Aggie MacKenzie tells gardeners to clean up their act
Celebrity cleaning expert Aggie MacKenzie will be getting her hands dirty to help Garden Organic promote the huge benefits of home composting at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2006.
Aggie will launch the “Garden Organic - it starts with compost” stand at Chelsea’s press day on Monday, May 22 at 11.45am. She is well known as part of the bossy duo who berate messy householders in the “How Clean is Your House” TV show, but this time she will be telling gardeners to clean up their act by composting their green waste.
Garden Organic’s exhibit, designed by landscape architect Rebecca Warren, will be sponsored by NFU Mutual and Straight. This display will certainly stand out of the crowd at this prestigious show – with its a larger-than-life compost bin overflowing with rotten vegetables and dead plants! The charity aims to demonstrate that composting is simple and should be the first step for every gardener, especially those who want to be organic.
Aggie MacKenzie, former Associate Editor of Good Housekeeping, and her husband Matthew Goulcher, a member of Garden Organic, have their own allotment. She says: “Everyone should clean up their garden by creating a compost heap – it’s the easiest way to recycle your green waste and it’s much better for the environment too!”
Garden Organic wants to banish the myth that composting has to be a mucky business and show that it is actually the cleanest, greenest way to deal with most garden and kitchen waste. As much as one third of household waste could be composted, rather than being transported to landfill sites. This kind of waste can produce methane gas, which contributes to global warming, in landfill conditions. Home compost also provides an alternative to peat, extracted from vital wildlife sites.
To promote home composting, Garden Organic will also be giving visitors an opportunity to play its fun “Virtual Compost Bin Game”. The aim of this game is to decide what can and can’t be composted. The charity hopes that its informative display, “Garden Organic - it starts with compost”, will earn it a third Chelsea medal in as many years, having won a gold and silver in the Lifelong Learning Section previously.
Compost is a timely topic for Chelsea - judging from the growing interest in Garden Organic’s compost displays, courses and projects. The charity launched a Master Composter Programme in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council in 2001. This pioneering scheme, which involves volunteers receiving free training to promote home composting in their community, is rapidly expanding. Three more local authorities, Buckinghamshire, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire, have also got involved now.
However, Garden Organic does realise there is still a long way to go. The charity’s recent survey (conducted by MORI) revealed that many British garden owners may be missing out on the benefits of home composting. While 76 per cent of the respondents say they recycle their garden waste, only 40 per cent feed their soil with garden compost. This would suggest that many gardeners are giving all of their green waste away, rather than saving it to improve the soil in their own gardens.
Anyone who would like to learn how to create their own compost can access a free guide on Garden Organic’s website, www.gardenorganic.org.uk.