Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is Head of Horticultural and Environmental Science in the RHS. He is a soil scientist by training and undertook his PhD at the University of Wolverhampton. However, Paul now has a wider research remit focusing on improving the sustainability of resource use in horticulture. The majority of the research focuses on growing media (particularly water management in containerised growing), soil management using organic materials (including carbon sequestration), understanding the science behind home composting, and the impacts of gardening on human health.

He is also interested in biochar, grey water, green roof substrates, urban greening, ecosystem services and compostable packaging. He holds an AHDB Horticulture – RHS Fellowship which is examining the combination of sustainable growing media with novel nutrient sources and efficient water use while providing horticultural training to a new post-doctoral scientist. In addition, he supervises five PhD students in collaboration with the universities of Coventry, Reading, Royal Holloway and Sheffield. The students are investigating a range of subjects including plant adaptation to climate change, soil characteristics following organic matter use, mycorrhizae in growing media, and physical and mental aspects of gardening.

Whilst the majority of Paul’s research is aimed at improving the practice of amateur gardeners he also works with commercial growers. This is reflected by his membership of the NERC Soil Security Programme examining soil health, and two industry / government groups working to define the environmental impact of growing media.

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