When you look around at houses, streets and open spaces, you can see for yourself that people in Great Britain are paving over their front gardens to make way for cars, pulling down trees in public places and building on green spaces to make way for more houses.
People aren’t growing any plants and it makes me ……..
really mad and angry!!
One of my jobs as an RHS Young Ambassador is to let you know about the ‘Greening Grey Britain’ Campaign and why it is so important to help people feel healthy and well, to help wildlife and protect the UK from flooding, pollution and heatwaves. I think you know by now that I’m really passionate about all of these issues.
I’m helping my favourite team, the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and asking you to make a promise to join this amazing cause and protect our planet’s future. So, ‘help us make a difference to the world by going out into your community and greening up a grey area.’
I’ve made this video in the style of one my favourite characters, Bob Hale from Horrible Histories:
- Window box or container – we did this at the school entrance – here’s the write up by Sarah, my gardening teacher
“We planted big containers at school with a large evergreen plant in the middle (Rosemary) and annuals (marigolds and violas for flowers in salads) around the edges, that way we got colour, flowers and nectar for wildlife all year round. Oh and spring bulbs under all that green to make sure we got something lovely to look at when the weather is only just warming up in spring. We sneaked in some beetroot too. We also had 2 separate carrot containers and reception class had 6 containers solely planted with veg – their own mini veg patch garden!”
- Shrub – we planted a laburnum up in the top garden and my Grandma has a beautiful hydrangea in her front yard
- A tree, like I did with Operation Farm when we planted a community orchard in a public space
- Flower bed – we planted daffodils all over school, here I am last autumn, planting bulbs at home. They are just poking through #FirstSignOfSpring !!
- Climber – we planted a red clematis in the garden at home near a Rowan tree
One of the big reasons to Green Grey Britain is to help support wildlife, by transforming a bleak grey space in your garden or community into a great green place for people and wildlife to enjoy; that’s a big tick in my book. It could be an empty concrete corner, an ugly alleyway or a boring stretch of tarmac that could use a new plant pot or hanging basket.
My Mum works at People First Tameside, they had an ‘ugly alleyway’ and my gardening teacher Sarah worked there for the growing season last year. She sprinkled her fairy dust on part of the alley to create this wonderful secret garden and together they grew vegetables, herbs, fruit and flowers. Not only did it provide the community kitchen with seasonal fruit and veg to cook and eat, but they saw their first blue tits recently too. Now they know what grew well and what didn’t, they have drawn up a plan and have got great plans for the other half of the alley this year to make it even more wildlife friendly.
There’s loads of ways you can get involved:
To help you get started the RHS Campaign for School Gardening are giving out a free packet of wild cornfield seeds which are also perfect for pollinators. There’s a list of activity ideas and resources to give you plenty of inspiration on the website. When you’ve decided what you’re going to do, add your action to the online promise page
- Share your photos – Be sure to share your before and after photos on Twitter using #GreeningGreyBritain and @RHSSchools. They will be awarding prizes to their favourite photos right up until the summer holidays.
- Make a daft video to raise awareness, just like I did, by drawing the outline of Great Britain and painting it with grey glue, adding photos of pollution, flooding and heatwaves. Then cut leaves from your garden and stick them on to create your own Great Green Britain adding photos of wildlife and people #FeelingGroovy!
Greening Grey Britain at RHS Chelsea Flower Show
I visited both Sean Murray’s (2014) garden and Ann Marie-Powell’s (2015) at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Both gardens showed how beautiful front gardens can be rather than paving over them to make way for cars. They were so colourful with bright borders, water features, edible plants in pots, bee-friendly plants and made great use of recycled materials.
Leave a comment below about what you can do to ‘Green Grey Britain’ and together we can help transform our planet into a better place for people and wildlife;