Science has been the source of much good news recently – and not just in the arena of public health - with an announcement from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) about the opening of a new Centre for Science and Learning in the UK next year.
The RHS is renowned across the world as an organisation at the forefront of horticultural science and research. It is also a key part of the UK’s distinguished horticultural heritage.
That reputation will inevitably be enhanced by the opening of the society’s new centre at RHS Garden Wisley in 2021. The centre will house three new research laboratories and a team of around 70 advisors, scientists and PhD students as well as a library, archive and herbarium.
Having worked with researchers and scientists at the RHS and universities on a long term project investigating the link between wellbeing and access to green spaces, at Amberol we know first-hand how vital the work is that the RHS does. This spans from running the annual Britain in Bloom competition and similar initiatives such as It’s Your Neighbourhood, to essential scientific research.
It is hoped that the centre will help inspire the next generation of horticulturists, as well as enabling visitors to learn more about the scientific work that goes on at the RHS. This includes projects around contemporary horticultural challenges such as pollution, extreme weather and disease. The centre will also be an important resource in the training of the botanists, plant health scientists, and environmental scientists of the future.
The work that RHS scientists currently carry out addresses a range of key issues, including how garden plants can capture pollution, reduce flood damage, and help reduce temperatures in urban areas as the climate warms. Other areas that the research will focus on includes conservation of pollinators, as well as increasing plant biodiversity.
Such research helps inform policy making at government level in addition to initiating nationwide campaigns to raise awareness of key issues and promote good horticultural practice.
The centre will be an important learning hub, housing a library which holds over 80,000 books and an archive which will be accessible to the public, enabling them to share in the Society’s important collections of botanical art as well as horticultural books and records.
Finally, the new RHS Herbarium and Digitisation Suite which holds the UK’s largest collection of cultivated plants, will enable the society to both preserve this nationally important collection, as well as digitising the specimens - making them available online to all those who may wish to observe or study them.
“This is an exciting resource for the nation and for anyone who is interested in horticulture as a profession or as a hobby,” comments Amberol’s MD, Patience Atkinson-Gregory. “It is also essential in ensuring that we are able to adapt to the challenges posed by changes in climate and the environment to preserve our landscape for future generations. I look forward to its opening next year at RHS Wisley, as will many of our customers I’m sure.”
Patience adds: “While the simple technology that our own self-watering planters use cannot be compared to the high level research carried out by the RHS, we appreciate the importance of scientific knowledge and using the technology we have available to improve cultivation and enhance plant growth.”