Looking to the future article from the garden march 2016

RHS Science developments RHS Science Strategy By sharing and improving RHS horticultural research the new Science Strategy aims (via four key themes) to continue to guide gardeners and growers. Using the vast, ever-growing collections of plants, insects, pathogens, books and art in its possession, the RHS can maintain its place as a leading contributor to global horticultural science. The Society will aim to continue to grow and invest in research. This will help Researchers at Coventry University (above), part funded by the to maintain the health of our plants and the beneficial RHS, studying how people use different muscles when gardening.
organisms they support, safeguarding UK biodiversity A new horticultural science centre and knowledge bank (below) (in the process) through improved stewardship of nature, will be built in the Hilltop area at RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey.
with schemes such as Perfect for Pollinators. The four key themes in the strategy are:
1 a global knowledge bank for gardening and garden plants
2 plant heath in gardens
3 gardening in a changing world
4 plant science for all: people, plants and planet
For more information about the work of the RHS Science Alistair Griffiths, RHS Director of Science and Collections (left), and RHS Director General Sue Biggs discuss the team – and to download a copy of the strategy – visit: RHS Science Strategy with The Garden Editor Chris Young.
Looking to Sitting in the Council Room legacy under which she and her Last autumn, the Society unveiled RHS Gardens Wisley, Harlow Carr and at the RHS headquarters in team work. ‘Science in particular is the RHS Vision: a document that sets Hyde Hall. In addition, the announce- Westminster, London is absolutely crucial to our work,' she out the challenges that everyone ment in October 2015 of a fifth garden always an experience. says. ‘We must make science more from individual gardeners, the wider (RHS Garden Bridgewater, Greater the future More than just a meeting visible, and remind members and horticultural community and the Manchester, opening 2019) and room, it embodies so much of the visitors that without our scientific global population face in relation to increased community outreach longevity of the Society; panelled foundations we wouldn't be able plants and food. The eight key issues across the UK are some main walls, yes, but so too portraits and to give the right information in the – such as building stronger and activities. As Sue says, ‘Our vision is photographs of significant members right way, to the right people.' happier communities, or protecting to enrich everyone's life through from the organisation's past. The late The original purpose of the plant health – link directly to the plants, and make the UK a greener Lord Aberconway (of Bodnant organisation, ‘the encouragement current Key Investment Projects and more beautiful place. It is hugely The 21st century poses new Garden) and Sir Richard Carew Pole and improvement of the science, which will deliver a £160 million aspirational. With our increasing horticultural and societal challenges (of Antony in Cornwall) oversee art and practice of horticulture in change to both the charitable membership and all the different for our planet, as well as for the UK's contemporary conversations. But all its branches', is as relevant external work of the RHS (through people we work with, we really centre stage is Sir Joseph Banks (1743– today as it was on 7 March 1804 communities and education), believe the RHS can make a material gardens and gardeners. The RHS 1820), botanist, natural historian and (when it was founded).
and substantial redevelopment of difference to the lives of people recognises the importance of promoter of the sciences – and one – through our passion for plants.' horticultural science in meeting these of the founding members of the Horticultural Society of London.
Science in action challenges, and has pledged major Fast-forward to 2016, and the Our vision is to enrich everyone's life Underpinning much of the vision is investments to prepare for the future interests of these horticultural greats the work of the science team, led by – gardens, botany and science – are through plants, and make the UK Dr Alistair Griffiths, RHS Director of Author: Chris Young, Editor, The Garden
still at the core of the RHS. Director Science and Collections. Soon after General Sue Biggs is well aware of the a greener and more beautiful place the RHS Vision was launched, 48 The Garden March 2016 March 2016 The Garden 49

RHS Science developments Launch of the RHS VisionIn October 2015, the Society unveiled its new RHS Vision. This outlines the issues both affecting home gardeners and the wider plant and horticultural industry, and shows the way in which the RHS will respond to these problems. Sustained future investment of £160 million will help to improve the science and art of horticulture and promote its joy and importance to all – from Britain in Bloom to the work of the RHS Campaign for School Gardening. Changes to RHS Gardens, including the flagship site at Wisley, Surrey, and a new site in Greater Manchester (RHS Garden Bridgewater; opening 2019), will bring horticulture to many more visitors. ✤ For a copy of RHS Vision, visit: www.rhs.
org.uk/rhsvision or call 01733 294664.
We really believe the RHS can make comprises 30,000 different daffodils. It is known that N. ‘Carlton', a bright a material difference to the lives of yellow, large-cupped cultivar, has high levels of galantamine. By getting people – through our passion for plants the name and plant description right, and in holding a specimen in the RHS herbarium, the Society can ensure the Alistair published the RHS Science area) typifies the link between right plants go into potential breeding Strategy 2015–2019. This document, science and gardening. ‘If we can that could enhance the levels of the first forward-looking science select mixtures of plants that can cope galantamine produced. ‘It is exactly review for many years, outlines four with pollution or difficult growing this sort of knowledge that the RHS key scientific areas of focus (see p49). conditions, for example, then we has; we can help with so much more It considers issues such as knowledge actively support Greening Grey Britain than people may have expected.' of garden plants, plant health and by giving sound advice,' says Alistair. This collaborative and philanthropic making science relevant to people From front gardens to green roofs, approach is very much part of both and the planet. ‘The value of street trees or windowsills, authori- Sue's wider RHS Vision, and Alistair's horticultural science cannot be tative knowledge from RHS scientists science work. The benefits for RHS underestima ted,' Alistair says. ‘With our can have substantial benefits. members and the wider community The RHS herbarium investment in scientific research we But the challenge, as for all large specimen (above) is clear. Implementing much of this will develop a much stronger evidence organisations, is to get the message of Narcissus work and explaining it to people will base that helps to improve the lives of across. From PhD scientific research ‘Carlton', known to be a challenge but, with a clear have high levels of gardeners and the environment.' (currently the RHS is funding 10, galantamine. The direction, the Society's forebears So what does that mean for home including one helping Sheffield and RHS can ensure this would hopefully have been proud of cultivar is correctly gardeners? According to Alistair, it Virginia universities determine if the continued work of RHS science. gives a sound base to the Society's planted-up front gardens have a We may yet see a knowing twinkle knowledge bank – which then gets positive impact on residents' from Banks's eye as he presides over imparted to different audiences. ‘With wellbeing) to engaging children many more of these conversations. the right taxonomy [the identification, through the Rocket Science project description, classification and naming (see p75), science has a role. Alistair of plants], we can understand which says, ‘As we better understand what plants are best suited to different plants there are and how they relate Listen: RHS podcast locations; we can grow those plants to each other, it will help us and in our gardens; and as a result we not others do their scientific research.' Fortnightly RHS gardening podcasts offer a lively only beautify an area but also better One example he cites is the role of magazine approach to the latest news, highlights and enquiries to the RHS. For a special science-based use and conserve the genetic Narcissus and the medical industry. podcast, including this interview with RHS Director diversity of garden plants,' he says. Daffodils contain the chemical General Sue Biggs and RHS Director of Science and The Society's Greening Grey Britain galantamine, which is used for the Collections Alistair Griffiths, download the latest campaign (in which people are treatment of Alzheimer's disease. edition. ✤ Visit: www.itunes.com and search RHS encouraged to turn over some paving The RHS maintains the International Gardening Podcast; or www.rhs.org.uk/podcast or tarmac and plant up a small green Cultivar Register of Daffodils, which 50 The Garden March 2016

Source: https://www.rhs.org.uk/about-the-rhs/publications/magazines/the-garden/2016-issues/March/looking-to-the-future-rhs-science-strategy


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