RHS to Build ‘A Gardening Army’ to Tackle Climate Change

The Royal Horticultural Society is aiming to mobilise the UK’s 30 million gardeners to act against the climate crisis and help nature flourish.

The RHS wants to build the biggest gardening army since the Second World War’s “Dig for Victory” campaign and is asking the public to begin in their own gardens to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and boost wildlife.

Gardeners are encouraged to plant trees, use rainwater to water plants and go peat-free in a bid to make their outdoor spaces more planet-friendly.

Research by the RHS shows that if every gardener planted a medium-sized tree and nurtured it to maturity, it would store the carbon equivalent of driving eleven million times around the planet.

The environmentally friendly campaign forms part of the RHS’s own sustainability strategy, which includes measures to be climate positive by 2030.

RHS Director General Sue Biggs commented: “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, added: “Collectively, the actions of each and every one of our nation’s 30 million gardeners can create positive change and help us adapt to and mitigate against the climate and biodiversity crisis.”

Actions gardeners can take to help the RHS campaign to tackle climate change and nature loss include:

  • Planting a tree in your community, school, workplace or garden to draw carbon out of the air.
  • Pledging to switch from mains to rainwater for watering the garden.
  • Going peat-free to protect precious peatland habitats which store carbon, provide homes for nature and reduce flood risk.
  • Making your own compost to save carbon.
  • Pulling up a paving slab and growing perennial plants such as grass, shrubs or trees to maturity to suck in carbon from the air.
  • Put in plants for pollinators, to help slow and reverse declines in bees, butterflies, moths, hoverflies and other insects.
  • Grow your own bunch of flowers, as growing or buying UK-grown cut flowers can save carbon compared to buying imported bunches.