A visitor takes a photo of tulips on a mobile phone at the RHS Great London Plant Fair 2014.

RHS calls for people to swap smartphones for salvias, tablets for terrariums and desktops for daffodils

  • Ipsos MORI Poll* commissioned by the RHS to undertake a survey among 2,506 11–75 year olds across Great Britain shows that nearly a third (31%) will spend 9 hours or more on a smartphone outside of work and school this week, whilst less than one in 20 (4%) who have an outside space at home will spend the same time gardening
  • Of social media users who have seen pictures of plants and flowers on their social media feed, 78% say they feel positive when they see these pictures

As part of its Greening Great Britain Campaign, the RHS is calling for the nation to drop their devices and pick up a spade and get gardening for health, wellbeing and for the environment.

A new Ipsos MORI study has shown that a significant proportion of those surveyed (31%) will spend 9 hours or more on smartphones outside of work and school, compared to gardening (4%) in a typical week, in spring.

The survey also shows that 64% of people spend three hours or more on smartphones outside of work and school in a week, whilst just 31% will spend three hours or more gardening this spring.

To get behind its Greening Great Britain Campaign and for their health and wellbeing the RHS wants families and friends to get together, get gardening and then share their gardening successes on social media with the hashtag #GreeningGreatBritain.

Despite more than three quarters (78%) of these social media users who have seen pictures of plants or flowers on their social media feed saying they feel positive when they see them on social media, only 9% of social media users said they have shared on social media what they are doing in a garden or a garden they have visited.

Sue Biggs, RHS Director General says: “We’re not saying ditch your smartphone or devices forever, we’re just suggesting that a bit less time scrolling and more time digging would do us all a world of good.  We hope people will help us get Greening Great Britain as growing more plants is good for health, wildlife, air quality and creates beautiful places to enjoy.

“And with 4 in 5 of social media users saying they feel positive when they see pictures of plants on social media we think it would be lovely after your gardening efforts, to fill social feeds with plants and spring blooms to cheer us all up.

“Whilst 80% of participants said they had a garden, either shared or their own, the 20% who don’t can join the huge trend in growing house plants and now is the perfect time to repot your house plants and care for them.”

The RHS is sharing its top jobs to get Greening Great Britain this Easter:

  1. Trim lawn edges, winkle out weeds and tidy up overgrown hedges – it is amazing how much better gardens look after this
  2. Now is the time to sow hardy flower seeds; wild meadow flowers, cornfield annuals and annual garden flower such as love-in-a-mist, fiery marigolds and sunflowers
  3. Good things to eat come from seeds sown now – lettuces and other salads, peas and broad beans, broccoli and sweet pointed cabbages, carrots and salad onions
  4. Start feeding houseplants and repot crowded ones – start taking cuttings  once strong shoots arise
  5. Revitalise any sad, abandoned tubs, troughs and other containers with fresh peat free potting compost and plant summer bedding plants (remembering to have an old curtain or similar to draw over them if any night frosts threaten in the next few weeks)
  6. Go on…….. visit that plant centre or nursery and treat yourself and take a plant  home to plant and love, but go early as Easter is the peak buying season

Some 42% of those who spend time gardening at home said they felt “healthy”, happy or closer to nature (49%), productive (53%), calm (50%) compared to those who said it made them feel tired (19%), Uninterested (13%) bored (13%) or frustrated (11%)

Nearly 4 in 5 (78%) of 11 to 18 year old social media users who have seen pictures and flowers on their social media feed, said they feel positive when seeing them compared with 80% of 55-75 year olds.

Sue finishes; “So going by these results, if you get gardening you’re likely to feel healthy, productive and calm, plus if you share your beautiful pictures you’ll be making others feel positive too.”

Social media users aged 25-34 years old (12%) are the most likely to have shared information on social media about a garden they have visited or what they are doing in a garden, followed by 11% of 35-44 year olds and 10% of 16-24 year olds – the least likely being 55-75 (7%).

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