Thursday, 15 March 2012

Exciting times

What an impressive picture the latest AGT Yearbook paints. Every article in it is a great read but there is one that calls for instant action. Steffie Shields describes the tree planting extravaganza in Queen Elizabeth Park, Grantham, in honour of the Diamond Jubilee. Is there a park in your county suitable for a similar Diamond Grove? What a perfect celebration of a remarkable reign it would be if sixty silver birches and an Elizabeth oak could be planted in parks all over the country.

A couple of years ago I heard Richard Reynolds speaking about guerrilla gardening.I loved the energy and enthusiasm his edgy urban planting projects were encouraging in city dwellers in their 20s and 30s. It's good to be reminded of the fact that plants have something to offer everyone, regardless of age. As Tim Richardson's article 'Sense and Sustainability' confirms, an interest in growing things doesn't have to be restricted to the over 40s. As you may know, Tim is masterminding the new and exciting Chelsea Fringe Festival and it is this very generation that his venture is attracting.

Tim goes on to discuss the courageous decision to use huge swathes of herbaceous planting in the Olympic Park.  No doubt many of us agree with his hope that our local authorities will be inspired to re-think their approach. I'm pinning my hopes on good TV coverage.  I'd like to see short and very frequent clips of those exciting borders, teeming with insect life. It's a perfect opportunity to reach those who've lost their connection to the natural world.  Small and well-timed glimpses of the Olympic haven could be life-changing.  Rather like the most insidious advertising campaign, the effect will be subliminal and the results no doubt incalculable.  But I'm convinced that it could make a difference.

Avon Gardens Trust tell me that tickets for the Annual Conference are selling very well. Based in Bath (7-9 September), the Conference includes visits to Badminton, Sydney Gardens, Dyrham Park, and Prior Park.  If you'd like to go don't leave it too late to book.

If you're in need of a dose of spring colour, head to the Royal Academy and the David Hockney landscapes.  Despite the crowds, they're sufficiently uplifting to keep you going until the clocks change and we start to experience the real thing.

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