The RHS joined forces with the BBC Countryfile team at this year's show to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the weekly series. The RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2018 was home to the Countryfile’s 30th Anniversary Garden, designed by Ann-Marie Powell.
Survey says: we're a nation of wildlife gardeners
The partnership between the BBC and the RHS also inspired a nationwide survey, conducted to find out what gardeners are doing to support wildlife and what creatures are visiting our gardens. The results? Gardeners are very aware of how important their outside space is for wildlife with just over three quarters of people (77%) who have a garden, actively doing something to attract more wildlife.
RHS Chief Horticulturist, Guy Barter, says: 'We’re no longer a nation of gardeners, we’re a nation of wildlife gardeners! The results from our survey show that supporting wildlife in our outside spaces is really important to many of us. However, some areas need more attention as only about one in ten of us (11%) has built a pond which is extremely beneficial to wildlife.
"The BBC Countryfile garden showcases wildlife initiatives that include planting for pollinators and wildflowers – both in a meadow and a cropped field. There is also a stream that runs through the garden and becomes a pond with stepping stones for both human and pond life.'
A big landscape in a small space
The garden at Hampton was inspired by the British landscape, as well as by the people who live, visit and work in rural areas. It featured a tiered landscape that represented different areas of the British Isles, from the Scottish Highlands, the Yorkshire Dales, moors and woodlands in North Wales to the coastal areas of the south and Ireland
Each area had its own characteristics with unique stone, plant and wildlife habitat. For the Scottish Highlands, there was gabbro boulders, Scots pine, Vaccinium myrtillus (blackberry), heather and Ligusticum scoticum (Scots lovage). The dales and moors featured an abundance of hawthorn, Helianthemum nummularium (rockrose) and wild thyme. In North Wales, woodland trees such as Fagus sylvatica, our native beech, featured alongside slate outcrops. Along the coast, rambe maritima (sea kale) nestled alongside Glaucium flavum (horned poppies).
Bill Lyons, Executive Editor of BBC Countryfile said: “This is such a wonderful idea. For many people, their back garden is their very own piece of the great outdoors – a haven where home life meets wildlife. We’re grateful to the RHS and to Ann-Marie for their vision in bringing the very best that the whole of Britain has to offer into this one very special garden to celebrate BBC Countryfile’s 30th anniversary. I’m sure that it will be a source of inspiration for everyone who visits it.”
Ann-Marie Powell says: “It is both an honour and a joy to create this wonderful garden for BBC Countryfile at one of the biggest and most famous gardening events in the world. It’s going to be very different to any garden that has ever been at Hampton before and I’ve loved researching and being inspired by Britain’s amazing landscapes whilst creating my design."
“I hope it encourages people to think about the diversity of plants they can grow in their own gardens wherever they are in the UK to support our precious wildlife and get people to reconnect with nature.”
Ann-Marie Powell, designer