Gracie Barrett

Horticultural Scientist

“To me soil is a source of endless fascination; a dynamic, living substance which is poorly understood and often neglected”

I started my scientific training at the University of Bristol where I received a BSc in Biology and Physical Geography. From there I moved northwards completing a Master’s degree in Ecology and Environmental Management at the University of York. Here I had the opportunity to work within an excellent soil microbiology research group and was inspired to stay on and complete my Doctorate. I continued my migration north working as an agricultural research scientist at the James Hutton Research Institute in Dundee before returning south for a stint managing a soil microbiology laboratory in Hampshire. I am now employed as a horticultural scientist at Wisley, where I have been part of the science team for the last 18 months.

While my career has taken me from one end of the country to the other, my passion for all things soil has never wavered. To me it is a source of endless fascination; a dynamic, living substance which is poorly understood and often neglected. As gardeners we are stewards of the land, with the opportunity to nurture and protect our soils by managing them in an informed and sustainable way. My research at the RHS is aimed at improving the sustainability of horticultural practice in both professional and amateur horticulture. It’s a great opportunity to investigate new approaches to growing plants from using more sustainable materials in potting composts to finding ways to improve the efficiency of water and fertiliser application.

Gracie's posts and conversations

  • What's in the bag?

    So what’s actually in that bag of multi-purpose compost you just bought?

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  • Hello NorthernGardener, Many Thanks for your interest in my work. In response to your com

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