United Kingdom

Climate activism takes root with COP26 garden at Chelsea Flower Show

A COP26 garden with a "very strong political message" on how gardening can help the environment will feature at this year's Chelsea Flower Show.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) said the plot would highlight how gardens, plants and green spaces could play a role in protecting wildlife, addressing climate change, and providing a more resilient future for people.

The large RHS garden, designed by Balston Agius, led by Marie-Louise Agius, will feature at the show, which has made a high-profile move to the autumn for the first time due to the pandemic.

The RHS COP26 (2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference) garden will comprise four themed areas, including a "decline" area, which highlights current damage and negative practices such as a monoculture lawn and paved-over front garden, and an adaptation area, with features such as drought-tolerant desert plants to respond to climate change.


 

The large RHS garden, designed by Balston Agius, led by Marie-Louise Agius, will feature at the world-famous show, which has made a high-profile move to the autumn for the first time ever this year due to the pandemic.

A spokesman for the Royal Horticultural Society confirmed that the garden was being fully funded by them and that the partnership came from RHS spotting the opportunity to use the COP26 name to push the issue of gardening sustainability.

The spokesman said: “The RHS sees COP26 as a significant opportunity to highlight the really important role that plants and gardening sustainably can have to help ensure a greener and more resilient future for us all.”

RHS director-general Sue Biggs said: "We do particularly want the government to listen because we want to support its environment plan, we are in agreement with them, but they also need to acknowledge the power of horticulture."

Landscape Architect Marie-Louise Agius, director of Balston Agius said: “We are honoured that the RHS has asked us to design the RHS COP26 Garden.

“Climate change is something we face on a daily basis and it cannot be ignored. Moreover we need to be proactive about addressing the issues and we hope to show the role horticulture and a sustainable approach to the design of our external spaces can have in doing this.

“This is not an issue for others to deal with, we each have an individual responsibility and opportunity to contribute towards improving climate change.”

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