Octavia Hill believed everyone needs access to green space and ‘outdoor sitting rooms’ (gardens). The National Trust, Blue Diamond, Ann-Marie Powell Gardens and the RHS all share this belief, which is even more relevant to society today. Our garden embraces this idea by envisioning how Octavia Hill would work to give urban communities access to nature if she were alive in our present day. If you are living in a neighbourhood built after the millennium, your local park is more likely to be smaller and you are more likely to have to travel further to reach it than pre-2000. Statistical analysis suggests the decline in new green space provision after 2000 can now be associated with at least nine million fewer trips to green space a year.
The National Trust, Blue Diamond and Ann-Marie Powell Gardens believe in gardens for all. For people, nature and wildlife – just as Octavia Hill did. Gardens have the power to transform lives. Here at AMPG, we feel that we have a social responsibility to promote gardening and to inspire the creation of as many gardens as possible. Our urban parks, verges and gardens can increase plant diversity, connect us with nature and nurture wildlife. Our urban community wildlife garden, set on a brownfield site, shows plants and wildlife can thrive in places you may not expect.
Our garden includes many plants chosen to provide food sources for a range of wildlife, including pollinators, all year round. A 2021 study by scientists at London’s Natural History Museum revealed that the UK is one of the worst-rated nations in the world in retaining our natural animals and plants, whilst the 2021 Bugs Matter findings showed UK’s insect numbers have reduced by a staggering 59% between 2004 and 2021.
We believe that biodiversity isn’t a luxury, or a ‘nice to have’. When it is diminished, we all lose out.
We also believe that great things can be achieved whilst working to the highest environmental standards – using reclaimed materials, peat-free plants, environmentally sensitive hard landscaping and resilient plants.
After the show, the garden will be given a second life at Blue Diamond owned Bridgemere Show Gardens where it will be open to the public to enjoy all year round.
Gardens can and should be for everyone.