The exhibit is designed by the Eden Project and presented in partnership with peat-free compost maker Dalefoot Composts and uses a little piece of Cumbrian peatland on loan under a special license from Natural England.
In the Discovery Zone display at the show, gardeners are invited ‘to step into’ Bolton Fell Moss National Nature Reserve (NNR), a restored Cumbrian bog previously used to harvest peat for horticulture, to experience the secrets, sounds and beauty of these enormous bog gardens. They can hear sounds from a peatland - curlews, lapwing, the hum of billions of insects and the occasional squelch - whilst getting up close to the fascinating bog plants - sphagnum mosses, cotton grass, cranberries, and heathers.
The peatland display is being given expert care whilst at the show to make sure it remains hydrated and will be returned to its natural home once Chelsea has finished.
Exhibit by the Eden Project
The aim of the exhibit is to demonstrate the importance of peat bogs and the environmental damage gardeners are causing to our planet by using peat compost in their outdoor spaces. Alongside the peatland, a bountiful potager of vegetables and companion planting grown by gold-medal-winning Pennard Plants, illustrates what gardeners can achieve in their own plot by switching to peat-free gardening. All of these plants have been grown in Dalefoot Compost’s peat-free products which are Soil Association-approved for organic growing.
Tracey Smith, Eden’s Commercial Manager, said: “We’re delighted to have received this gold medal - thank you to the judges and everyone who has visited the stand for their enthusiasm and kind comments! The timeline of a bog is illustrated in the RHS Chelsea exhibit to show the thousands of years peat represents. Peat grows at only 1mm per year and this is contrasted to the bags of peat compost it yields and the short season of growth that peat gives gardeners.
Peatlands only occupy about 3% of the Earth’s land surface but are the largest terrestrial carbon store on the planet. UK peatlands cover around 12% of its land area and store 3.2 billion tonnes of carbon, more than twice that of the UK’s forests, as well as being very important habitats for biodiversity.
This is the latest initiative by Dalefoot Composts and the Eden Project to promote the sustainability benefits of peat-free gardening. Dalefoot’s Wool Compost for Potting is endorsed by the world-renowned environmental charity and social enterprise, and the two organizations have plans to work together on other future initiatives.
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