Wednesday, 25 July 2012 10:33
25 July 2012
Britain's Grassroots Gardeners Go for Gold
RHS Britain in Bloom Finals 2012 National Judging Tour (30 July - 10 August)
Over a period of just two weeks, fourteen Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Judges will be assessing over 1,100 acres of public space to find Britain's most beautiful and environmentally responsible locations, in the ultimate gardening challenge.
The 72 finalists were picked from several thousand entries in RHS Britain in Bloom 2012, the UK's biggest environmental campaign, and will be making final preparations for the tour which begins on 30 July until 10 August.
From major industrial cities like Wigan and Leeds to small villages such as Bray and Scarva, each finalist represents its region/nation and aims to impress the RHS Britain in Bloom National Judges and win its category1. Judges assess horticultural achievement, community participation and environmental responsibility. Projects to be assessed include wildlife conservation areas and public spaces such as parks and community gardens. Everything from the sustainability of a planting scheme to the cleanliness of a street bench, including how much the community engages local schools, will come under inspection.
Roger Burnett, Chair of the RHS Britain in Bloom UK Judging Panel, said: "Our finalists have had to endure difficult weather conditions and ongoing council cuts. But this is why I'm even more excited than normal, because I love seeing the imaginative ways communities overcome challenges. It was reported that groups were pulling out of Britain in Bloom because of these problems but, in fact, we've had a ten percent increase in the number of groups signing up, making it a record year for ‘Bloom'. Nothing fazes our volunteers and RHS Britain in Bloom 2012 represents a sense of community spirit and endeavor which is an inspiration to us all."
With Roger at the helm, there are seven pairs of RHS Britain in Bloom National Judges2. Together they will travel the length and breadth of the UK and meet thousands of volunteers over a two-week period. The judges will be assessing many hundreds of community projects, checking whether these projects are environmentally responsible as well as visually impactful and beneficial to the community.
Each year, an estimated 200,000 volunteers contribute an average of around 44 hours per person to local Britain in Bloom activities. These volunteers - nearly three times the number involved in that London-based sporting event coming up - plant hundreds of thousands of trees, shrubs and plants to green-up and clean-up more than a million acres of public space. RHS research3 shows that their work is making an extraordinary difference to both the physical and socio-economic landscape of Britain.
Results will be announced on 6 October 2012 at a prestigious awards ceremony in St Peter Port, Guernsey. Finalists will be awarded RHS Gold, Silver-Gilt, Silver or Bronze medals. There is also an award for best in category, as well as special discretionary awards given for achieving excellence in particular fields.
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 09:55
25 July 2012
RHS Garden Rosemoor Wins Again
RHS Garden Rosemoor is once again celebrating after their restaurant was awarded "Best Restaurant" Wales and West Area Award by the Garden Centre Association
Many of the country's leading garden centres belong to the Garden Centre Association and each one has to achieve a high level of good business practice before they can be accepted as an Approved Member. To ensure that high standards are maintained, each garden centre is inspected annually.
The Rosemoor Garden Kitchen Restaurant prides itself on homemade food sourced locally and the menus reflect seasonal produce that is either grown in the garden at Rosemoor or by local farmers.
Dishes currently on the menu that incorporate Garden produce include: Garden Cauliflower and Barbers Cheddar Soup, Corn Fed Chicken with Shallot and Smoked Bacon Sauce, Belly of Pork with Homemade Apple Compote and Winkleigh Cider Gravy, Roasted Salmon with Sweet and Sour Cherry Tomatoes, Mushroom Risotto Cakes with a Garden Herb Cream Sauce & Homemade Panacotta with Garden Rhubarb Compote.
Rosemoor Garden is still riding high after winning top UK Garden in leading consumer magazine Which? Travel. Rosemoor was the top garden in the country scoring 91% and as such gains their Recommended Provider accolade. This award is given to companies that score well above average in their member surveys, and also meet other specific consumer-focussed criteria.
Friday, 20 July 2012 16:38
It was a very wet day when we visited Hampton Court Flower Show but it didn't put off the crowds.
As we walked in we were greeted by the wonderful tunes of 'Casa Blanca Steps' a 1920's music group who were playing at the main bandstand. This lifted the mood and brought a smile to everyones face. Their joyful tunes must have also brought the sunshine out. We got several hours of sunshine to enjoy the shows full glory.
Here were some of the show highlights:
Hampton RHS Floral Marquee
First stop was the RHS floral Marquee. The Floral Marquee which saw some amazing nursery displays.
