Keeping their cool at Chelsea
Wednesday, 16 May 2012
ÔÇÿPlants can do surprising and amazing thingsÔÇÖ
Reducing air temperatures, controlling flooding and trapping pollution. These are some of the effects your garden has on the world we live in.
For the first time, the University of Reading and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) will be exhibiting together at this year's Chelsea Flower Show (22 - 26 May 2012), to showcase their research which is examining the effect of plants in urban environments.
A surprisingly high proportion of the surface of some of the busiest and most populated western cities is covered in vegetation, almost up to 50% in some cases. In the UK, almost half of those urban green areas are made up of private gardens, so what we grow in our gardens and public green spaces, and how we manage them, can have a huge impact on our environment.
Dr Tijana Blanusa, a RHS scientist based at the University's School of Biological Sciences, is currently working on understanding the ‘services' which plants can provide in the urban environment .
Dr Blanusa said: "Plants can do surprising and amazing things. There is sound scientific evidence that urban vegetation, because of the way it naturally functions, moderates air temperatures, helps insulate buildings against the extremes of weather, and supports and enriches urban biodiversity and human health.
"Our exhibit will show how they can cool the air temperature, hold excess water in their canopies during and after rainfall and temporarily trap pollutants on their large surface areas"
Trevor Pitman, Technical Manager, School of Biological Sciences is helping Dr Blanusa with the exhibit and has many years of experience devising innovative ways of displaying the University's' research at Chelsea. This year students, Aimi Hill and Hannah Smith from the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication have used their skills to create the massive display boards that illustrate the exhibit.
Keeping their cool: how the plants in urban environment help reduce temperatures, control flooding and capture pollution will be featured in the ‘RHS Environment' section of the Chelsea Flower Show. The stand number is GPJ/6