In a month dominated by reports of Chalara fraxinea affecting ash trees it is good to have some positive news to report. I sat in on a recent Plant Heritage Council meeting http://www.nccpg.com/ where, as always, it was useful to hear the kinds of questions that are being raised by another garden-related organisation. A particular treat on this occasion was a presentation by Sue Biggs (Director General of the Royal Horticultural Society) who brought us all up to date with happenings in the RHS. The sale of the lease of Lawrence Hall and an upcoming fundraising campaign, have given the RHS the chance to plan a multitude of exciting projects. A couple of them caught my eye.
Historians and researchers will be happy to hear about the proposed extension of the Lindley Library. Additional physical space and greater access to the RHS collections of archived material will make research there even more of a pleasure.
I loved the sound of a sixty-acre perennial meadow, and a Mediterranean edible garden planned for RHS Hyde Hall in Essex. Perhaps even more exciting is the prospect of a new urban RHS garden to be created somewhere in the Midlands. The RHS are currently looking for a site with a minimum of three acres. Any ideas?
Sue also mentioned 'A Career to be proud of' - a project launched by Alan Titchmarsh in April this year. I couldn't help thinking about the 'Comment' Alan wrote in celebration of the project whilst I was sitting in a recent GreenLINK meeting. http://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/RHS-Publications/Journals/The-Garden/Past-Issues/2012-issues/April/PDFS/Gardening-a-career-to-be-proud-of
While fellow GreenLINK members aired their frustrations about the disproportionate cuts to urban parks services, I reflected on the enormous gap between those who 'get' the benefits of interacting with nature on any level, and those who don't. The general feeling amongst delegates was that decision makers in government are ignoring the views of professionals in the green sector. I wonder whether, if some of them have never experienced the very real benefits of contact with nature, they simply don't understand? What practical measures can we take to help them cross that divide?
With Alan's 'Comment' in mind, I have a link that I promise will brighten your day. It's about a very imaginative project that's taking place in Bristol. Calendula are being grown by community groups around the city in preparation for a national collection to be hosted by Bristol Zoo Gardens. I'll be finding out more about the project for an article I'm writing in 2013. But in the meantime, have a look at the link. I challenge anyone to watch it and still question the importance of gardening for health and general wellbeing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q34mSMFkGyA&feature=youtu.be
Finally, if you've found the media driven frenzy about ash tree die back dispiriting, have a look at this link for what is perhaps, a more balanced view. http://blog.habitataid.co.uk/sackcloth-and-ashes/