Gardeners urged to ‘pull up paving slabs’ by RHS but some are unsure – ‘doesn’t bode well’

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The RHS is urging gardeners to implement 10 actions to help save the planet including planting flower patches and making your own compost. The new campaign is the biggest since the charity’s “Dig for Victory” initiative in 1941. The World War Two campaign was put in place to make the UK more self-sufficient by having home gardeners grow their own crops.

Now, the RHS is urging the UK’s 30 million gardeners to rip up their paving slabs and concrete and plant trees and flowers instead.

The charity is also calling on the Government for support to help fund more research and development in horticultural science as well as community gardens in schools, NHS trusts and public spaces.

The push to cut greenhouse gas emissions and boost garden wildlife will help tackle the current climate crisis.

Some of the actions put forward by the RHS also include using rainwater to water plants, using peat-free compost, planting flowers for pollinators and making your own compost.

Research by the RHS found that if every gardener in the UK planted a medium-sized tree, it would store the carbon equivalent of driving 11 million times around the planet.

The charity also revealed that every gardener in the UK creates 190kg of compost each year.

The RHS believes if every gardener achieves this, it could save the equivalent carbon of heating half a million homes.

A recent survey from YouGov recently found that while 19 percent of gardeners are using more sustainable methods in the garden, a whopping 40 percent are still using fossil-fuel powered lawn mowers.

Twitter user’s reactions have been mixed in response to the new RHS campaign.

One Twitter user said: “RHS ‘gardening army’ to fight climate crisis – if they are that worried, better to go and have a word with #Brazil over the #Amazon!”

Another tweeted: @The_RHS RE climate change, the way that people are digging out their very large front gardens down the road and replacing them with hard driveways doesn’t bode well!”

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Director General of the RHS, Sue Biggs said: “The RHS is committed to using its own community outreach work to help Britain’s 30 million gardeners make a positive contribution towards the climate and biodiversity crisis.

“But we can’t harness this potential alone. If we are to mobilise the biggest gardening army across the nation since Dig for Victory we need government support for planet-friendly gardens.

“This includes funding all research and development in horticultural science as well as financially supporting community gardens in schools, NHS Trusts and public spaces.”

RHS director of science and collections, Professor Alistair Griffiths said the actions of the UK’s 30 million gardeners can help create “positive change” and mitigate the “climate and biodiversity crisis”.

The new campaign is part of the charity’s sustainability strategy which aims to capture more emissions than the UK puts out and to eliminate all single use plastic by 2030.

Here’s a list of the RHS’ 10 actions gardeners can take to tackle climate change:

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  • Plant a tree in your community, school, workplace or garden.
  • Switch from mains water to rainwater for watering the garden.
  • Use peat-free compost to protect the world’s largest carbon store on land – peatlands.
  • Make your own compost to save carbon.
  • Pull up paving slabs and plant perennial plants which are either herbaceous, shrubs or trees in schools, workplaces, gardens or community areas.
  • Plant a wide variety of plants for pollinators, to help slow and reverse declines in bees, butterflies, moths, hoverflies and other insects.

  • Grow your own cut flower garden as growing or buying UK-grown flowers can save up to 7.9kg of carbon per bunch compared with buying some imported bunches.
  • Electrify your garden, so you are using electric powered gardening tools, not ones run on fossil fuels.
  • Map UK garden plant biodiversity by adding your garden plants to RHS My Garden online to help the RHS conserve this important biodiversity.
  • Eat more home-grown, UK, local and seasonal fruit and vegetables to save significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.

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