‘Stop the Spread’ catches on at RHS Chelsea Flower Show

In the words of the Counting Crows, ‘don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?’

ash tree

The ‘Stop the Spread’ garden, which won silver at Chelsea this week, gave nature lovers a glimpse into the fate of our wildlife if we do not take action now.

The message was clear; if we do not fight the sneezes and diseases that are spreading from non-native species in our gardens and countryside, such as Chalara ash dieback and Oak Processionary Moth, the landscapes we love could be lost forever.

The Food & Environment Research Agency’s show garden, which was sponsored by the National Trust and created by award-winning designer Jo Thompson (this was Jo’s fourth Chelsea design), showed a stark contrast between ‘beauty’ and ‘ugliness’.

A lush and vibrant sunken spring garden, bordered by native trees and shade-loving plants was juxtaposed with a dark avenue of dead trees and a lifeless black pool, which featured an island holding a single sapling.

“The garden is meant to be thought provoking,” Jo said. “I designed it to creatively show what impact plant pests and diseases and invasive non-native species can have on our environment now and for future generations.”

See her design coming to life in the video below:

Ian Wright, the Trust’s garden adviser in the South West said: “Plant pests and diseases are a huge issue for the Trust as we care for 250,000 hectares of land across the UK and over 200 gardens – much of which could be at risk from various diseases.

“By working together we will have a better chance of identifying any issues quicker and have a better chance to do something about it, helping to protect our landscape and gardens for future generations.”

Other partners supporting the Fera ‘Stop the Spread’ garden included Defra, Forestry Commission, Welsh Government, Scottish Government, Woodland Trust, Horticultural Trades Association and Timber Packaging and Pallet Confederation.

The Chelsea Flower show runs until tomorrow, May 25.

Find out more about how you can help to protect our landscape and gardens here.


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