How to get into the spirit of the Chelsea Flower Show 2020
The Chelsea Flower Show 2020 is still a little while off but it won’t be long before the fragrant florals, daring designs, experimental exhibits and blooming displays (and not to forget the hats!) bursts onto our screens. If the wait still seems too long, here are five ways to get into the spirit of the Chelsea Flower Show 2020.
Combat climate change
The RHS announced earlier this year that climate change will take centre stage at the Chelsea Flower Show. On the RHS website, it states that “as the climate crisis continues to escalate, a number of global brands and garden designers will use the world’s most famous flower show as a platform to encourage a future where we live in harmony with nature” as opposed to battling against it. The scorching summer of 2018, the Beast From The East, recent nationwide floodings as well as worldwide devastations such as wildfires and melting glaciers have all helped to wake us up to the realities of a changing climate. Even though digging dirt, sowing seeds and growing fruit and veg can’t stop this phenomena in its tracks, there are things that we can do to mitigate the negative impacts.
In a drought, mulching helps to improve soil structure and lock in moisture. What’s more, mulching using a homemade compost that has been created from kitchen scraps also helps to keep vegetative matter out of landfill – cutting carbon emissions. You should also plant drought-tolerant plants such as carrots, beets, parsnips and Mediterranean herbs.
Heavy rainfall can cause considerable damage to our gardens. Even if it does not lead to flooding (which should be tackled with sandbags – so make sure to stock up on these), heavily waterlogged plants can rot and die off. Digging in drainage, putting in water butts, tanks and other things such as gravel and planting rain gardens will help the water to run off, be absorbed and do as little damage as possible. Collecting rainfall during these rainy periods comes in useful during a later drought, especially if hosepipe bans or restrictions have been put in place.
Finally, due to our warmer winters, pollinators such as honey bees, solitary bees and hoverflies are waking up earlier but because of the lack of flowers, are dying off. We can help our struggling garden-visiting friends by making sure our gardens are in bloom all year round.
Create green space in cities
The UN has predicted that 68% of the world will live in urban areas by 2050 – an increase from the current 55% (2018 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects). It is with these sort of statistics in mind that award-winning design duo Hugo Bugg and Charlotte Harris have designed a residential garden for show sponsor M&G. The garden is all about creating green spaces in cities for both people and the planet and has plants well-suited to built-up places. Take a leaf out of their book and make urban spaces greener. Live in a city? You could get an allotment, join a local gardening club or grow fruits and veggies in pots outside front doors, on balconies and patios.
Plant a tree
The Facebook Garden: Growing The Future has tasked itself with tackling deforestation. Its mission is to increase the UK’s tree cover and for better woodland management. According to the Woodland Trust, forests, and trees in general, are our best weapon against climate change. This is because trees capture harmful atmospheric carbon and keep it locked up for centuries. We can do our bit to combat climate change by planting a tree in the garden. The best time to plant a tree is from October to April but container-grown ones can be planted all year round. It goes without saying that different trees have different purposes and needs. Trees with nuts and berries, such as hazel, are better at attracting wildlife whereas alder and willow work to reduce flooding. Whatever tree you decide to go for, make sure it suits the size and soil in your garden, so do your research beforehand.
Growers and nurseries exhibiting in the Great Pavilion are going peat-free and adopting other sustainable growing practices in order to reduce their impact on the environment. Unfortunately, the government target agreed with the sector to phase out peat has been missed and there’s a huge concern that the bogs will soon be gone. Peat is a precious resource because it stores, on average, ten times more carbon per hectare than even trees and is also a haven for (often endangered) wildlife, birds and insects. In short, if peat disappears, the world will be in even more trouble. However, most garden centres, online stores and shops still stock lots of products with peat in them. We can make a difference by asking for peat-free alternatives, making our own compost and using other growing mediums.
There’s no better way to get into the spirit of the world’s most famous flower show than growing blooms in our own back yard. What’s more, floristry at Chelsea is having a huge overhaul in 2020. Get in on the action by making plans to plant lots of flowers. There are loads to choose from: from flowers with medicinal properties, such as marigolds and chamomile, to flowers grown for their beautiful blooms and wow-factor, such as roses, lilies and sunflowers.
For more information about the Chelsea Flower Show click here.
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