The 'power of flowers' as Mary Berry back campaign for RHS Chatsworth Flower Show

The calming balm of Britain’s famous green spaces has long called to those seeking solitude, amid the familiar refrain that gardening is good for the soul.

RHS director general Sue Briggs, on the power of plants

Fresh air and exercise can cure a multitude of ills, we are told, with many people feeling better just for being outside.

Now, to celebrate this power of plants, some of Britain’s best known names from baker Mary Berry to actress Joanna Lumley have crafted their own creations.

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And with the launch of this week’s RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, they are to be auctioned off to open up access to gardening for the nation’s young people.

Baker Mary Berry with her 'power flower'

“Ninety per cent of us say we feel better just by being around plants,” Sue Briggs, director of the Royal Horticultural Society has told The Yorkshire Post.

“And evidence continues to stack up around the positive impact of gardening and having access to green space has on our mental health. At this year’s show there is a host of content to help highlight these benefits further.”


This week’s show, from Wednesday to Sunday, will see a new ‘mindfulness garden’.

Presenter Nikki Chapman

There is also to be a woodland feature, celebrating the power of trees and the benefits they can bring to wellbeing and the environment.

“We’re sure visitors will leave RHS Chatsworth feeling the positive benefits of spending hours immersed in the tens of thousands of flowers and plants on display,” Ms Briggs adds.

The RHS’ Greening Great Britain Campaign aims to highlight how gardening and green spaces can help across all ages in society, “one plant at a time”, with the power flowers’ auction to fund access to gardens for schoolchildren in England.

Celebrity backing

Celebrities including cook Mary Berry, actress Joanna Lumley, and presenter Nicki Chapman are among those who have painted their own ‘power flowers’.

“I’ve long loved gardening as a way to relax and feel the best tonic of all is to enjoy the great outdoors,” said Mary Berry, who is ambassador for the RHS.

“The health and well-being benefits of gardening was a huge theme at RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year and benefits of growing plants for our health, both mental and physical, is increasingly being recognised.

“I hope people enjoy the Power Flowers and it’s great that through the auction the RHS will be raising funds for the next generation of gardeners.”

Television presenter Nicki Chapman, who defied doctors’ orders to attend the Chelsea Flower Show last month just days after surgery for a major brain tumour, is also backing the benefits of the campaign.

“I think it’s brilliant that the RHS does fun initiatives like this to engage with new audiences and people who aren’t expert gardeners like myself,” she said.

“The RHS is a vital charity and we can all make a positive difference to the environment and for wildlife by growing more plants, as well as reaping the benefits by creating beautiful places to enjoy in our own and community gardens.”

Chatsworth Flower Show

The Chatsworth Flower Show returns to the 1,000-acre estate for five days from Wednesday.

As well as the mindfulness garden, championing wellbeing, there is to be a Wedgewood Garden to celebrate the power of plants to connect communities.

The individual Power Flowers, including more creations from Joe Swift, Angellica Bell, and Deborah Meaden, will be auctioned on eBay by June 16.