The RHS has introduced two new categories to its annual Chelsea Flower Show that will appeal to owners of property with small or non-existent gardens as well as green fingered home owners: Urban Gardens and Houseplants. With space for housing at a premium, gardens are getting smaller and many modern homes have limited access to a private garden space or balcony.
The plethora of new properties being built with smaller gardens may explain the reignited interest in indoor gardening. Many of the most successful houseplants can tolerate severe conditions within the home, including low light levels and extremes of humidity. Indoor planting can be used to improve and enhance a home, not just as decoration but also to improve air quality.
House plants have come a long way from the Victorian era’s indestructible Mother-in-Law’s tongue or long-lived Aspidistra – although Instagram demonstrates that macrame plant hangers are still as popular as they were in the 1970s.
Of course, home buyers aren’t alone in being attracted to houseplants or clever outdoor garden design. Renters are understandably reluctant, or simply not allowed, to invest their time or energies in gardening. However, houseplants are rarely on the banned list along with pets and smoking, and trees in pots can (with a bit of heavy lifting) be transported to the next garden. With younger people taking longer than ever to establish a family or home of their own, nurturing a house plant might offer a good temporary substitute for the longed-for home, children or pets postponed by today’s house prices.
There is even an answer for people unable to commit to owning a house plant. Renting plants has long been the remit of offices and communal properties, with companies paying for plants to be replaced when they fail. However, there are now websites offering to send ‘plant love’ to subscribers and home owners can receive regular deliveries of surprise house plants, along with instructions for their care.
RHS Chelsea’s new Urban Gardens category will demonstrate how to make the most of outdoor space through good garden design, when only a small gardening space is available in property such as modern houses and inner city homes.
As indoor plants have come back into fashion, particularly among younger home owners, there will a new RHS Chelsea House Plant Studios category with six spaces available in which suppliers and designers can display house plants for judging. The spaces will replicate a room within the house and demonstrate the benefits of introducing house plants into the home.
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2020 will be held from 19th to 23rd May.
If you’re buying a new build property, whatever the size of the garden, ask a Chartered Surveyor for a building survey.