‘Greening the grey’ outdoors
FOR those wanting to add a splash of colour or tackle a local issue, take inspiration from some of the community gardening groups involved in the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Britain in Bloom campaign.
From using old toilets and baths for planting, to creating brightly coloured containers from old soldiers’ boots, they have helped lift moods, reduced flood risk, and created wildlife habitats in their efforts to ‘green the grey’ in our towns and cities. Get your local community involved Getting your neighbours involved, or asking local community groups or businesses for their support, is a great way to meet new people as well as improve your area. Nod to your local heritage A display, perhaps inspired by the area’s heritage or a forthcoming event, can help boost pride in an area, and may end up becoming something of a tourist attraction in itself. Reduce, reuse and recycle You don’t need to spend a fortune on expensive materials. Think creatively - an old pair of boots, bathtub or even a toilet can be re-purposed into pots and containers, ideal for filling with potting compost and planting up at minimal cost. Make good use of walls Often, vertical space covering the walls of buildings, fences and other structures is forgotten but can be useful for injecting greenery into places where there are lots of functional demands on the pavements, walkways and ground space. Leave no stone unturned Small changes can collectively make a big difference, with spaces linking up to form ‘green corridors’ for wildlife. Placing pots, or pulling up a paving slab in your front garden and adding a few plants, can provide extra food for bees and reduce the hard surfaces that increase the risk of flash flooding. Involve the next generation Children love gardening and can learn a lot, while at the same time having fun, getting outdoors and being active. It’s also an opportunity to engage a whole new generation of local gardeners that might one day take over the reins.
For more information about Britain in Bloom, or further advice and inspiration and details of your nearest community gardening group, visit rhs.org.uk/ get-involved