I’m a city girl through and through but I also appreciate green landscapes. As Kermit the Frog would say, it’s not easy being green, especially in an urban environment.
Groundwork is a community charity which exhibited at RHS Chelsea Flower Show a couple of weeks ago. They are devoted to improving bleak cityscapes with the addition of green spaces. They have pointed out that there is occasionally a long lag between a developer planning a new build and the actual start of it. During this time period, the land remains vacant and a bit of an eyesore. They suggest that green spaces, such as pop-up parks, temporary gardens and portable allotments, can be created at low cost and with available resources. These gardens give communities many benefits such as attractive vistas, play areas, wildlife habitats and local pride. The gardens are made using resources available to hand. Groundwork’s goal is to have 1000 green spaces by 2015 which is estimated to benefit 1 million people.
Check out the living roof on the shed and the bee hotel (similar to the bee hotel found in the Grand Designs winning show garden).
So, what happens after the crowds have left RHS Chelsea and the displays get dismantled? Groundwork and the RHS Chelsea Re-use Scheme are taking part of removing and finding new uses for the plants and landscaping materials in community projects throughout London. After the 2012 Chelsea Flower Show, Groundwork distributed approximately 8,000 plants and 400 tons of materials to community projects.
Groundwork focuses on temporary green spaces, but what about permanent planting options?
Urban spaces with their large expanses of vertical planes are really well-suited for living walls which are cropping up everywhere. Biotecture, a company which does high-end living walls using a patented hydroponic modular system, had a promotional stand at EHA Chelsea too. I often drive by the living wall Biotecture did in Kings Cross by the Camley Street Natural Park. It has been stunning lately with a profusion of pink and purple flowers blooming. You may have also seen another Biotecture installation at one of the best designed lifestyle stores in London, Anthropologie.
Biotecture does some high-end residential work but their impressive portfolio is really geared towards large commercial clients, everything from schools, hotels, banks to government institutions both in the UK and overseas.
Their display expounded the benefits of living walls especially improved indoor and outdoor air quality.
Temporary urban gardens and long-term living walls are two great ideas to maintain the quality of life in our cities.
You can’t argue with Kermit that it may not be easy being green but perhaps you can convince him going green is worth the long-term benefits. Who wants to bring it up with him?