National Trust and Blue Diamond Garden Centres

The organisations behind the Octavia Hill Garden at RHS Chelsea 2024, explain their mission and aims

Blue Diamond & National TrustOctavia Hill, pioneered the National Trust’s founding principles which are as strong today as they were 128 years ago. She believed that everybody needs nature, everyone needs beauty, and everybody needs gardens. Which is why National Trust have partnered with Blue Diamond Garden Centres as they both believe that everyone needs gardens.

The National Trust provides spaces for the masses to access and enjoy green spaces even when they do not have their own, while Blue Diamond Garden Centres provides everyone with the ability to create and enjoy their own outdoor spaces by providing the materials and information needed to do so.

See The Octavia Hill Garden

The National Trust is custodian of over 500 years of horticultural heritage, and they wish to bring some of that natural inspiration and history to Chelsea this year. Pioneering social reformer Octavia Hill (1838-1912), a founder of the National Trust, believed that ‘the healthy gift of air and the joy of plants and flowers’ were vital in everyone’s life. She worked tirelessly to improve urban housing and protect green space, yet today, one-in-three people in Britain still don’t have access to nearby nature-rich spaces. The RHS Chelsea garden reflects Hill’s belief that ‘the sight of sky and of things growing, seem human needs, common to all’

The garden will bring visitors face to face with the complexity, beauty and importance of the natural world; creating a space where people can make the connections with nature that Octavia Hill recognised as so important for our health, wellbeing and happiness. The garden will encourage people to connect with nature, regardless of whether they have a garden of their own. Visitors will be encouraged to take home ideas and inspiration for gardening techniques and plants to create beautiful, biodiverse, ecologically healthy, and resilient spaces in their own gardens whether they be commercial, community or residential, for the benefit of all.

Octavia Hill’s belief in the importance of ‘pure earth, clean air and blue sky’, and in providing access to green spaces, is even more relevant to society today, more than 120 years on. Research proves that access to public green space results in better educational outcomes, physical health and multiple dimensions of mental and social wellbeing, resilience, and recovery, edging green space provision into the scientific and public health mainstream.
One of the biggest opportunities to increase plant diversity lies in the parks, verges and gardens of our cities and towns, which should be full of life. 40 per cent of London alone is green space.

It’s time to confront the dominance of monoculture mown turf in urban areas, particularly when, for millions of people, a verge can be their only contact with nature. Developing on brownfield sites is crucial as it directly reduces the amount of countryside that is lost to human use. This results in many more green spaces being retained, protects wildlife in its native habitat and allows nature to thrive.


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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.