As we celebrated our pearl anniversary, that is our 30th year, exhibiting at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, we were delighted to be awarded another gold medal in the Floral Marquee.
Our display recycled and repurposed the coccoliths that were used in Rosy’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show Forever Freefolk garden in 2016. Coccoliths are the microscopic phytoplanktonic skeletal remains which are fossilised forming chalk. Once again, Rosy used them to highlight the importance and fragility of chalk stream environments, as well as our need to reuse, recycle and repurpose.
Chalk stream environments are incredibly rare, with the majority of those on the planet found in the south of England. Rosy refers to chalk streams as our equivalent of the rain forests. And just as rain forests across the globe are under increasing pressure; our chalk streams remain under threat from people, pollution and climate change.
Rosy’s interest in chalk streams is in part due to the location of the nursery. We're based in Test Valley, Hampshire, home to the River Test and River Itchen. Chalk streams provide a haven for unique flora and fauna and their existence enabled the growth of our local settlements such as Whitchurch and Overton, and specific industries such as silk and paper milling. They also provide aquifers for the water of the people living there. But currently, all water resource regions dependent on chalk-aquifers are now designated as water-stressed.
In June 2023 Chalk Stream Strategy’s Implementation Plan was launched. A range of agencies including the Environment Agency, regulators, industry and non governmental organisations signed up to delivering the recommendations in a national strategy to restore good health to our chalk streams. *
The implementation plan aims to protect and restore chalk stream environments, but requires us all, particularly those living in these areas to take care of these precious resources.
We hope that our display has helped to raise some awareness of these unique, rare and precious resources.
*For more information about the Chalk Stream Strategy and Implementation Plan see: Launch of the Chalk Stream Strategy’s Implementation Plan by Charles Rangeley-Wilson, Chair of the Chalk Stream Restoration Group - Creating a better place (blog.gov.uk)