RHS Peat-Free Garden to live on

RHS Peat-Free Garden to live on: The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Peat-Free Garden will find a permanent home at Sunnyside Rural Trust in Hertfordshire after the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival.

The RHS Peat-Free Garden by designer, garden writer, presenter and RHS Ambassador Arit Anderson, has been designed to inspire more gardeners to transition to peat-free by showcasing what can be achieved with sustainable alternatives. The garden is entirely peat-free, from seed to plug to show plot, highlighting environmentally friendly gardening methods.

RHS Peat-Free Garden to live on

RHS Peat-Free Garden to live on

Following its stint at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival, the garden will move to Sunnyside Rural Trust, a charity and social enterprise in Hertfordshire that offers training and work experience to over 170 vulnerable people in the local community. The trust trains people with learning disabilities to acquire skills in a number of rural activities, including beekeeping, growing a wide range of plants and produce, landscaping and garden maintenance.

With its own 100% peat-free nursery, Sunnyside Rural Trust supplies plants to the public and creates bedding schemes for the local Dacorum Borough Council. The trust has successfully operated peat-free for three years, proving that even smaller organizations can make this important transition. Many of the plants in the RHS Peat-Free Garden have been grown in Sunnyside’s nursery, bringing the project full circle.

The garden will form a new space for the community at Sunnyside, providing an area to unwind for the trust’s volunteers, trainees and employees, as well as being open to the public. Interpretation boards from the show garden will be carried over to its permanent location in the hope that the garden will continue to educate and inspire more visitors to transition to peat-free.

Arit Anderson, Garden Designer, said: “I’m overjoyed that the RHS Peat-Free Garden will live on at Sunnyside Rural Trust. Their community work is inspirational and the fact that as a small organisation they run a 100% peat-free commercial nursery just goes to show that this transition is fully achievable for businesses of all sizes. I grew up in Hertfordshire so to know that this garden will continue to flourish there has an extra special connection and I couldn’t think of more worthy guardians than the incredible team at Sunnyside.”

Keely Siddiqui-Charlick, CEO of Sunnyside Rural Trust, said: “At Sunnyside we are trying to push the boundaries of what people with learning disabilities can achieve. The opportunity to grow plants for world class show gardens such as the RHS Peat-Free Garden not only instils a huge amount of pride and confidence in our team but also enables us to challenge wider perceptions around who can be involved in horticulture at that level. We have been growing 100% peat-free for a number of years now and I hope that we serve as proof that smaller organisations can successfully make the transition.

“We are so excited that this garden will live on at Sunnyside; it is going to be an incredible resource for our team, for wildlife, and for the community. Working with Arit on this has been a huge pleasure – she is amazing at getting the best out of people, and that’s exactly what we want this space to do.”

The Peat-Free Garden will officially open at Sunnyside in spring 2025. Sunnyside Rural Trust is featured in the RHS list of peat-free nurseries, which can be found here: https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/peat/peat-free-nurseries

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