- North Wales
- 15 Jan 2009
Reading the article ‘Future outlook’ in The Garden (November 2008, pp728-729) left me struggling to reconcile the phrase ‘Environmental responsibility: all sites will be managed and maintained with an emphasis on the responsible consumption of resources’, with five mentions of cars/car parks, plus an illustration of Hyde Hall’s new one. There is no mention of how visitors to Hyde Hall can make their journey more sustainably - and that means by not driving.
I want to extend my ‘earth-friendly’ approach to gardening by visiting RHS gardens and shows in the least carbon-emitting way, so incurring the smallest ‘ecological footprint’ possible.
With planning, determination, and an early start, I’ve enjoyed a day at Harlow Carr, using only public transport to travel from North Wales. But one bus a day (from Monday to Friday, May to September) linking Wisley with Woking rail station precludes a day visit for anyone except those in southern England - unless you forgo sleep the night before. Consulting the 2008 Members’ Handbook suggests that car-free visits to Hyde Hall or Rosemoor will require a gargantuan exercise of planning and execution.
How does ‘responsible consumption of resources’ fit with a masterplan for the RHS gardens that maintains the status quo, making them, by and large, car-only destinations? This, in a world reluctantly accepting the impact of how we live on the planet’s climate, and with ‘peak oil’ on the radar, strikes me as inexplicable - and at loggerheads with the RHS’s strategic plan of ‘transforming it’s environmental credentials’. Vehicles are a major emitter of ‘greenhouse gases’ responsible for causing global warming and climate change.
When it comes to measuring its carbon footprint, surely the RHS must count in the carbon being released by visitors to its gardens, and indeed to its shows? This should be easy enough for garden visitors - just ask for postcodes, or link electronically to members’ details. It then follows that ‘responsible consumption of resources’ lives beyond the sound bite and helps drive a reduction in the overall RHS footprint - by stimulating improved, convenient, car-free ways of getting visitors to its gardens and shows.
I would wager that the biggest slice of the carbon footprint of any RHS garden or show belongs to its visitors. What plans are afoot to address this 'carbon elephant in the garden', and what strategic planning can I look forward to that will help me reduce my own?