RHS Teams-up with Worlds First Garden City

Wednesday 30 October 2013

Major new ‘Grow Your Own’ project will act as a model for sustainable gardening in the community

The Royal Horticultural Society and Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation are joining forces on an innovative community-focused programme which will create three new sustainable green spaces in the heart of the town.

It is hoped that the project will ultimately be used as a model for how communities, especially those in low-income areas, can best utilise their public green space for food production and to create affordable and attractive areas, which are a benefit to local wildlife as well as the community.

The initial stage will be delivered over the next year by both the RHS and Heritage Foundation, a charitable organisation which manages the Letchworth Garden City estate.

RHS Head of Regional Development, Andrea Van-Sittart said “This is such an exciting project and a great opportunity to work with the Heritage Foundation to build support for community gardening groups and volunteers, such as RHS Britain in Bloom volunteers and local schools, through to creating the gardens and providing training in the form of educational seminars.

“As the world’s leading horticultural charity, one of our key aims is to reach out and support grassroots gardening here in the UK and although this is still at a very early stage, we hope that we can apply some of our knowledge and resources to make the Letchworth programme a great success.”

John Lewis, Chief Executive of the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation said: “This is an exciting partnership which will look to deliver beautiful gardens at the heart of Letchworth Garden City’s town centre and lead to a range of projects to promote sustainable gardening in our community.”

The project will involve the creation of three new gardens including an allotment to demonstrate low-cost gardening, a biodiversity garden, with a focus on encouraging wildlife, and a sustainable garden where the emphasis will be on organic, pesticide and herbicide-free gardening. The gardens will include a number of information boards to supplement the learning and educational elements of the project.

Letchworth Garden City, an eight square mile area in North Hertfordshire, has a relatively high proportion of social housing (33%) compared with the national average of 19%. Part of the original concept of Garden City was creating a community that feeds itself and this aim has been reinvigorated through a growing demand to be self-sufficient due to increased awareness of issues like the distance food travels, the cost of food and the use of chemicals in global food production.


Notes to editors

For more information, please contact Ed Horne in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3356 / edhorne@rhs.org.uk  

Or Sara Gaines from Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, on 01462 476071 /

City Heritage Foundation
The Heritage Foundation is a self-funding charitable organisation re-investing for the long term benefit of communities in Letchworth Garden City. We are here to help maintain and enhance the Garden City, using income generated from our property portfolio to support, fund and promote activities within Letchworth communities.

Located 35 miles north of London, Letchworth is the world’s first Garden City. Created in 1903 the Garden City was planned to combine the best of ‘town and country’ living. Today with a population of 33,000 Letchworth retains many prominent features from the early Garden City including Arts & Crafts designed housing, tree lined streets, green open spaces, allotments and large gardens.


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. 209 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 www.rhs.org.uk/join  

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 www.rhs.org.uk

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262