A nurserywoman has attacked RHS Britain in Bloom, accusing the initiative of encouraging gardeners to grow “brash, short-lived plants”.
Writing on www.thinkingardens.co.uk (a site edited by critic Anne Wareham) grower Christine Dakin asked if it was time to scrap the national horticultural contest.
Christine, of Bridge Nursery in Warwickshire, said bedding plants are “mounted on lampposts, strung up to railings and plonked with no rhyme or reason”. Plus, they “require daily watering”.
She said: “I got roped in [with judging] one year and could gradually feel my spirits dwindling. It was such a grim experience but it was all done with great enthusiasm and self-importance by my fellow judges.”
Christine said cash-strapped councils are withdrawing funding, leaving local groups to raise cash to keep bedding displays. She suggested planting trees and shrubs instead.
But RHS community horticulture manager Stephanie Eynon described the article as an “unfair description” of what Bloom volunteers do.
Stephanie said: “More than 300,000 Bloom volunteers commit 1.2million hours a year looking after two million acres of public space and 91 per cent of them have altered planting to help the environment.
“More Bloomers than ever are planting sustainably, reducing bedding and focusing on conservation and sustainability.”
Wigan Borough in Bloom co-ordinator Damian Jenkinson said the article was “not representative of the campaign at all.”
Damian said: “This year the theme was Edible Britain and 1,000 mini-herb gardens were created on public spaces across Britain. Last year, the theme was Wild About Wildflowers.”