RHS Heritage Interpretation

Updated: December 2022

Gardens and gardening have the power to enrich everybody’s life and one of the reasons for this is a rich heritage of a diverse garden flora, backed by horticultural and scientific knowledge. The RHS cares for the finest collection of horticultural literature and archives in the world, assembled over more than two centuries. We want to understand, share and enhance that heritage and knowledge in an inclusive way to understand garden heritage and to engage with audiences. To do this we will work to the following Interpretation Principles:

Our Interpretation Principles

Acknowledge our history

We acknowledge that the history of the RHS, which was founded in 1804, its collections, its publications, and the practice and science of horticulture have been shaped by the views and cultures of the past, and that over time values and attitudes have changed.

We acknowledge that our collections and records are partial and that the contributions and experiences of many people were ignored or excluded in the past.

Enhance our understanding

We will aim to broaden our understanding of our collections and our horticultural heritage through new research and by opening up dialogue with people and communities that have been under-represented and impacted.

We will aim to involve and engage a wide variety of perspectives and disciplines in order to create a more accurate and inclusive understanding of our collections and heritage.

Communicate and share

We will aim to provide the best access possible to our collections within available resources. We will work to develop well researched narratives and content that engages broad and diverse audiences and share our passion for gardening.

Consult and involve

We will listen and learn, accepting that we do not have all the answers, to ensure that our collections, content and narratives connect to our audiences now and in the future.

We will actively seek opportunities to enable a wide range of people to share and record their experience of gardening, making space for dialogue and debate.
We will work towards creating a more representative collection and record for future generations.

Useful links:

RHS Policies
RHS Collections
RHS Science

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.