Every year, hundreds of thousands of people visit RHS Garden Wisley without realising that it is home to a major School of Horticulture – a training ground for the next generation of professional horticulturists. In fact, the RHS has a long tradition of providing gardener training.
Nearly 200 years ago, the Horticultural Society of London as it was then known, set out to create a National School of Horticulture at its new garden in Chiswick. A total of 105 young men were recruited and went on to careers that have shaped the way we garden today. One Joseph Paxton, in particular, went on to become the greatest gardener of his time as well as the celebrated designer of the Crystal Palace.
This exhibition explores the story of gardening training and trainees at the RHS – from the attendees of its first School of Horticulture at Chiswick in the early 1800s, through to contemporary students at Wisley. What challenges and opportunities might a Joseph (or Josephine) Paxton face today?
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(partial view) ‘View of the flower garden at Valley Field, Fife, Scotland,’ from Observations on the theory and practice of landscape gardening
, 1805 by Humphry Repton.