Be in­spired by your lo­cal car park

We are so used to see­ing th­ese shrubs that we think they are bor­ing, but HAN­NAH STEPHEN­SON dis­cov­ers that the RHS be­lieves th­ese ur­ban stal­warts can be­come gor­geous in your gar­den

Star Courier (Surrey & Hants) - - FRONT PAGE -

The RHS is call­ing on gar­den­ers to learn to love the na­tion’s ‘ car park’ plants – ro­bust, ev­ery­day shrubs of­ten found dot­ted across ur­ban land­scapes as part of its na­tional Green­ing Grey Bri­tain cam­paign. In­clud­ing snow­berry, brachy­glot­tis and Ore­gon grape, th­ese shrubs are a com­mon sight in car parks, but have fallen out of favour as, if un­cared for, they can be­come woody and mis­shapen.

Yet they pro­vide im­por­tant ground cover, shel­ter for wildlife, pre­vent soil ero­sion and help limit flood­ing and of­fer colour and struc­ture in dif­fi­cult cor­ners.

Leigh Hunt, prin­ci­pal hor­ti­cul­tural advisor at the Royal Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety, says: “Ro­bust ev­ery­day shrubs are the hum­drum wall­pa­per in the ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment and it seems that in the case of some of the more well- known va­ri­eties, fa­mil­iar­ity breeds con­tempt.

“Yet many of th­ese plants have the RHS Award of Gar­den Merit and make an ex­cel­lent choice for gar­den­ers. The finest give year- round colour and struc­ture and can look beau­ti­ful in some of the tough­est grow­ing spots.

“We’d cer­tainly call on gar­den­ers to con­sider the splen­dour of th­ese ‘ car park’ va­ri­eties when look­ing to green far- flung cor­ners of our towns and cities.”

As part of its Green­ing Grey Bri­tain cam­paign, the RHS is high­light­ing the cru­cial role that plants play in ur­ban ar­eas. Plants that can be taken from ‘ car park’ to gar­den in­clude:

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