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WaterAid unveils plans for RHS Chelsea 2024 garden

by | 30 Oct 23 | Garden Design, News, Sustainability

WaterAid has unveiled plans for its RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2024 garden

The international not-for-profit’s garden aims to harness the power of rainwater and highlight the importance of sustainable water management amidst the climate crisis.

Architect Je Ahn and landscape designer Tom Massey will be collaborating on the garden, which is being supported by long-term RHS Chelsea partner, Project Giving Back.

With 90% of all natural disasters being water-related, and an increase in flood frequency and extremity, the WaterAid garden is set to address the challenges presented by the ever-changing climate landscape.

“In recent years, British horticulture has felt the effects of extreme weather – including heatwaves, drought and flooding”, says designer Tom Massey.

“As our climate changes, water scarcity and insecurity will become more commonplace – here in the UK and around the world. We can all do things to help mitigate climate change, such as improving soil health, planting greenery to provide shade, and, most importantly, managing water sustainably.”

Sketch of WaterAid Garden design for Chelsea Flower Show WaterAid/Tom Massey

At the garden’s centre will be a rainwater-harvesting pavilion, which will filter and store water for drinking and irrigation, while also slowing rain flow.

The planting has been chosen to cope with varying amounts of water, including water violet, which can indicate whether a water source is clean or polluted, and alder tree, which has nodules on its roots that can absorb nitrogen and toxic heavy metals from the ground, improving soil health and fertility.

After the show, the garden will be relocated to a permanent home with the intention to educate future generations of gardeners about effective rainwater collection and efficient water usage in gardens.

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