The Society for General Microbiology organised an exhibition in the Urban Greening Zone in the Great Pavillion at Chelsea Flower Show 2012. On our exhibition stand, visitors were encouraged to take an adventure into the soil.

Most gardeners don’t realise that the healthy growth of the plants they cultivate depends to a great extent on interaction with invisible microbes both in the soil and living on the surface of plant leaves and stems. These fascinating interactions are many and varied. Our display focused on the symbiotic (mutually beneficial) associations that occur between most plants and microbes. We aimed to highlight the positive roles of mycorrhizal fungi, foliar endophytic fungi and bacteria called rhizobia and how, through research, these beneficial plant-microbe partnerships can be enhanced to maximize plant growth by improving the resistance of host plants to a wide variety of stresses, including disease, drought and nutrient shortages, in a sustainable way.

We were delighted to receive a Silver-Gilt award for our stand at Chelsea and would like to thank everyone who was involved with this challenging project. Can Microbes Feed the World?, a special edition of our quarterly magazine Microbiology Today, was produced for Chelsea Flower Show. Photographs of this event are available to view on our Facebook page.