A Guide for ResearchersHow to access our research collections

You are welcome to use our research collections and the steps below, and in our guide, explain how to make an appointment to use the research collections in either London or Wisley.


1. Make an appointment

Collection availability and facilities may vary across our RHS Libraries, and our staff will be happy to discuss your needs when you book a research appointment.


The Research Room opens several days a week following a two week rotation. View our appointments calendar (584kB pdf) to see which days we are open, then contact us with the date(s) you would like to book your appointment for.


The Research Library opens Monday to Friday by appointment. Please contact us to make a booking.

Harlow Carr

The Research Room, with a collection of useful books and periodicals, is available by prior appointment. Please contact us to make an appointment and see our publications list.

2. Research registration 

Complete the Research application form and bring it with you on the day of your appointment. Please read our Conditions of Access and Use as we ask you to sign that you are happy to agree to these conditions. 

Once registered you will be able to request access to the research collections across the RHS Libraries. Your registration remains valid for two years.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

To remain GDPR compliant we have made some changes to our researcher registration procedures and forms. 

We have removed all researcher accounts previous to Friday 25th May 2018, and kindly request all researchers returning to the RHS Libraries after this date to re-register with us on their next visit. 

Please contact an RHS Library if you have any questions concerning the above. 

3. Identification

RHS members will need to bring their RHS membership card. Non-members will need to bring two forms of identification, see the list of ID required

4. Handling our collections

Before arriving please read our guide to handling and photographing the research collections. It provides important information on handling and protecting heritage items, which can sometimes be timeworn, rare and fragile.

5. Photographing for private study and research

If you do wish to take your own photographs of the research collection we ask that you complete this form and bring it with you on the day of your appointment. 

6. Plan ahead to save time

Check our online catalogue before your visit. If you know what items from our collections you would like to see during your visit then please let us know when you book your appointment and we will have them ready for your on your arrival. If you are unsure of what items you would like to see then please let us know the topic you are researching and we will be happy to guide you to the best resources we hold.

Resource guides

For those looking for resources on plant and garden history, garden design and individuals who made an impact on horticulture, the following pdf resources guides may be of assistance.

Resource Guide 1 Resource Guide 2 Resource Guide 3
Resource Guide 1: Gardens and parks (2MB pdf) Resource Guide 2: Gardeners, plant breeders, nurserymen and botanists (1.1MB pdf) Resource Guide 3: History of plants (852kB pdf)


Our collections support and reflect the scientific work of the RHS. Subjects include: botany, horticultural taxonomy, floras, entomology, soil science and plant pathology. Wisley Research Library journals include specialist academic titles, and an excellent collection of specialist plant newsletters, from the UK and overseas.

Wisley Research Library is available to researchers by appointment. Please telephone in advance to book on 01483 212428.

Art, rare books, heritage periodicals, archives and photography

These collections are available to researchers by appointment in the Lower Reading Room at the Lindley Library.

Research facilitiesResearch facilities

Computers with free internet access to plant and horticultural information are available at our libraries. Our online catalogue is also available on library PCs and records may be printed free of charge. Printouts from other databases or the internet cost 10p per sheet.

Readers may use their own laptops and Wi-Fi in at the Lindley Library and the Wisley and Harlow Carr Libraries. Laptops may be plugged into a mains socket. No other equipment may be plugged into the library power supply.

Digital resources

See our suggested digital resources, these are available for you to use online wherever you have internet access

Requesting documents by post

The Lindley Library and Wisley Library can supply photocopies of printed material by post, provided it is for a non-commercial purpose.

A photocopy request form, incorporating a copyright declaration form, must be completed and signed for each item and returned to the Library together with your payment.

Please contact library staff at Wisley or London for more information about our charges. Please make cheques payable to: The Royal Horticultural Society.

Courses & workshops

Learn a new skill or brush up on old ones with a workshop or short course with the RHS.

Find a course

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.