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
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: