RHS:Dig For Victory

Round & About

Share photographs of Second World War vegetable plots with the RHS Dig for Victory campaign.

This year marks the 80th year since the outbreak of the Second World War and the Royal Horticultural Society is asking people to submit pictures of wartime vegetable gardens remembering the Dig for Victory campaign. 

The RHS is compiling material for exhibitions at four of its gardens across the country including RHS Wisley near Woking.  

The displays will include material and wartime propaganda that inspired people to grow more food and to help supplement the allocation from their ration books, it will also include photos of families’ own gardens and allotments. 

When war broke out in 1939, the RHS began working with the Ministry of Agriculture on the Dig for Victory campaign. Advice was given out via leaflets and exhibition packs touring the towns and villages across the country and included guides on how to cultivate vegetables all year round, storing of produce and making a compost heap. 

Shortages meant veg plots had to be created in unlikely places such as those made by employees at Wolsey Motors in Birmingham. Staff there made cloches out of scarp car windscreens for an allotment at the factory. 

By 1943 it’s thought around 55% of households were growing fruit and veg and their efforts helped contribute to the nation’s health. 

Fiona Davison, head of libraries and collections at the Royal Horticultural Society, said: “RHS information and advice helped get a nation growing at a time when food supplies were at an historic low. Many are likely to recall parents and relatives turning previously unloved plots into efficient and prolific green spaces. 

“We’re asking the public to share those pictures and memories with us so we can celebrate the contribution of gardening to our wartime history.” 

Dig for Victory will be on display at RHS Wisley from 14th October to 17th November. There will also be displays at Rosemoor in Great Torrington, Devon; Hyde Hall in Chelmsford, Essex and Harlow Carr in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

  Send photographs and any additional information for the exhibit to [email protected]