s focus on environmental and community-based activities.

RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood: In 2006, the RHS launched a new non-competitive programme for Bloom – ‘RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood’ (IYN) which has gone from strength to strength. Aimed at small, volunteer-led communities, such as youth groups, allotment groups or school gardening clubs, IYN is for any group just starting to green up and clean up their local area.

When IYN started there were 342 registrations. There are now 1,985. In fact, there has been a 20% increase since last year. The rapid growth of IYN is testament to how much British people care about the environment in which they live whether it be rural Surrey or inner-city Edinburgh.

Scale and impact: There are 3,900 RHS Britain in Bloom groups (including IYN groups) and we estimate there to be up to 300,000 volunteers that belong to these groups. Bloom is helping change both the socio-economic and physical landscape of the country. Recent research shows that on average, groups look after 110 acres of green space each (compared to just 10 acres in 2010). It is estimated that UK-wide, Bloom volunteers have transformed an area equivalent to 2,000 football pitches of neglected land, usually crime hotspots used by fly-tippers, into community growing spaces.

About RHS Britain in Bloom
RHS Britain in Bloom is the UK’s largest community gardening campaign, involving up to 300,000 people. In 2014, the campaign celebrates its 50th anniversary as Britain’s favourite gardening campaign. As part of RHS Britain in Bloom – and its sister campaign, RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood – volunteers in cities, towns, villages, urban communities and neighbourhoods work together to improve their local environment, using gardening as a tool.
To find out more, visit:  

About Team London Bridge
London Bridge combines rich history and a cutting edge future and is fast becoming one of the best places to do business in the capital. Team London Bridge serves as the Business Improvement District (BID) for London Bridge. The BID provides safety and security services, connections, area marketing, responsible business initiatives and public realm improvements to make London Bridge the capital’s best managed and most desirable business destination.

The 'Estates in Bloom' initiative is part of an over-arching approach to become the most responsible business district in London. Projects such as this contribute to an increasing Green Infrastructure in London Bridge; representing an approach to land use that has a critical role in meeting many of the social, environmental and economic challenges we face today. This is achieved through its multifunctional and connected nature and underpinned by the concept of ‘ecosystem services’, which recognises the many benefits that are generated by natural ecosystems, including flood alleviation, climate adaptation, visual enhancement, recreation, biodiversity and food production.

About Putting Down Roots
Putting Down Roots is a gardening project run by charity St Mungo’s Broadway for people who are currently homeless or have been in the past, or who are at risk of becoming homeless.
Trainees work in hostel grounds, public parks and on our own allotments, developing gardening skills, growing vegetables and carrying out hard landscaping and building projects. We have many types of garden, so everyone can take part and find something enjoyable to do - whatever their abilities or physical difficulties.
The main emphasis is to support our clients to gain skills, qualifications, paid and voluntary work. Volunteers make a real contribution to the local environment and the surrounding community. Putting Down Roots also works with clients across our mental health projects.
St Mungo's Broadway provides a bed and support to more than 2,500 people a night who are either homeless or at risk, and works to prevent homelessness, helping about 25,000 people a year. We support men and women through more than 200 projects including emergency, hostel and supportive housing projects, advice services, specialist physical health, mental health and skills and work services.

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood for the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture. We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity.

Today the RHS is committed to providing a voice for all gardeners. We are driven by a simple love of plants and a belief that gardeners make the world a better place. 210 years on we continue to safeguard and advance the science, art and practice of horticulture, creating displays that inspire people to garden. In all aspects of our work we help gardeners develop by sharing our knowledge of plants, gardens and the environment.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit  

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262