• RHS army of gardeners add 22 million plants to gardens each year*, benefiting wildlife, the environment and health and wellbeing
  • Area of plants added by 500,000 members size of 350 football pitches**
  • RHS Members plant equivalent of 98 hectares of forest per year***
  • RHS Bloom and It’s Your Neighbourhood Groups plant 176,006 trees, 966,065 shrubs and 10,606 bulbs****
  • New survey reveals RHS members’ gardening activities as the charity expands its campaign to promote growing more plants in any environment

The RHS is expanding its Greening Grey Britain campaign to Greening Great Britain to promote that growing more plants in any setting is vital for the environment and our health and wellbeing.

A new survey* has revealed the extent of RHS members’ gardening activities and the broadened campaign, which still encompasses the importance of greening the grey, better recognises the significant impact they are making by adding some 22 million* plants to their gardens each year and the wider work of the Charity.

The area of new plants grown by RHS members last year is the size of 350 football pitches.** Within the 22 million plants, at least 157,270 trees were introduced, creating the equivalent of 98 hectares of forest.***

Sue Biggs, RHS Director General, says:  “We know most of our members are active gardeners, but these figures are stunning and exceeded our expectations with the amount, and diversity, of plants they are adding each year.  This is immensely positive for wildlife, the environment and numerous other benefits, including cooling local areas in summer, flood protection, air quality improvement, noise reduction and wellbeing benefits.”

Some 77% of members chose plants for bees, with 44% also saying they selected plants for other pollinators.  Only 15% of members didn’t choose any plants with wildlife in mind.

Thousands of Bloom volunteers also continually enhance established community gardens.  RHS Bloom and It’s Your Neighbourhood Groups plant 176,006 trees, 966,065 shrubs and 10,606 bulbs per year.**** The RHS is likewise bringing more horticultural highlights to the RHS’s four gardens and is currently creating of a whole new garden in Bridgewater in Salford.

Visitors to RHS Gardens last year bought just under a million garden plants including trees, shrubs, herbaceous roses and alpines, on top of this they purchased over one million bulbs and over 110,000 packets of seeds.

Sue finishes:   “Without the plants our gardeners grow we would have fewer insects, wildlife, bees, beauty and benefits to the environment.

“We would have less nature, seasonality and colour in our front and back gardens; and if we didn’t have our ‘army of gardeners’ we wouldn’t have the rich and beautiful diversity we are so famed for and so good at maintaining.

“Through Greening Great Britain with all our amazing supporters we’ll continue to champion why gardening and growing more plants matters.”

The survey found that 96% of members believe in the health benefits of gardening and 95% view that gardening is beneficial to the environment.

The RHS’s 500,000 Members are also happy to share their gardening knowledge, with nearly 80% having helped family or friends with gardening needs.

Since the RHS launched its’ Greening Grey Britain Campaign in 2015, the Greening Grey Britain Report has been raised in The London Assembly, the charity held a Front Garden Summit in 2016 where policymakers, developers, planners and landscapers discussed solutions to start making a difference and 128 grants have been giving to communities to turn grey spaces green.  The RHS hosted a conference at Tatton Park Flower Show in 2018 to highlight the importance of greening urban spaces and its last three gardens from RHS Chelsea Flower Show have all transformed grey spaces to green after the show.

– Ends –

For more information contact pressoffice@rhs.org.uk / 0207 821 3040.

Notes to Editors

*For the first time 2,000 RHS members were surveyed about planting activities via SurveyMonkey November 2018

All members

%age who planted No in question

Nos Members

Total Plants

9/Sq M

Ha

Less than five

0.0268

13400

67000

7444.44

0.7

Between 5 and 10

0.1115

55750

418125

46458.33

4.6

Between 10 and 20

0.2375

118750

1781250

197916.67

19.8

Between 20 and 40

0.2865

143250

4297500

477500.00

47.8

Between 40 and 60

0.1425

71250

3562500

395833.33

39.6

Between 60 and 80

0.0511

25550

1788500

198722.22

19.9

Between 80 and 100

0.0418

20900

1881000

209000.00

20.9

Between 100 and 120

0.0341

17050

1875500

208388.89

20.8

Between 120 and 140

0.0129

6450

838500

93166.67

9.3

Between 140 and 160

0.0108

5400

810000

90000.00

9.0

Between 160 and 180

0.0067

3350

569500

63277.78

6.3

Between 180 and 200

0.0098

4900

833000

92555.56

9.3

Between 200 and 250

0.0129

6450

1451250

161250.00

16.1

Over 250

0.015

7500

1875000

208333.33

20.8

499950

22,048,625 plants

2,449,847.22 Sq M

245.0

At £2.99 per plant

£65,925,388.75

 

 

At £3.99 per plant

£87,974,013.75

 

 

** Approximating 9 plants are added per sq metre, some 2,449,847.22 Sq Metres of plants were added to RHS Members outside spaces last year.  With football pitches at 7140sq metres, – the amount of plants would take up 350 football pitches

***Trees

All Members

%age

Gdn Size all  members

Nos Who planted trees

No Garden

0.0005

250

25.00

No Garden – window box, terrace or balcony

0.01

5150

873.26

Up to 20m²

0.12

59350

12783.08

Up to 50m²

0.20

100650

29229.86

Up to 100m²

0.19

94200

32435.16

Up to 200m²

0.14

70450

23248.50

Up to 400m²

0.10

51650

26796.91

Bigger than 400m²

0.19

96000

25674.42

Don’t know

0.04

22200

6204.74

Total

499900

157270.93

Assuming that most people will plant but one tree per year, that would suggest at least 157,270 trees were planted.

New woodland is established with about 1,600 trees per hectare, so RHS members plant trees equivalent to 98 hectares of forest per year. According to the Forestry Commission 1300 hectares of broadleaved woodland was planted in England in 2017-2018.  Therefore RHS members planted an area equivalent to at least 7.5% of broadleaved forestry plantings in England.

  • At the low end of what plants cost, if you said they paid £2.99 per plant, then our members invested almost £70 million in plants in 2018.

  • The research from the survey also suggested that where space is limited shrubs replace trees and, whilst wildflowers are more widely planted where there is more space, one in five smaller gardens still find space to plant more wildflowers.

**** The 2015 Impact report for Bloom and It’s Your Neighbourhood reported:  RHS Bloom and It’s Your Neighbourhood Groups plant 176,006 trees, 966,065 shrubs and 10,606 bulbs

About the RHS

The Royal Horticultural Society, the world’s leading gardening charity, was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place. This aspiration underpins all that we do, from inspirational gardens and shows, through our scientific research, to our education and community programmes such as Campaign for School Gardening and Britain in Bloom. We produce key publications, hold a world-class collection of horticultural books and botanical art, and sell the very best plants and gardening gifts.

The RHS is fundraising £40m to transform our gardens, outreach and education facilities, which includes redeveloping our flagship RHS Garden Wisley and opening a new garden, RHS Garden Bridgewater, in 2020. We are solely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. For more information visit www.rhs.org.uk.

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

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The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is the UK’s leading gardening charity dedicated to advancing horticulture and promoting good gardening. Anyone with an interest in gardening can enjoy the benefits of RHS Membership and help us to secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 020 3176 5800, or visit www.rhs.org.uk.

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