A big suprise and highlight was the Craig House Cacti‘s stand. Craig won a Gold award for his display. The Huge cacti had amazing blooms that would make even the novice gardener consider owning a cactus plant.
Another mention should go to Jayne Thomas who created a garden that celebrated the Diamond Jubilee. Nestled amongst swathes of patriotic coloured planting and trees, there was seating area to sit and take refreshment. Little hard landscaping, lots of well crafted accessories and masses of pretty planting. She was also awarded a Gold Medal for her efforts.
Hampton promotes family gardening
Unlike its Chelsea counterpart, which bans the under-5’s, Hampton Court has always embraced families. Their was a display of scarecrows, designed by schoolchildren at the Palace Garden Gate, north side of the show ground that were a great addition to the show. Scarecrows were themed towards the 2012 Olympics. The scarecrows included rowers, cyclists fencers and footballers. The children's sense of humour was apparent with a paddling pool labelled beware of crocodiles and a paper mache diver ready to make the leap.
Low cost high impact gardens at Hampton Court
We were very impressed with some of the low cost high impact gardens. They demonstrate that a fixed budget is nor barrier to a stylish outdoor space.. Four garden designers showed just how much you could do on a limited budget by creating gardens that combined practicality with inspiration. Nilufer Danisof Landform Consultants, with £7,000 to spend, created a garden in a new home for a young professional couple who would have little spare cash. We still feel this may be a little high for the average first home buyer but at least it gets you thinking what a couple could try if they got out there and started digging.
The Rose Marquee at Hampton Court
At the rose garden there were 12 floristry exhibitors. The exhibitors made use of paintings and sculptures to provide a romantic feel. We were particularly impressed with the wedding dress of roses by Chichester College, Brinsbury Campus and the Romeo and Juliet scene produced by Wood College, Guilford Surrey, awarded gold for their efforts. Another great highlight was McKinlay Gibson's display, The Romance of the Masked Ball, that used an array of foliage and roses to create giant masks pf colour.
Photo's from the show
Thursday, 19 July 2012 08:23
GARDEN SHARING BENEFITS OLDER PEOPLE’S HEALTH AND COULD SAVE PUBLIC MONEY
An innovative garden-sharing project in Wandsworth has helped to improve the health and well-being of older people, and could potentially save the taxpayer thousands of pounds, according to a report from Age UK Wandsworth and NHS Wandsworth, published today (Tuesday 17 July).
The Garden Partners scheme, which was the first of its kind in the UK when it began in 2009, links older garden owners with volunteers for gardening and growing fruit and vegetables
together. The scheme has helped more than 60 garden owners to continue to be independent, helping them to remain in – and enjoy – their own homes for longer.
An independent evaluation found that many garden owners who took part in the scheme in 2011 said that their health had improved or remained stable as a result. One-third reported improved mobility and activity levels, while more than half said that anxiety had been reduced.
The greatest boost to the well-being of both garden owners and volunteers was the lasting friendship that had in many cases resulted from sharing the garden.
The scheme is backed by horticulturalist and broadcaster Christine Walkden, who said: “Garden Partners cultivates not only soil but people, friendships and lifelong relationships. The bringing together of people who need space to grow-their-own with older people who have land to spare is a fantastic idea, in the long term benefiting mind, body and soul.”
The project could also help to save on high-cost health and social services for older people. Using standard health and social care costings, researchers estimated that as much as £30,000 per person each year could be saved through fewer GP visits, hospital admissions avoided and reduced need for home care.
Taking just those older people in the survey who reported improvements to their health, researchers calculated a potential saving in one year to the NHS of £113,748. If the estimate was widened to include older people whose health got no worse, this gave a potential annual saving of £500,223.It is not only the garden owners who find the scheme rewarding. The volunteers, who commit a minimum of two hours a week to the scheme, also noted benefits such as the pleasure of assisting somebody else, and the way that gardening helped to relieve the stress and tension of their daily working lives.
Tuesday, 17 July 2012 20:07
Pic: Designer Chris Beardshaw - "an ambitious and exciting project"
Power of community gardening shown to 650,000 flower show visitors
The power of community gardening has been shown to more than 650,000 RHS flower show visitors this summer through a series of challenging Urban Oasis gardens designed by Chelsea Gold Medal winner Chris Beardshaw.
