Chelsea uses Groundwork for Reuse Scheme

A week ago the Chelsea Flower Show was in full bloom defying the challenging cold and wet weather. It appears that the 100th anniversary show was, as always, a great success despite controversy over the awards

All the time, effort and huge financial investment that makes this unique global event possible are just one side of the story. What happens to the plants and soil used to create the gardens once the crowds have gone and the Royal Hospital reverts to being a haven for Chelsea pensioners?

What does the RHS do to make sure that the Show is not just a horticultural self indulgence for the select few who can afford a ticket?

The good news is that an amazing organisation called Groundwork reuse as many plants and materials as possible from the show at Groundwork projects across London.

As soon as the show finishes, it is estimated that with the support of over 50 volunteers and  FM Conway and other corporate sponsors that approximately 400 tonnes of materials and over 10,000 plants and trees will be collected by the show’s conclusion.  These materials will be used in over 20 community landscaping projects projects, including Groundwork London’s ‘Transform’ programme across the Olympic host boroughs.

In the run-up to the show and during the event, Groundwork spoke to all the exhibitors to explore what plants and landscaping materials might be available for reuse. As soon as the show finishes they collect everything ready for distribution to community groups and projects that help Groundwork achieve one of its key aims: ‘to make places better’.

Through this Groundwork is able to:
• Help to create new community gardens on neglected spaces in deprived communities.
• Enable residents’ groups and volunteers to improve their existing community gardens.
• Give people the opportunity to gain accredited horticultural training, helping them back into work.

Groundwork created their own reusable garden at Chelsea and this is being relocated to a school in Hertfordshire to encourage children to become interested in gardens and plants . It included a bug hotel built on the side of the garden shed which proved a real attraction for show visitors of all species.

Groundwork also launched a 100 page green space report at RHS Chelsea.  Called ‘Grey places need green spaces – the case for investing in our nation’s natural assets,’ the report, sponsored by Marks & Spencer, argues that the benefits of green space to our communities are too important to squander and makes a number of recommendations as to how they can be preserved for future generations.

A greener Chelsea  that considers its environmental impact  is always a good result.The RHS needs to explore other ideas to expand the sustainable future of this horticultural extravaganza.

This post was written by:

- who has written 872 posts on My Climate Change Garden.

I am not an experienced gardener - more of an enthusiastic amateur who learns by trial and error and who is keen to "manage" the effects of shifting weather patterns on my garden. Writing this blog is my passion and it has evolved over 12 years to inspire engagement with climate change outside our back doors, in our personal gardens and green spaces. My mission is to fertilise and expand this platform to grow a community of global gardeners communicating about the effects of climate change on our plants and exploring how each individual can make small changes in our lives to become more sustainable. The future of our gardens and #OurPlanet is in our hands - please plant your own seeds for our collective sustainable future.

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