Chelsea Shows its environmental + social conscience

Its that time of year again – the gardening community is buzzing with news and views about :

The Greatest Flower Show on Earth – The RHS Chelsea Flower Show

This year Chelsea takes place between 19th -23rd May in a very different climate compared to last year’s extravaganza. Despite the economic cloud that has descended over the City of London, the organisers, exhibitors and the BBC coverage led by Mr ( not Sir – yet!) Alan Titchmarsh in dapper pink tie and shirt for yesterday’s launch, are all working hard to offer a ray of sunshine in the credit crunch  –


The Queen made her customary visit on the opening day and  awarded her son HRH Prince Charles, the prestigiousVictoria Medal for recognition of his “passion for plants, sustainable gardening and the environment”

Watching the BBC  coverage, I was stuck by  Helen Mirren’s grasp of the important contribution that gardening makes to our everyday lives. She highlighted the issue of sustainability and sugested that climate change means we must  change the way we run our lives.

My favourite garden with a social and environmental meaning where every conceivable expense is spared has been designed by Paul Stone for the Eden Project .The garden consists of a giant wall made up of 4,000 plants created by homeless volunteers as part of a regeneration project . Plants are trained over timber salvaged from skips and building sites whilst rows of lettuce, fennel and flat parsley grown in Holloway, Wandsworth and Wormwood Scrubs prisons stand proudly  in the ground.

Luke Murphy, one of the volunteers, expressed how gardening has helped him to relax and chill as well as being something to be proud of. This is the guy who summed up where Chelsea needs to focus its attention in the future: “Chelsea can be a bit of a clique and I think this wall garden made by people like me with very little prospects is a great idea because it will help it GET BACK TO ITS GRASS ROUTES.”

This should give the 157,000 visitors to the show who have paid between £13.50 and £48 each for a ticket something to think about. Gardening is a good antidote to the recesssion but credit crunch gardens with a meaning or purpose behind them are my favourites – like the wonderful Children’s Garden Society Garden that won a Gold Medal.


I always feel slightly uncomfortable with some of the Show Gardens which every year seem to create an unbelievable display of imaginative designs which delight the senses but always seem rather self indulgent? They were a more enjoyable sight when I learnt  that in 2009 the RHS has exceeded its target of re-cycling more than 90% of its waste.

Environmental awareness,  social conscience and sutainability are all key concepts that the organisers of the Chelsea Flower Show appear to have embraced . As the economic and environmental climate changes they would  be wise to  transform Chelsea into:

The Worlds Most Sustainable / Climate Change Friendly Flower Show?


Visited The 2009 Chelsea Flower Show – or been in previous years?

What do you think of the Show Gardens?

Do they reflect what is happening in Garden Design or are they just an over-indulgence by designers/sponsors  looking to get their names in the headlines ?

Post your views and opinions here for all to share – or follow the debate on Twitter?

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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