Queen?s Botanist to argue gardeners can save environment

A leading scientist will argue that government action alone cannot secure a sustainable future for plants and the planet, when he delivers the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) John MacLeod Annual Lecture on 29 October 2015.

Professor Stephen Blackmore, who holds the title of Queen?s Botanist in Scotland, spoke ahead of his lecture: ?It?s often said that nature can take care of itself, but that?s no longer true if we want to live in a world that can support us.?

The changes Professor Blackmore is proposing are just as applicable to large gardens as to urban window-boxes, for they involve gardeners seeing themselves as part of a bigger picture in which the choice of plants they grow has an effect multiplied millions of times across the world.

In practical terms, this would mean gardeners:

  • Actively choosing plants that will support the widest diversity of other species, including pollinators and other garden wildlife
  • Making urban landscapes much greener by planting garden and street trees to absorb pollutants, reduce excess temperatures and improve the quality of the built environment
  • Not paving over front gardens, instead ensuring that there is an area of green as well as a parking space
  • Gaining health benefits for themselves and their families through gardening
  • Joining forces with and support their local parks, gardens and gardening societies, if they don?t have a garden of their own.

Professor Blackmore added: ?The more you can grow in your individual patch, garden or windowbox, the more you can help planet Earth. For me the key insight is that it was the cumulative actions of 7 billion people that created the environmental challenges we face today, and it will be the individual actions of those same people that will get us out of the position we?re currently in.?

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