RHS Escalates Campaign to get the UK Greening Grey Front Gardens as New Research Reveals Challenges

Thursday 26 May 2016

• In a recent Ipsos MORI poll*, interviewing 2,067 people, only 10% said growing plants in their front gardens was an activity they would like to get involved with

• Space needed for cars, the front garden being too small for plants, lack of time and hard work were given as the top barriers for people not growing more plants in their front gardens

• RHS launches new Front Garden Guide in response to findings to help tackle the critical trend to pave front gardens and not include plants**

• RHS to host first Front Garden Summit with Alan Titchmarsh, Greg Clark MP, RHS Director General Sue Biggs and landscapers, planners and councils***

• 73% say greener streets would make them feel happier; 59% say they would feel healthier and 58% say they would feel calmer with planted areas along roads

• The garden feature ‘RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden for Health, Happiness and Horticulture’ at RHS Chelsea Flower Show shares ideas for front gardens and community spaces

The Royal Horticultural Society is escalating its Greening Grey Britain campaign at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show (24–28 May) as new research highlights the perceived barriers that prevent people from greening-up their front gardens and a lack of desire to grow plants in them.

Despite people saying that greener streets would make them feel, happier, healthier and calmer, when asked what activities they would most like to get involved with, just 10% of respondents said they would like to grow plants in their own front gardens.

Lack of space was the top reason people gave as stopping them from having more plants, with most saying they needed the space for cars, followed by not enough time and that its too much hard work to grow and maintain greenery.

The RHS has created a new Front Garden Guide, featuring smaller outside spaces, with achievable planting ideas for novice gardeners in response to the findings. The guide includes the time it will take to maintain the planting and is available at www.rhs.org.uk/ggb for individuals and organisations to use and promote.

RHS Director General Sue Biggs says: “We want estate agents, garden centres, housing associations, councils and as many people as possible to access and share the Front Garden Guide.

“We must promote that you can have parking and plants. Greener front gardens don’t need to be complicated or time consuming to help brighten our streets and make us all feel better.”

Nearly six in ten (57%) people with grey driveways or front gardens said that they would not be encouraged to grow more greenery in their front garden even if there were initiatives such as more available parking on streets or more information about the benefits.

Sue continues: “We have an even bigger challenge ahead than we originally thought, and the state of our front gardens begs the question, ‘What happened to our nation of gardeners?’ Today more than 5 million front gardens have no plants growing in them, and 7.24 million are nearly totally paved over**.

“We must get the UK’s front gardens blooming for our health and wellbeing, to improve the environment and to help reduce flooding risks, but we can’t do it alone.

“We’re bringing together planners, councils, leading garden designers, well-known horticulturists and MPs for the first Greening Grey Britain Front Garden Summit on 24 May to find solutions to help us secure a future with greener, more beautiful streets. We can all make a difference, one plant at a time.”

The summit will be available for anyone to watch live between 5pm and 7pm on Tuesday 24 May www.rhs.org.uk/frontgardensummit

The RHS Greening Grey Britain campaign aims to reverse the trend to pave over front gardens and not grow plants in them, and to turn more grey spaces into green, planted up places. People can make a promise to green over the grey at rhs.org.uk/ggb

Geening Grey Britain at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

At the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the Society’s garden feature ‘RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden for Health, Happiness and Horticulture’ is a front garden with elements that can be used as inspiration for front gardens or community spaces. Well-known gardeners and presenters have created Greening Grey Britain containers to feature on the garden, to show no matter how small your outside space there’s always room for plants.

TV presenter Nicki Chapman has grown Osteospermum, variegated thyme and Verbena in her container, while well-known gardener and TV presenter Toby Buckland has planned a seasonal bedding plant extravaganza with bursts of bright colours.

Another of Britain’s best-loved gardeners and TV presenters, Carol Klein, has created a container out of recycled materials; her plants include sweet rocket (Hesperis matronalis) and flowering parsley plants.

For more information, please contact Hayley Monckton in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3688, email pressoffice@rhs.org.uk or text 07764787037

 

-Ends-

Notes to editors

*Ipsos MORI survey conducted on behalf of the RHS. Results based on interviews with a sample of 2,067 ritish adults aged 15+. Face-to-face interviews undertaken between 11 March and 10 April 2016.

• 73% say planted areas along roads and streets would make them feel happier
• 57% say planted areas along roads and streets would make them feel healthier
• 58% say planted areas along streets would make them feel calmer
• 72% agreed that planted areas along roads and streets would make them feel proud of where they lived
• Those with a driveway or front garden but which is either completely paved over or has greenery on less than 75% of its space were asked what stops them from growing more plants in their front gardens.
 28% say their driveway or front garden is too small for cars and greenery
 A further 17% of people with a driveway or front garden say their garden is too small generally for greenery
 14% of people with a driveway or front garden say they don’t have time to grow and maintain greenery

**2015 Ipsos MORI Poll to 1,492 people in the UK aged 15+ with front gardens (6–22 March 2015) and 2005 MORI Poll to 1,723 people in the UK aged 15+ with front gardens (19–23 May 2005) showed three times as many front gardens are paved over compared to 10 years ago, a total increase of 15 square miles of ‘grey’, and that plant cover in front gardens has decreased by as much as 15%. More than 5 million front gardens now have no plants growing in them, 7.24 million are nearly totally paved over and 4.5 million front gardens are completely paved over.

***2016 RHS Greening Grey Britain Front Garden Summit will take place on Tuesday 24 May between 5pm and 7pm. Spaces are extremely limited, but press interested in attending should email pressoffice@rhs.org.uk
You can also watch the summit here: www.rhs.org.uk/frontgardensummit and find details on the speakers.

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 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, through our scientific research, website, publications, libraries, education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants. We’re committed to promoting the value of gardens, demonstrating how gardening is good for us and explaining the vital roles that plants play in a sustainable world.

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