The Royal Horticultural Society has launched a new campaign called Greening Grey Britain. According to surveys carried out in 2015 three times as many front gardens are now paved over compared to ten years ago which means over five million front gardens now have no plants growing in them. What a sorry state for all of us as not only does it mean an increased risk of flooding because of drainage problems it’s also detrimental to bees and insects. The other main environmental issue is that vegetation helps to regulate urban temperatures. Hard surfaces absorb heat in the day and release it at night creating a heat trap. Greenery helps to absorb the heat and also absorbs pollutants in the air making our air cleaner.
Walking around my own local area I have noticed so many front gardens turned into dismal and depressing grey carparks. It’s detrimental to our mental health as well as our physical health. Gardens, plants, greenery, – they add so much pleasure visually that surely they have to be worth the effort? Do we want our streets turned into carparks with no visual joy to be had? When I redid my small front garden a couple of years ago (shown above) I used gravel for the car standing area (which allows rain to soak away) and then a small area of soil filled with shade loving evergreens which take very little work to maintain, plus a couple of large pots under the front window to add seasonal interest. It can be as simple as a window box or a tub by the front door to create some green in our urban areas; surely we can all manage that?
The campaign started with the launch of Britain in Bloom, whereby the RHS has set a three year target to transform 6,000 unloved grey spaces into thriving planted up spaces. We can all contribute to this campaign by considering our own front gardens and what we can do to add greenery and joy to everyone’s lives and help the planet as well. Take a look at the RHS if you want some ideas about how to green up your own space and get some more information on the environmental issues.
‘Greening Grey Britain Campaign’ written by Jacqui Brooks
Photo credit: Amelia Brooks
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