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Our science strategy

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A new three-year science strategy aims to keep the RHS at the forefront of gardening research. We have identified five new environmental programmes to achieve this.

1. Encouraging biodiversity in gardens

The RHS regards gardens as being of increasing importance as havens for wildlife and intends to help gardeners maximise the biodiversity benefits of their gardens.

2. Gardening in a changing climate

The RHS recognises garden plants and the pests and diseases that attack them will all be affected by climate change, and intends to help gardeners by advising them on how to cope.

3. Conserving the genetic diversity of cultivated plants

The RHS believes that plants with characteristics that are likely to aid sustainability in the future, for example drought tolerance or disease resistance, should be conserved for future generations and intends to work with others to facilitate this.

4. Managing resource use in gardens

The RHS recognises that careful stewardship of resources like energy, water and land will become increasingly important with a growing population and changing climate and the RHS will manage its gardens and tailor its advisory functions appropriately.

5. Advancing plants and gardens for urban sustainability

The RHS believes that there are significant benefits to be derived from the presence of plants and gardens in urban environments, particularly as our changing climate is likely to make urban areas increasingly inhospitable.

More on the science strategy

RHS research projects

The RHS research programme has three broad aims:

  1. It underpins our advisory and diagnostic services by increasing our knowledge in areas of particular interest or importance to users of the services.

  2. It delivers against the RHS environmental driving goal.

  3. It builds on RHS strengths in biosystematics, especially in relation to cultivated plant taxonomy, for which we have an international reputation.

To find out more about the various RHS research projects view the projects pages within botany, plant pests, plant diseases, plants & the environment and soils.

John MacLeod lecture 2013

Dr Ken Thompson

Watch Dr Ken Thompson give a talk on alien invasive plant species to the UK.

Watch this video

Please note: The views and opinions presented in the lecture are those of Dr Ken Thompson and are not endorsed by the RHS.

Watch a video interview with James Wong and Dr Ken Thompson on invasive plant species

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Sustainable gardening

These are some of the projects we are involved in:

  • Pathology: Studies on the control of Cylindrocladium buxicola using fungicides and host resistance.
  • Soils: Assessing the performance of composted green waste as a substrate for green roofs.
  • Plants & environment: The role of private urban gardens in sustainable development.

Further information on sustainable gardening 

Gardening in a changing climate

Plants & environment projects:

  • Optimising water use in containers with bedding plants.
  • Understanding the contribution of various types of plants to aerial cooling in dry and hot weather.
  • The effects of waterlogging on Mediterranean species and its implications for UK gardens.

Further information on gardening in a changing climate

Gardening for wildlife

Entomology projects:

  • Running a light trap as part of the Rothamsted moth survey.
  • Surveys on the spread of non-native garden pests - lily beetle, rosemary beetle, hemerocallis gall midge and berberis sawfly.
  • Plants for Bugs - investigating invertebrate biodiversity in native and non-native garden plant communities.

Further information on wildlife gardening

Conserving plants in cultivation

Botany projects:

  • Establishing the priorities for cultivated plant conservation.
  • Conserving the genetic resource of cultivated plants through seedbanking.

Wild About Gardens

Wild About Gardens

Want to know more about how you can make your garden a great place for wildlife.  Wild About Gardens has a wealth of information.