Highways Agency considers Chelsea invite

Gardeners' World Live success leads to invite to Chelsea show.

The Highways Agency is considering an offer from the RHS to build an unusual native planting roadside garden at Chelsea next year after winning best show garden at Gardeners’ World Live 2007. The agency commissioned Marney Hall to design the £30,000 Trunk Roads, Sustainable Roots garden, built by Kings Landscapes and supplied by Deepdale Trees to tell the public about its environmental focus on verges. It has planted 50 million trees since it began in 1994 and owns 30,000ha of land, half of which is planted. Hall worked on an environmental survey of the M1 in 1970 for the Institute of Terrestrial -Ecology (now CEH), finding 350 native plants. Highways Agency head of environmental policy Tony Sangwine said that number would now have risen to around 400. He added that Britain’s roads were its biggest wildlife garden and called for more native planting in the UK. He said the agency is careful to ensure contractors choose native-grown plants from nurseries such as Wyevale and Crowder: “We need a big movement back to environmental gardening. Native plants may have a shorter flowering season but they’re not unattractive.” Sangwine added that specific grass mixes for different regions, wildflower sowing and replicating woodland edges were agency aims.

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