We’ve been celebrating the Chelsea Flower Show this week and it’s been incredibly encouraging to see how much focus, as you might imagine, is being placed on sustainability. In particular, we’ve seen the creation of the COP26 Garden to herald the upcoming meeting between major nations.
According to the designers of this garden, Marie-Louise and Balston Agius, its creation acknowledges the forthcoming 26th UN climate change conference being hosted by the UK in Glasgow in October, whilst the design itself seeks to highlight the important role that gardens and green spaces can play in the protection of the planet and people’s well-being.
It also seeks to demonstrate the ways in which we can all mitigate the effects of climate change by becoming more “environmentally aware” and eschewing “negative garden practices, such as paved-over gardens, lack of pollinating plants and chemical use”, in favour of green front gardens, diverse planting including drought-tolerant gardens, wild-life meadows, and green initiatives which avoid the use of chemicals.
COP26 High Level Climate Action Champion Nigel Topping said: “2020 is the year for us all to become climate champions and the start of a decade in which we reduce emissions by at least 50 per cent. This will require each one of us pushing our actions to the limit, then taking another step.”
Most of us would agree that these are noble aspirations that we should all endeavour to achieve through our own garden practices. However, unless you were made aware of the designers’ intentions beforehand, their endeavours to illustrate four main themes of Decline, Adaptation, Mitigation and Balance within various areas of the garden may have been lost on the casual observer meandering through the garden.
It’s a rare privilege for ordinary members (even RHS members) of the public to be allowed to walk through a designer’s garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, as in the case of the COP26 garden.
But the opportunity to linger is limited as people are required to keep moving, and whilst they can enjoy the beauty of many areas of the garden, its intended overall philosophy, for many visitors, may have been difficult to decipher.
That said, the structural design of the garden and the planting combinations are without doubt both creative and inspirational, and the wildlife and vegetable gardens provide clear, simple messages about sustainability that we can all appreciate.
To read more about our take on RHS Chelsea Flower Show click here: