RHS calls for wartime veg plot photos

Thursday 10 January 2019

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is calling on people to submit photos of their wartime vegetable gardens as it gets ready to mark 80 years since the outbreak of World War II and the Dig for Victory campaign.

 The charity will display advisory material and wartime propaganda that inspired people to grow more food to supplement ration-book diets at its library and gardens in the autumn and will include photos of families’ own gardens and allotments.

The RHS began working with the Ministry of Agriculture on the Dig for Victory campaign at the point at which war broke out in 1939, having already begun making detailed plans in preparation for war in 1938. Advice was distributed via pamphlets, leaflets and exhibition packs that toured towns and villages across the country and included guides to cultivating vegetables all year round, the storing of produce and making a compost heap.

With wartime shortages gardeners had to show a great deal of ingenuity, creating vegetable plots in unlikely places. Employees at the Wolsey Motors in Birmingham made cloches out of scrap car windscreens for their workplace allotment. By 1943 it was estimated that around 55% of households were growing fruit and vegetables and their efforts made an important contribution to the nation’s health.

Fiona Davison, Head of Libraries and Collections at the Royal Horticultural Society, said: “RHS information and advice helped get a nation growing at a time when food supplies were at an historic low. Many are likely to recall parents and relatives turning previously unloved plots into efficient and prolific green spaces. We’re asking the public to share those pictures and memories with us so we can celebrate the contribution of gardening to our wartime history.”

Photos and additional information for the Dig for Victory exhibit should be sent to libraryenquirieslondon@rhs.org.uk.

Dig for Victory will be on display at RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey, RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon, RHS Garden Hyde Hall in Essex and RHS Garden Harlow Carr in Yorkshire from 14th October – 17th November. For more information visit www.rhs.org.uk.


Notes to editors

For more information please contact Laura Scruby in the RHS press office: laurascruby@rhs.org.uk / 0207 821 3060

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society, the world’s leading gardening charity, was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. This aspiration underpins all that we do, from inspirational gardens and shows, through our scientific research, to our education and community programmes such as Campaign for School Gardening and Britain in Bloom. We produce key publications, hold a world-class collection of horticultural books and botanical art, and sell the very best plants and gardening gifts.

We are currently investing over £160 million into the future of horticulture, which includes redeveloping our flagship RHS Garden Wisley and opening a new garden, RHS Garden Bridgewater, in 2020. We are solely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. For more information visit www.rhs.org.uk.

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