Olympic Designer Named Royal Horticultural Society Ambassador

Thursday 26 May 2016

Professor Nigel Dunnett to spearhead campaign to halt the march of concrete

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has announced that Professor Nigel Dunnett, one of UK’s foremost landscape designers, is to become an RHS Ambassador with a special focus on the charity’s Greening Grey Britain campaign.

Professor Dunnett came to national prominence when, together with collaborator James Hitchmough, he was appointed principal planting designer and horticultural consultant for the London Olympic Park.

He joins Alan Titchmarsh, Mary Berry, Nick Knowles, Chris Beardshaw, Jekka McVicar, Adam Frost, George Hassall, Jamie Butterworth and newly appointed Baroness Floella Benjamin as an RHS Ambassador.

An award winning garden designer whose achievements include four RHS Chelsea Flower show gardens, including a Gold Medal winning design, Nigel created the charity’s flagship RHS ‘Greening Grey Britain’ garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in 2015.

Firmly established at the forefront of innovative ideas and techniques in ecological design and landscape planting, Nigel is Professor of Planting Design and Urban Horticulture, at the University of Sheffield.

Speaking about his appointment Nigel said: “The Greening Grey Britain initiative is so exciting because it brings to life the changes that individuals, communities, organisations, local and central government can play in transforming our surroundings for the benefit of all – for now and for future generations. I am honoured to be asked by the RHS to play a role in this campaign.

“Horticulture and gardens need to be at the forefront of addressing the huge challenges of climate-change and rapidly increasing urbanisation. We need a revolution in the way we see our cities, so that widespread greening is not only sustainable and beneficial, but beautiful and fulfilling too.

“We need to take a new approach to reviving gardens and green spaces so that they are seen as vital assets, and not a burden. We need to see gardens as essential elements in the future health of ourselves and our surroundings, but more than this, we need exciting and innovative horticulture to leap the garden fence and fill our urban places with vitality.

“That’s what’s so exciting about this role, we have the opportunity to look at gardens, gardening and horticulture from a new, fresh and exciting perspective.”

RHS Director General Sue Biggs said: “In a recent Ipsos MORI poll only 10% of people said growing plants in their front gardens was an activity they would like to get involved in, while 73% said greener streets would make them feel happier; 59% said they would feel healthier and 58% said they would feel calmer with planted areas along roads.

“It’s clear that there is a real appetite to do more to green our communities and unlock the many benefits that plants bring, but how do we bridge the gap between desire and action?

“We believe that having someone with the skill, knowledge and imagination of Nigel flying the flag for this issue will help us understand how wide that gap is and the most effective way to bridge it.

“Nigel’s appointment sends out the powerful message that this issue is too important to ignore and that the RHS will do all we can to confront it in engaging, innovative and sustainable ways.”

For more information, please contact Garfield Myrie in the RHS Press Office
on 020 7821 3060 or garfieldmyrie@rhs.org.uk


Notes to editors

Images of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show are available to download at www.photoshelter.com
lease email the RHS Press Office at showspr@rhs.org.uk for instructions on how to create an account.

Full details of all exhibitors are available on the RHS Media Centre. Please visit http://press.rhs.org.uk/

To apply for media accreditation to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show from January 2016, please visit http://press.rhs.org.uk/

Chelsea Flower Show (24 – 28 May 2016)
23 May Press Day
24 – 25 May RHS members only
26 – 28 May RHS members and non-members

24 – 27 May 8am – 8pm
28 May 8am – 5.30pm (sell off starts at 4pm)

Venue: Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London SW3 4SL

To book tickets 0844 338 7546* or www.rhs.org.uk/chelsea
* Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.

Ticket prices range from £23 to £68

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener, healthier, happier and more beautiful place. We believe everyone in every village, town and city should benefit from growing plants to enhance lives, build stronger, healthier, happier communities and create better places to live.

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. At our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants, promote the value of gardens, demonstrate how gardening is good for us and explain the vital roles that plants undertake.

The RHS is committed to bring the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspire the next generation of gardeners and invest in the future to safeguard a £10.4 billion industry employing more than 300,000 people. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and help us secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 020 3176 5820, 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