Urban Oasis, a joint project between the RHS and the charity Groundwork, designed by Chris Beardshaw to show the impact which community gardening can have on some of the most unpromising of areas. And talking to one of the Groundwork volunteers I found out that it isn’t just a nice theory, but that this kind of urban greening is really having a positive impact in the communities like the one where she works in Brighton, transforming peoples’ lives and giving them a real sense of ownership over their neighbourhood. Really inspiring to see the potential of horticulture to have such a positive and life-changing effect. Undoubtedly the highlight of the show for me.
Our Facebook page has pictures of some of the many other inspiring and interesting gardens, including some from the “Low cost, high impact” section. Here it must be pointed out that “low” is in relation to the normal cost of putting together a show garden – as can be appreciated when it’s understood that the smallest budget for one of these gardens was £7k for the gold medal winning garden from Nilufer Danis – hardly a recession-savvy figure for a tiny garden making a lavish use of recycled scaffolding boards for the hard landscaping element. That said it is a beautifully planted space in a palette of blue and yellow, with verbascums, alliums, Eryngium 'Sapphire Blue' and hemerocallis. Creating an instant mature garden from scratch – rather than building a collection of plants over time – doesn’t come cheap.
All the same I’d have been interested to have seen something wonderful created on a really tight budget, something that might require the creative skip-diving skills and no-nonsense approach of thrifty gardener Alys Fowler, for example. There’s always next year.