“Demonstration gardens” is one of four key CHS strategies. It will require committed and ongoing leadership from the Society and its members. Of necessity it will create an interface with community groups and local authorities and it potentially could become a rich source of new members. The strategy has parallels with the “Britain in Bloom” programme currently run by the Royal Horticultural Society. As Chris Beardshaw observed in the RHS magazine Grass Shoots (No 17) “…genuine beautification of outside spaces needs more than mere aesthetic seasonal shows. In fact it must encompass issues of broad environmental concern, conservation, education, community involvement and long term sustainable projects”.
- Driven by community-based “Bloom groups” activities are selected by each group to meet local needs, but examples include:
- Caring for local parks and squares
- Helping to establish school gardens, run wildlife projects and school food-growing initiatives
- Planting trees and bulbs and creating floral displays in community spaces
- Organising clean up events, repairing street benches and running anti-litter campaigns
- Regenerating unused areas with the involvement of local people
- Creating wildflower meadows and maintaining conservation areas
- Encouraging people to adopt environmentally-aware activities such as recycling, composting and water harvesting
The CHS is already active in some of these areas such as Orchards in Schools, Alhambra Gardens and the new Interactive Horticulture Series and Special Skills Workshops but so many more opportunities exist. Are you as a member up for the challenge? Can you identify a community-based project for CHS involvement? Better still are you prepared to lead it?