The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK`s leading gardening charity dedicated to advancing horticulture and promoting good gardening. Our goal is to help people share a passion for plants, to encourage excellence in horticulture and inspire all those with an interest in gardening.
RHS to invest £100m in the future of horticulture
Our vision is to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a more beautiful place
The RHS announced a 10-year Strategic Investment Programme of more than £100 million in June 2014, which will include opening a new RHS garden and creating two new inner city gardens.
The aim of the programme is to enable the charity to provide even better inspiration and advice for more people – both its members and the British gardening public. It also plans to broaden its appeal and raise the profile and impact of every aspect of horticulture.
Our vision for the RHS
By investing in the future of horticulture we want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
With these funds, the RHS will promote and help secure the future of horticulture across the UK by:
- Engaging even more with communities to bring the joy of horticulture and gardening to people, regardless of location and ability
- Creating two new inner city gardens for local communities
- Searching for and opening a fifth garden for RHS members and visitors, in an area of the country where the RHS isn’t currently present
- Redeveloping the hilltop area at RHS Garden Wisley to create a new centre for science, learning, and horticultural events. This third ‘hub’ in the Society’s flagship garden will combine modern science laboratories and a new Herbarium, a library, additional learning and catering facilities, as well as an inspiring Living Science Garden
- Creating a new Learning Centre at RHS Garden Hyde Hall with a teaching garden
- Increasing the number of horticultural apprenticeships offered at RHS Gardens from eight to 22
- Substantially improving the horticulture and infrastructure in the four existing RHS Gardens at Hyde Hall, Rosemoor, Wisley and Harlow Carr through major investment.
RHS Director General Sue Biggs said, “This is a landmark moment for the RHS. As a charity we are careful to invest our funds when we believe the time is right. We have turned around a trend of declining members and visitors, and today are in a strong position after several years of growth, with membership and garden visitors at an all-time high. After years of planning, we are now confident to make this significant investment and increase our work to further help and inspire the millions of people who garden in the UK today.
“This 10-year Strategic Investment Programme substantially expands the scope of our existing Key Investment Projects (KIPs), to increase our charitable work and support the future of horticulture for years to come. Two years ago we announced our five-year investment plan of 10 KIPs with a budget of £27m, financed by £18m from the sale of the lease of Lawrence Hall and £9m from fundraising. We are now increasing our fundraising target to £20m over the next 10 years, with the remaining £80m to come from the RHS.'
Sir Nicholas Bacon, RHS President, said: “210 years ago our founders changed the face of horticulture forever when they met in a small London bookshop and resolved to start a Society to further the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture. The commitment we make today is no less momentous and will see us taking their original vision out to more people and places than ever before.'
We're involved in many activities that promote and benefit gardening for members and the wider public
The activities of the RHS are focused on delivering a real benefit to all those involved and interested in horticulture and gardening in the UK, as well as achieving our strategic objectives.
So what are our main activities? Read on to find out.
We organise inspirational flower shows at Chelsea, Hampton Court Palace and Tatton Park, as well as seasonal shows at the RHS Gardens and the Society’s halls in London. Partnership shows include the RHS Spring Show in Cardiff (in conjunction with Cardiff Council), and we help to organise the Malvern Spring and Autumn Gardening Shows (organised jointly with the Three Counties Agricultural Society) as well as BBC Gardeners’ World Live (in conjunction with the BBC).
The RHS owns four gardens across the UK: Wisley in Surrey, Harlow Carr in North Yorkshire, Hyde Hall in Essex and Rosemoor in Devon. In 2012/13 we welcomed more than 1.76 million visitors. We also work in partnership with more than 150 Partner Gardens giving our members free access at various times of the year. Through our gardens, we help gardeners across the UK by providing access to diverse plant collections, examples of innovative and attractive planting design and good horticultural practices. They all hold regular talks, demonstrations and walks.
The RHS aims to share practical knowledge and inspire people of all ages and abilities with an interest in plants and gardening. We offer a range of qualifications from the Level 1 Certificate through to the prestigious Master of Horticulture. For gardeners of the future, we run the Campaign for School Gardening to encourage as many children as possible to get growing. There are more than 18,000 schools involved with the campaign. We also administer a number of bursary funds and through these we support plant research, expeditions and conference attendances around the world.
The RHS is the national organising body for the annual Britain in Bloom campaign, which promotes horticulture in the community for the benefit of local people and the environment. More than 1,000 urban and rural communities are involved in the Britain in Bloom competition. We also link to community groups through the It’s Your Neighbourhood scheme and a host of Affiliated Societies. Most recently we have been setting upregional teams to bring the RHS to each corner of the UK, starting with Scotland and Yorkshire.
Library, archive and other collections
The history and art of horticulture is centred in the RHS Lindley Library, which contains one of the finest collections of horticultural literature in the world, as well as a renowned collection of beautiful botanical paintings and outstanding photographs. These are used by scholars, garden writers, keen gardeners and many members of the public. The RHS Lindley Library at Vincent Square, Westminster, and the branches in each of the RHS Gardens are accessible for free to everyone.
Science and advice
The RHS provides authoritative gardening and horticultural advice, together with a comprehensive resource of information for everyone online. To underpin this unique service for all gardeners, we carry out scientific research into plants, their cultivation, identification and pest and disease problems. Through lectures, seminars and publications we lead debate on issues influencing horticulture and gardening.
We aim to share our knowledge with all gardeners and publish widely online and in print. The RHS website attracts about 600,000 unique users a month and our horticultural book titles are among the best sellers in gardening bookshops.
We also publish The Garden magazine every month, as well as The Plantsman and The Orchid Review quarterly, to help keep our members and the public informed about the latest skills, design and practice of horticulture.
RHS shops, plant centres and products
The RHS offers excellent shopping opportunities in all four Gardens and at all our shows for members and visitors. Proceeds from these activities plus income from our various product licensees and events at the Royal Horticultural Halls and Conference Centre are all reinvested so that we can do even more to promote gardening and help gardeners.
As a charity, we depend on the support and generosity of others to help us make a difference. Our activities are funded through members’ subscriptions as well as donations, sponsorship and income from our gardens, flower shows, shops and plant centres.
The RHS was founded in 1804, and our core objective is to be the world’s leading gardening charity by inspiring passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture. In everything we do, we will aim to use our guiding principles, which are to:
Our strategic objectives
- Be known, loved and trusted as the charity for all gardeners
- Safeguard and advance the science, art and practice of horticulture for the benefit of future generations and the environment
- Transform communities through gardening
- Create world-leading horticulture that inspires people to garden
- Nurture and grow our membership throughout the UK
- Provide a voice for all gardeners, sharing and building expert knowledge
- Delight our customers with exceptional service and products
- Be a great place to work where everyone makes a difference
- Have efficient business practices that deliver maximum income for our charitable purpose
- Make horticulture a career to be proud of.
RHS Vision: Our vision is to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.