Cable Street allotments are inspiration for Royal Horticultural show

Garden allotments in London’s deprived East End are being used as an inspiration in designing the world’s biggest flower show at Hampton Court Palace.

The Shadwell allotments under railway arches in Cable Street, just a mile from the Tower of London, are among urban projects used to strengthen communities in deprived areas in the wake of last summer’s riots.

Landscape designer and broadcaster Chris Beardshaw is using the projects for ideas in designing features for the Royal Horticultural Society’s week-long show at Hampton Court opening next Wednesday (July 3).

He has drawn on ideas from the society’s urban gardening programme like Cable Street (pictured), which have featured in Tower Hamlets in Bloom competition.

“There is strong evidence of social unrest in areas where spaces are neglected,” warned Chris.


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“Green spaces have a fundamental effect on our emotions and behaviour—they transform peoples’ lives and play a fundamental part in drawing communities together.”

The horticultural society is working for the first time with the Groundwork urban gardening charity on community gardening which makes up a central theme for this year’s show.

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Features include the ‘Edible Bus Stop’ garden which was inspired by last summer’s riots and aims to illustrate benefits of green space and the idea of reclaiming forgotten and neglected spaces.

A Royal Horticultural Society survey of 230 projects found anti-social behaviour and crime had dropped where urban gardening was flourishing, with 90 per cent of the volunteers involved saying the biggest impact was a stronger community and 40 per cent reporting a safer environment.

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