Shoppers in London’s West End are enjoying a stroll around a new, award-winning garden from this month, after one of the medal-winning show gardens from this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show was reconstructed just off Oxford Street.
The Wild West End Garden, designed by Kate Gould, won a gold medal at the show and features plants chosen for their ability to purify the air.
The garden is free to the public, and was installed in Old Quebec Street, just off one of the UK’s busiest shopping streets, as part of a project to create more green space in the area. So far the initiative has installed green roofs, beehives and boxes for birds and bats, with surveys showing bird species such as black redstarts and starlings, plus rare species of bats are all taking up residence in the capital.
Ferns and plants in the garden which help remove pollution include acers, Chinese dogwoods and the seven-son flower tree (Heptacodium miconioides), a small tree covered in white flowers in summer followed by bright red sepals in autumn.
Trees also provide shelter and privacy from the bustling urban surroundings, with low-level planting beckoning visitors in from the street. Light boxes illuminate the space after dark.
You can take a leaf from Kate’s design and clean the air in your garden by making careful choices about what you plant. Here are a few of our top tips:
- Plant a hedge to trap pollutants before they even get into your garden.
- Choose plants with hairy leaves as they’re able to absorb more chemicals.
- Try to increase the plant cover in your garden – by installing a green roof on the shed, for example.
- Grow ivy, which has a huge leaf surface and can soak up lots of pollutants
- Other plants which are good at cleaning the air include perennial wallflowers (Erysimum), Alchemilla, and acers.