The last garden in the series, unveiled this week at the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show, marks the conclusion of an ambitious partnership between environmental charity Groundwork and the Royal Horticultural Society to raise awareness of the difference community gardeners are making across the UK. The exhibit, sponsored by Marks & Spencer, will be on show at Tatton Park from July 18-22.
Beardshaw’s Urban Oasis gardens mark the first time a landscape designer has produced an exhibit for every RHS show in a season and showcase some of the most challenging urban environments where gardening, community work and good quality landscape design have brought people together and yielded powerful social benefits.
The Tatton Park Urban Oasis looks at ways of improving the space between streets of terraced housing. Back alleys, often used simply as a place for bins or hanging out washing, can – when gated at each end – have massive potential as community gardens. Previously dull spaces soon become havens where children can play safely and gardening clubs can flourish.
Elements from this garden will be reused at projects across the north-west of England, including the Atherton Road community garden in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. Currently an underused and neglected green space, the site will be transformed into an area with sensory planting and vegetation to encourage wildlife. Raised beds will also allow users to grow their own fruit and vegetables.
All the Urban Oasis gardens came together to form the 1,600m2 centerpiece exhibit at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and were inspired by Groundwork and RHS community projects that Chris Beardshaw visited earlier this year.
The Urban Oasis message is to challenge people to think about how they can get involved in either preserving their cherished green space or creating their own Urban Oasis.
Chris Beardshaw said: “It has been an ambitious and exciting project and I am really pleased to have been responsible for designing and creating the schemes to reflect the work of these two valuable charities.
Friday, 13 July 2012 13:15
July 13 2012, Embargoed: July 14, 12.01am
Has the RHS found the future Alan Titchmarsh?
Eleven-year-old Lucas Hatch, from Woodbridge in Suffolk, has been named the first RHS Young School Gardener of the Year for impressing judges with his flair, enthusiasm and knowledge of gardening.
Broadcaster and The Sun's gardening editor, Peter Seabrook and RHS Curator Elizabeth Balmforth were among the judges who were wowed by Lucas's application when assessing the final selection.
Following a preliminary round involving schoolteachers nominating pupils, sixteen finalists were chosen. Each of the finalists' schools was given a digital camcorder to make films of the finalists, who were asked to answer eight questions. The judges then reviewed the sixteen videos.
Thursday, 12 July 2012 19:54
12 July 2012
Hyde Hall Flower Show
3-5 August 2012
Plans are well under way for the 2012 Flower Show at RHS Garden Hyde Hall, near Chelmsford, Essex.
A firm favourite with visitors, this showcase event attracts thousands of garden lovers from near and far. With many more than 30 specialist nurseries, there will be a great selection of plants, from ferns and hostas to gladioli and fuchsias to name but a few.
Nurseries will also be exhibiting floral displays to give people inspiration and advice on how to create colourful planting schemes for their own gardens. Combined with a selection of trade stands selling garden sundries and decorative ornaments, the flower show is a one-stop shop for all your gardening needs.
Visitors attending on the first day of the show have the added benefit of a Gardeners' Question Time session with BBC Essex Radio presenter Ken Crowther. Ken will be joined by Tom Cole from Writtle College and freelance gardening expert Geoff Hodge.
There are also Flower Show Breakfast packages which include premium parking, a full English breakfast and early access to the show. Full details are on RHS Online: www.rhs.org.uk/hydehall
And if the pace is all too much, there's a 360-acre estate and gardens where visitors can relax and enjoy the peace and tranquillity away from the hubbub of the show site. With its eclectic mix of horticultural styles from traditional English rose gardens to the Mediterranean Dry Garden, it offers a great day out for the whole family.
For more information contact Sue Carter, 01245 402006, or email:
Notes to the Editor:
The Hyde Hall Flower Show runs from Friday 3 August to Sunday 5 August inclusive, between 10am and 5pm.
Garden entry is free for RHS members. Adult admission for non-members is just £7.00 (£7.70 including Gift Aid).
Children aged 5 - 16 years go free for whole of August.
The No.3 bus from Southend to Writtle now stops at the garden and all visitors that can produce a valid ticket for their journey will receive a 25% discount on normal admission prices. For further information on bus timetables go to: www.essex.gov.uk/publictransport
RHS Garden Hyde Hall
Creephedge Lane, Rettendon, Chelmsford CM3 8ET
Simply follow the tourism signs from the A130 southbound and head towards South Woodham Ferrers on the A132.
About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK's foremost gardening charity, helping and inspiring millions of people to garden. We do this at our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters.
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