'Morons working against their own cause': Landscaper behind garden targeted by eco-activists brands protest 'shameful'

26 May 2023, 02:13 | Updated: 26 May 2023, 08:33

An award-winning landscaper involved in a Chelsea Flower Show garden that was targeted by eco-protesters has branded them "morons" who are "working against their own cause".
An award-winning landscaper involved in a Chelsea Flower Show garden that was targeted by eco-protesters has branded them "morons" who are "working against their own cause". Picture: Twitter / @JustStop_Oil

By Chris Samuel

An award-winning landscaper involved in a Chelsea Flower Show garden that was targeted by eco-protesters has branded them "morons" who are "working against their own cause".

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At around 9am on Thursday, three women from environmental group Just Stop Oil stepped over the rope barrier at the RBC Brewin Dolphin and walked into the middle of the sustainable garden designed by Paul Hervey-Brookes, before throwing the contents of several packets of orange powder paint across the flowers and hard landscaping.

But another woman who was attending the annual took it upon herself to hose down them down, to cheers from the crowd at "Britain's greenest event".

Gareth Wilson, a landscaper who worked on the show garden said: 'Quite frankly, these people are absolute morons who have failed to do their homework.

"It is an act of vandalism and absolutely shameful what they have done. The paving is supposed to be going to a charity after the show.

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"They poured that dye all over the plants. How are we now going to re-use those.

"The RHS is massively - probably more than any other organisation of their kind - moving heaven and earth to push for sustainability. It just won't accept your design if it is not sustainable," he told MailOnline.

"You have to meet rigorous requirements, showing that you are using sustainable products and UK-sourced plants and materials wherever possible.

Woman in Chelsea Flower show hoses off Just Stop Oil protesters

"At the end of the day, we are planting trees and plants, most of which will get re-homed at the end of the show. There is no petrol allowed on site.

"If they were doing this protest outside an oil refinery or a company that was using oil or polluting the atmosphere, or pouring oil into rivers, I am not saying I would understand it but I would have a little bit of sympathy.

He added: "But these morons have come into a sustainable showground. They are working against their own cause."

An onlooker could be heard saying: "Oh no, oh for god's, you morons - all you're doing is ruining them, you prats."

The three women named by JSO were Stephanie Golder, 35, Naomi Goddard, 58, a retired landscape engineer, and Rosa Hicks, 28.

Just Stop Oil protesters get doused at Chelsea Flower Show
Just Stop Oil protesters get doused at Chelsea Flower Show. Picture: social media

The Metropolitan Police took to Twitter on Thursday morning to announce three people had been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage in connection with a protest.

In a video released shortly after the incident, the eco-group supporters could be seen throwing orange powder over the RBC Brewin Dolphin Garden, with three activists wearing Just Stop Oil branded t-shirts.

It follows separate protests on Thursday in which 28 people took part in slow marches on Haymarket, Knightsbridge and Regents Street, demanding the UK Government stop issuing new oil and gas licenses.

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Just Stop Oil protesters targeted the Chelsea Flower Show in London on Thursday morning
Just Stop Oil protesters targeted the Chelsea Flower Show in London on Thursday morning. Picture: LBC / Just Stop Oil

Read More: ‘Utterly contemptible’ Just Stop Oil target ‘Britain’s greenest event’ the Chelsea Flower Show as three arrested

Read More: Eco-activists cost taxpayer £3.5million in four weeks as senior Met cop urges public not to take matters into own hands

The three Just Stop Oil supporters could be seen throwing the paint, demanding that the UK government halts all new oil, gas and coal projects.

The incident, which happened at around 9am, saw the women step over the rope barrier and into the garden before throwing the powder across the flowers and hard landscaping.

Listen and subscribe to Unprecedented: Inside Downing Street on Global Player
Listen and subscribe to Unprecedented: Inside Downing Street on Global Player. Picture: LBC

One protester could be heard saying: "What use is a garden if you can't eat?"

Cries of dismay could be heard from the public, though this later changed to applause and shouts of "well done".

Taking to social media, Conservative Party Chairman Greg Hands wrote: "This is an appalling attack by Just Stop Oil on the Chelsea Flower Show, literally Britain’s greenest event.

"This is utterly contemptible.

"Labour and Starmer have accepted thousands from one of the major Just Stop Oil donors."

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Stephanie Golder, 35, a charity project coordinator from Southend said: “As a passionate gardener and food grower I am petrified of a future without pollinators and therefore without food.

"Today I disrupted the Chelsea Flower Show to ask the visitors, exhibitors and the RHS to pick a side; to stand for good over evil, life over death, right over wrong; to stand with the young and the billions of people in the global south whose lives are being cut short by climate collapse.”

“If you love gardens or growing food, you must join in civil resistance against new oil and gas.”

Commander Karen Findlay tweeted: 'We are aware of an incident at the Chelsea Flower Show whereby Just Stop Oil protestors have criminally damaged show gardens at the #chelseaflowershow2023 @metpoliceuk have quickly made three arrests for criminal damage.'

It follows the arrest of six Just Stop Oil protesters by the Met in Marylebone yesterday, May 25, following further slow walk protests.

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show began on Monday and is running until Saturday.

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