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The Place2Be Securing Tomorrow Garden, designed by Jamie Butterworth at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022
© RHS/ Sarah Cuttle
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Jack Wallington: Banning fake grass is the only option

Published: May 26, 2022 at 8:12 am

Weed enthusiast and designer Jack Wallington on why the RHS banning fake grass at the Chelsea Flower Show can only be a good thing

In 2018, the RHS announced it would be banning the sale of artificial grass at its shows, including the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Then last year, it banned all plastic and artificial grass and flowers from its shows including where it was being used as floor covering and stand dressing. In line with its sustainability strategy, RHS is aiming to eliminate all single-use plastic, encourage reduced plastic use and ensure that all packaging is 100 per cent reusable, recyclable or compostable in RHS operations. This year the use of plastic carrier bags has also been banned.
Here's weed expert, plantsman and designer Jack Wallington on why a fake grass ban can only be a good thing.
"Fake grass usually replaces real lawns, which is one of the most sustainable usable surfaces humans can create, particularly as we move into a world of electric mowers and renewable energy.
Most importantly, even the plainest lawn is home to millions of lives within the soil, with some birds and bees also needing these low turf areas to feed on worms and insects and even nest. Allow a few flowering plants like daisies, dandelions and clover to grow in them and the use to wildlife soars.
Fake grass wipes all of that life out, an environmental void, and uses large amounts of carbon in its creation, transportation and installation, plus eventual transport to landfill where it adds to plastic waste, because barely any plastic lawns can be or are recycled.
A Rewilding Britain Landscape. Designed by Lulu Urquhart and Adam Hunt at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022. © RHS Neil Hepworth
There are scenarios in which people try to justify plastic grass, such as for children’s play areas or for people in wheelchairs, but there are other better solutions, such as bark chip which degrades and is softer, and recycled plastic grids sunk in lawns to give them extra support for wheelchair users who should also be allowed to enjoy real grass.
Banning fake grass, particularly for home use is the only and best solution. Despite all the warnings of a climate crises and wildlife species in the UK and around the world facing mass extinctions, consumers have failed to listen and fake grass sales continue to grow, damaging the environment for everyone."
Head to Jack's website for more on weeds, gardens and horticulture.
This May, garden charity Plant Life is encouraging people to leave their mowers in the shed and not mow their lawns in order to promote biodiversity and wildlife. Read more about No Mow May here.
Be sure to read our interview with Lynne Marcus, chair of the Society of Garden Designers, who is strongly against the use of plastic grass.
Visit our RHS Chelsea Flower Show hub page for all our Chelsea coverage

Authors

Daisy Bowie-Sell is digital editor of Gardens Illustrated. She has previously worked as a journalist for publications including the Daily Telegraph, WhatsOnStage and Time Out London

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