If you’re looking for some inspiration this weekend, why not take a trip to the Royal Horticultural Society’s Cardiff Show?
One of the highlights of this and other RHS shows throughout the summer will be the Urban Oasis garden, devised by the RHS and Groundwork and designed by landscape designer and broadcaster Chris Beardshaw.
Volunteers from Merthyr Tydfil will be rolling up their sleeves and helping to create the garden, which is sponsored by Marks & Spencer.
Inspired by Groundwork and RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood community green space projects across South Wales, the garden features a number of Welsh natural habitats and will illustrate how good quality landscape design can transform neglected green spaces for community benefit.
It will also contain an environmentally-conscious display, a weather station and bat boxes. After the show, the garden will be recreated at the Fedw Hir Eco-Centre at Llwydcoed, near Aberdare, home of Groundwork Merthyr & Rhondda Cynon Taff and an environmental education centre. It will be used as a learning resource for local schools.
Many of the volunteers are long term unemployed. One of them, Paul Bryce, aged 28, of Pentrebach, said: “Working at the Horticultural Learning Zone has opened a lot doors for me. I feel taking part in something like this creates a real ripple effect, as I can pass on things I’ve learned. I’m now teaching my son how to grow tomatoes!
“It’s a massive honour and a privilege to be helping to build the garden at RHS Show Cardiff. It’s overwhelming that someone like Chris Beardshaw not only took the time to visit us but also liked our work so much he wanted to incorporate it into his show garden. It feels great to be part of a team that started with nothing to have our potential recognised.”
Chris Beardshaw, who visited the HLZ and other projects earlier this year added: “The green space around us – where we live and work – has a fundamental effect on our emotions and behaviour. It is well documented that in areas where these spaces are neglected and poorly designed we see strong evidence of social unrest and it is easy to see why when you stand in these spaces yourself.
“Whatever the green need there is a solution and contrary to popular belief it doesn’t have to mean high cost – the Urban Oasis Gardens showcase design solutions which can make such a difference in people’s lives.”
The RHS helps over 100 communities and gardening groups in Wales. To find out more, visit the Wales in Bloom team at RHS Show Cardiff. To read about RHS work in the community, including how schemes like RHS Britain in Bloom and It’s Your Neighbourhood have helped transform communities, visit the Britain in Bloom website
National Gardening Week, from April 14-22, is a chance for the RHS to share its wealth of knowledge with every gardener across the nation.