Central London's famous park spans 350 acres (142 hectares) and runs from Kensington Palace in the west to Park Lane in the east. 70 more 'Hyde Parks' have been created in British front gardens since 2015.
For decades front gardens have been paved over, parked on and neglected by homeowners across the country. But according to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the UK’s front gardens are blooming again - thanks partly to lockdown.
Comparing data from two surveys, the charity estimates that front garden greenery has increased by an area 70 times the size of Hyde Park since 2015, adding a whopping 24,500 acres of plant life and natural habitat for birds, bees and humans. The flourishing of front yards comes at a time of rising awareness about the environment and the health benefits of green spaces.
The RHS’s Prof Alistair Griffiths said: “This substantial increase in greenery will be bringing wide-reaching benefits to people’s mental and physical health and to wildlife; improving air quality, helping conserve water from rainfall and cooling cities in hot summer months.”
Meanwhile, across the pond, a study by Princeton University finds that digging, weeding and planting improve happiness and 'emotional wellbeing' as much as physical exercise or eating out. Naturally, this will come as no surprise to gardeners, but hopefully it will persuade non-gardeners to give it a go. In conclusion, the study says that gardening is 'good for the soul', improving happiness and emotional wellbeing as much as cycling, walking or eating out.
Now that a man called Keith Weed has been appointed president of the Royal Horticultural Society, we thought it would be amusing to take a look at nominative determinism, i.e. how your name can influence your career. But it shouldn't be confused with an aptronym! [OGN - August 2020]