8 reasons to get to know the RHS

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Kirsten Henton

Kirsten Henton

What do you know about the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)*? Perhaps you've heard of its immaculate gardens? Or you've heard of its fabulous flower shows and expert events? Well, all of this and much more is true.

Taking a stroll on Battleston Hill at RHS Wisley © Kerry09 - Adobe Stock Image
Taking a stroll on Battleston Hill at RHS Wisley © Kerry09 - Adobe Stock Image

After a year of appreciating the great outdoors like never before, not to mention experiencing the mental health benefits that come from engaging with nature, the RHS has never been more relevant. Here we introduce the institution that is this historic horticultural charity along with the many wonderful opportunities it presents to both members and the general public.

1. It's rooted in gardening

Did you know that the RHS is the world's leading gardening charity? It sows the seeds of horticultural inspiration through information and education, encouraging everyone from novices to green-fingered pros to grow, whether creating a garden or nurturing houseplants.

What initially launched in 1804 as a place for like-minded plant enthusiasts to discuss trending topics, share discoveries and compete in competitions, has evolved into an impressive organisation with more than half a million members today.

2. Its gardens are growing

The RHS has four, soon to be five, expertly curated and landscaped gardens across England that are open to both the paying public and members of the RHS.

Every RHS garden is different, from the way it's constructed and its layout to its variety of plants, green or glasshouses and types of play areas. What's more, no trip to an RHS garden is complete without popping into its adjoining garden centre for potted plants, gardening accessories, natural toys and gifts or a stop for scones at the café.

3. It's super family-friendly

Each RHS garden is creatively sculpted to accommodate different areas dedicated to various species of plants and trees such as rockeries, orchards, ponds and lawns. They're natural playgrounds in their own right with hideouts and pathways that make exploring so much fun.

The 'Copse' play area at RHS Rosemoor - photo courtesy of Royal Horticultural Society
The 'Copse' play area at RHS Rosemoor - photo courtesy of Royal Horticultural Society

Woven among the trees, plants, picnic areas, bird hides and bee hives are woodland play areas for energetic little ones. If you're visiting RHS Wisley, for example, head for the aerial walkways, swings and slides around the treehouses of the Back to Nature Garden.

Meanwhile, at RHS Rosemoor The Copse and The Brash areas have plenty to scramble over from stepping logs to climbing frames, a see-saw and sand pit.

4. It's a gardener's best friend

Not sure when to prune, plant those bulbs or sow those seeds? Have no fear, the RHS is here! The RHS is a wonderful free resource for anyone looking for specific guidance on what to do and grow when.

Its handy monthly calendar* shows you what you should be doing in any given month, such as when to harvest fruits, mow the lawn and deadhead your roses, ensuring your garden, no matter how big and elaborate or small and simple, flourishes.

5. It has lots of useful 'how to' guides

Just as the RHS helps gardeners remember what's what with its monthly 'to do' calendar, it can also help to bring your garden to life in many other ways through its gardening advice*.

Always wanted to build a bug hotel? How about planting the perfect kitchen garden or making the most of a potted balcony set up? The RHS is bursting with garden design inspiration* and tips for making your garden more wildlife-friendly*.

6. And a blooming calendar of events

The jewel in the crown of the RHS events' calendar has to be the RHS Chelsea Flower Show*, which is typically held in London each spring (although owing to COVID-19, it's been scheduled for September 2021).

This hugely popular, star-studded show sees the most incredible array of blooms and landscape creations battling for awards such as Best Show Garden and Best Artisan Garden, among other titles.

Display at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show © Henry Lawford - Flickr Creative Commons
Display at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show © Henry Lawford - Flickr Creative Commons

The RHS holds a number of other fantastic flower shows and competitions across England throughout the year including RHS Hampton Court*, RHS Tatton Park* and RHS Malvern Hills Spring Festival*, the latter sadly cancelled for 2021.

It's not all about national shows, however. The RHS puts on many seasonal and local events centred around its gardens. These include annual bonanzas to themed events such as cherry blossom evenings and daffodil walks, plant fairs, expert talks on specific gardening topics and Easter egg hunts for kids. Check the events listing* for each garden to see what's on.

7. You could learn something new

From professional horticultural qualifications to amateur hobby courses*, there's always something new to learn with the RHS. Choose from gardening workshops on specific topics such as topiary and how to make a bee-friendly environment to willow basket-making and flower-related art and photography classes.

8. Take your pick of memberships

Why not enhance your RHS experience by becoming a member? As well as gaining unlimited access to its gardens each year, you'll get exclusive offers on tickets for flower shows and events, and personalised gardening advice tailored to your needs.

There are numerous membership options* available from individual, joint, senior, student, to lifetime memberships. You could also treat someone with a gift of membership to give them a treat that keeps on giving through the year.

Ready to become a member of the RHS? Check out the latest offers from the RHS on individual, joint, senior, student, lifetime and gift memberships.

Remember, you can also check what the weather at RHS gardens is likely to look like when planning your visit.

Kirsten Henton

Kirsten Henton
Article updated on Wednesday 9th June 2021 in: Europe Excursions Family Nature

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