Britain’s chief doctor prescribes gardening at Green City Conference – Greenworks

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Gardening is the solution to wider issues such as obesity, flooding and air pollution, which can all be improved through urban greening. This was the message to come out of the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) International Green City Conference held at One Great George Street on 1st April 2014, in London.

The conference, themed ‘Growing green and healthy places’, shared what the world could and should be like through the views of many great UK and international speakers. Prescribing gardening; Town and country must be married; ‘Nonobese- a-genic’ environments, and Making sure the power of brick oes not overcome the power of green, were some of the insightful topics addressed. Matthew Pencharz, Environment Advisor to the Mayor of London, told how green infrastructure is a key component of the city’s plans. £400 million has been invested since 2009 which has included parks and pocket gardens. By 2025, the aim is to increase London’s green space by 5% to make a quarter of the city green.

There’s a gym outside your window

Prescribing gardening for improved health, Sir Richard Thompson, President of the Royal College of Physicians, advised how and why green gardens are good for you. “A few minutes of viewing a green garden can improve a person’s physiology”, he said and added alcohol. In addition, 5.2 million houses which are currently at risk of flooding could be helped, as 50-62% of surface water caused by storms can be reduced by a single street tree.

Tools and ideas

People’s gardens make up 50% of the UK’s urban areas, highlighted Leigh Hunt, Principal Horticultural Advisor at the Royal Horticultural Society, adding that 90% of the UK’s residents live urban gardens. Collectively, using these gardens, people can make a difference to health, city temperature, bio-diversity and flooding. Sponsored by Headline Partner, Frosts Landscape Construction Ltd, the day gave insight to the likes of planners, local authorities, health authorities, and the horticultural industry, as they gathered to understand the benefits of plants and flowers, and to find the tools and ideas to take away to make their own cities greener. “Too many people are living in cities that are the definition of what a green city is not. It is a false economy to cross off landscape investment for which future generations will pay the price. If we all take on board and apply what we heard at this AIPH International Green City Conference, we can make a massive improvement to this world,” comments Victor Krahn, President, AIPH.

London’s River Thames Garden Bridge

A talk on London’s Garden Bridge by its planting designer Dan Pearson wowed guests at the AIPH International Green City dinner, held on board HMS Belfast on the river Thames in Central London on 1 April 2014. Celebrating Great Britain’s passion for horticulture, the Garden Bridge aims to provide a beautiful floating garden and public green space above the River Thames that can be enjoyed by visitors, Londoners and commuters alike. The £150 million brainchild of actress Joanna Lumley, designed by London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic cauldron creator Thomas Heatherwick, will not only be a stunning new public garden and pedestrian crossing connecting the South Bank with Temple station and beyond, but it also aims to: enhance the standard of living, support local wildlife, contribute to the city’s sustainability, and also generate on-going educational programmes.

Dan Pearson

The bridge will be covered with trees and plants arranged by television gardener and award-winning landscape designer, Dan Pearson. His soft landscape planting scheme will have five distinct character areas that reflect the development of plant species from wild pioneers to ornamental garden cultivars. If planning consent is granted, construction is expected to commence in 2015 with the bridge opening to the public in 2018 In his speech, Dan Pearson explained the project and what he has tried to achieve in his designs for it. The talk was supported by the Garden Bridge Trust which is a newly formed charity designed to drive the project forwards. Chaired by Lord Davies of Abersoch, its mission is to raise the remaining funds in order for the bridge to be built and to manage the operations of the bridge in perpetuity to ensure that it is a pleasurable feature of London life forever. |||

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