The Royal Horticultural Society has joined forces with the Daily Mail to create a Planet Friendly Garden at this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival in July. It’s part of their friendly gardening campaign, which aims to harness the power of the UK’s 30 million gardeners to help in the fight against climate change.
Collectively the actions of each and every one of us can create real positive change, and the Daily Mail Garden will demonstrate the many ways we can all adapt our gardens and gardening habits to boost the environment and help our wildlife thrive.
RHS Ambassador and multi-award-winning designer Mark Gregory, a passionate advocate of sustainable gardening, has designed The Mail And RHS Planet Friendly Garden, and here he reveals what you can expect…
The Royal Horticultural Society has joined forces with the Daily Mail to create a Planet Friendly Garden at this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival
RHS Ambassador and designer Mark Gregory, (pictured) a passionate advocate of sustainable gardening, has designed The Mail And RHS Planet Friendly Garden
RIGHT PLANT, RIGHT PLACE
‘What a privilege it’s been for me to design this garden,’ says Mark. ‘The idea that gardeners and their gardens can play an important part in supporting the health of our planet and help combat climate change has been around for years, and now thanks to organisations like the RHS it’s being taken as seriously as it should be.
‘The Mail And RHS Planet Friendly Garden will bring together my years of expertise with innovative, forward-thinking solutions to tackle climate change, as well as ideas backed up by the RHS’s 200 years of research, to create a resilient and sustainable garden. The RHS ethos of “right plant, right place, right purpose” will be central, and hopefully it will wow the thousands of people who come to the show.’
The garden is split into two halves, like Yin and Yang, one with planting ideas for hot dry slopes, the other for sunken wet areas. A central pathway dissects the space and contoured mounds frame a reflective pool at its centre.
5 TIPS TO SAVE WATER
- Let your grass grow: longer grass means deeper roots and better drought resilience.
- Add mulch and compost: healthy soils hold more water, giving plants more of what they need when they need it.
- Choose the right plant for the right place: your plants will grow best in areas they are naturally suited to.
- Install a water butt to store rainwater for when you need it – many plants prefer rainwater as it has more nutrients than tap water.
- Use a watering can instead of a hosepipe: this helps minimise waste and directs the water at the roots where it’s needed.
‘We want to inspire gardeners all over the country to create gardens that look great without needing too much work, so make sure you put plants in places where they’ll be happy,’ says Mark. ‘Don’t force a rain-loving plant into a dry, sunny patch, for example.’
The great British weather is notoriously unreliable, which means our gardens need to cope with hot, dry stretches as well as deluges of rain, and Mark says the garden reflects that. ‘It will feature drought-tolerant planting with soil amendments such as gravel and mulching, both of which help soil to keep hold of water for plants to draw on in drier times.
‘The sunken garden will showcase plants that cope in water-logged soil, with free-draining landscaping to mitigate flood risk and divert water to thirsty plants.’
There’s also a swale – a manmade ditch used to take water away from paved areas where it can’t soak into the ground, to be filtered and slowly released back into the ground elsewhere. ‘Swales not only reduce flooding and help conserve water, but they can be a beautiful addition to any garden, as we will demonstrate.
‘There are so many plants that suit each environment, and this garden will show how everyone can create a beautiful, planet-friendly garden at home.’
WET OR DRY, GIVE THESE A TRY
Eryngium giganteum ‘Silver Ghost’ A biennial with cone-like heads of blue flowers surrounded by spiny, silvery-white bracts
TOP 3 DROUGHTTOLERANT PLANTS
Eryngium giganteum ‘Silver Ghost’
A biennial with cone-like heads of blue flowers surrounded by spiny, silvery-white bracts, this grows best in dry, well-drained soil that’s poor to moderately fertile.
This hairy perennial grows to 90cm in height, with large, rough-textured grey-green leaves. Stout stems bear whorls of hooded, soft yellow flowers 3cm in length. Grow in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun; will tolerate partial shade.
An upright perennial, this has flat heads of yellow flowers that age to cream. An open, sunny position in a moist but well-drained soil is best, but it’ll tolerate most situations apart from heavy, wet clay.
TOP 3 DAMP-LOVING PLANTS
Deschampsia cespitosa This evergreen grass forms a neat tussock of narrow, leathery, dark green leaves that are up to 60cm long
Helenium ‘The Bishop’
This herbaceous perennial grows to one metre in height. It has broad foliage and daisy-like flower-heads with spreading bright-yellow florets, which open from mid-summer to early autumn.
An evergreen fern forming a rosette of arching, rich green, strap-shaped fronds 30-75cm in length. Spores are borne in conspicuous transverse stripes beneath the fronds.
This evergreen grass forms a neat tussock of narrow, leathery, dark green leaves that are up to 60cm long. It features feathery panicles of silvery-purple flowers on arching stems in summer.
- RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, 4-9 July. For details and tickets, visit rhs.org.uk/shows.