Mary Berry signs up to support UK?s gardening charity and to champion Grow Your Own and RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey

Bestselling author and cook Mary Berry CBE has been announced as the latest RHS Ambassador at the world?s largest annual gardening event, RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, today, Wednesday 9 July 2014. As an RHS Ambassador, Mary will champion growing your own food and her favourite garden, RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey.

The announcement comes as a survey commissioned by the RHS (with more than 1,000 respondents who garden*) finds that the top three reasons gardeners grow food are because it tastes more delicious than shop-bought food, saves money and is better for the environment, reducing food miles. When asked about the different ways they cook what they?ve grown, nearly 70% boil their produce, 60% also steam it and nearly half bake with it.

The survey also found that today 70% of gardeners grow some fruit and vegetables and, of the 30% who don?t, nearly 70% would like to. The biggest reason they give that stops them growing food is not having enough space, followed by not enough time.

Mary Berry is a keen vegetable and fruit grower, so is well aware of the passion people can have when growing their own. RHS Ambassadors champion areas of horticulture they are passionate about, and use their profile and expertise to help the RHS bring that passion to a wider audience.

Mary says: ?I?ve been a member of the RHS for 30 years, supporting its charitable work and enjoying many visits to its beautiful garden in Wisley, which inspires over one million visitors a year with world-class horticulture.

?We also have a culinary herb garden, grow fruit and vegetables in our garden and enjoy cooking the produce we?ve grown. Our latest success was fennel bulbs, which I love. I?ve yet to perfect celeriac – the results have been rather pathetic!

?There is great satisfaction with growing your own produce; we grow what we enjoy most and what is not too difficult to achieve success. I think it is important that children know where food comes from and that they should be encouraged to be hands on ? the results are so rewarding.?

Guy Barter, RHS Head of Gardening Advice, says: ?As one of Britain?s best-loved and most well-known cooks, it?s truly wonderful that Mary Berry has become an RHS Ambassador. We know that growing food is the number one way people start to get into gardening, so having Mary championing grow your own will be fantastic to encourage new audiences to get gardening.

?People are less likely to discard food they?ve grown, and consuming fresh produce close to where it is grown saves transport and packaging, and, of course, food will be fresher. It is also often cheaper, which could benefit families who struggle to meet the rising costs of supermarket food.

?With more than half of gardeners who don?t grow food saying it is lack of space that puts them off, we need to promote further the many ways people can grow fruit, vegetables and herbs in small spaces, from apples in pots and tubs to herbs in windowboxes on windowsills and balconies.

?However, if you do grow your own, be wary of neighbours tempted by your produce, with one in seven gardeners admitting to helping themselves when it hangs over into their own garden!?

Mary Berry will be at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show giving cookery demonstrations on Thursday 10 July in the Growing Tastes Cookery Theatre. The show runs to Sunday 13 July and tickets are still available

People will also be able to see her on the BBC2 coverage of the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show at 8pm tomorrow evening.

In her role as an RHS Ambassador, Mary Berry will also be opening the RHS Wisley Flower Show on Tuesday 2 September 2014.

Mary Berry, a keen gardener, is the doyenne of family cooks, specialising in Aga cookery, cakes and desserts. Mary becomes the fifth RHS Ambassador, joining Alan Titchmarsh, James Wong, Nick Knowles and Adam Frost.

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