The prim and proper flower shows of yesteryear aren’t the sort of places you’d imagine seeing any kind of wildlife or real, down to earth nature. But the tides have definitely turned, and the RHS flower show in Cardiff really pushed forward the agenda of gardening and conservation being firmly hand in hand.
My visit was planned as an enjoyable day with my family, to maybe pick up some seeds and plants for my allotment and to see the amazing varieties of plants that had been brought into Cardiff from all over the UK. The show did not disappoint, my pockets filled with heritage varieties of vegetable drops which I can’t wait to reap the rewards of! But beyond this, there were several messages focusing in on sustainability, conservation and the importance of our wildlife.
Where The Wild Things Are
The children of a large group of nursery and primary schools and groups had created gardens in wheelbarrows as part of a competition, with the theme of ‘Year of the Sea’. I would say a good half of the entrants had a strong focus on the blight of single use plastics, and looking after the environment. My favourite entry had pictures of the kids doing their own litter pick on a beach and then using what they found to create their display to show their message.
The environmental messages continued throughout the show, with show gardens from The Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB focusing on creating wildlife friendly gardens. The Wildlife Trust’s garden showed how to create various habitats – including a brilliant green roof on their shed! I was particularly taken by the RSPB’s garden which focused on their new project in Cardiff working with swifts (follow my blog for more posts on this in the future). A large willow swift structure spanned the garden with plants from it’s favourite habitats weaving through it.
Towards the end of the day I got to enjoy a great talk from Sam Holt from Eggseeds, who spoke about creating opportunities for local groups and communities to garden and grow food. It was inspiring to hear about the projects in and around Cardiff, and got me thinking about future projects. The benefits of having green spaces which are accessable to whole communities can only be a good thing, for us and our wild neighbours.
It was a really great day out, and definitely worth visiting even if you’re a hobby gardener such as myself, but have a keener interest in the natural world. I learnt a lot and have a lot of respect for everyone who really pushed for the environmental agenda during the show. I look forward to seeing how Cardiff takes this information and inspiration and runs with it.