Begun as the Horticultural
Society of London in 1804, the organization received its Royal
Charter in 1861 and became The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).
Today, it is the leading gardening charity in the
which helps protect endangered plants, gardens and green spaces
throughout the country.
RHS Shows - Each year, the RHS
sponsors several major flower shows. These include the world
Chelsea Flower Show,
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, Tatton Park Flower Show
and the Cardiff Flower Show in Wales.
History - John Wedgwood, son of
Josiah Wedgwood of pottery fame, was the one who suggested the
need for a British horticultural society. At the time (1800), it
was common for wealthy men to have horticulture or botany as a
hobby and the group was meant to regularly gather people with
this interest together to discuss issues of the day.
Other prominent people involved
in the establishment of the RHS included:
RHS Gardens - The Society
maintains several gardens throughout the U.K. for the purpose of
research and education for gardeners. These will include:
Wisley Garden - located near Wisley in Surrey, it is the
oldest of the four major RHS gardens having been donated in
1904 by Sir Thomas Hanbury.
Rosemoor Garden - located in
Devon was donated by Lady Anne Berry in 1988.
Hyde Hall - located in Essex
and donated by Dick and Helen Robinson in 1993.
Harlow Carr - located in Harrogate in North Yorkshire,
the garden was acquired as a result of the merger of the
Northern Horticultural Society with the RHS in 2001.
Previously, it has been the trial garden and display garden
of the NHS since 1949.
Chiswick Garden - leased in 1821 so the Society could
have an experimental garden. Joseph Paxton work at this
garden in the 1820s.
South Kensington - RHS opened a garden here in 1861 but
it was later closed in 1882.
Medals and Awards - In
order to honor people who have made significant contributions to
horticulture and gardening, the RHS has established several
Victoria Medal of Honour
- This is the most prestigious medal which is given to
people who are selected by the Society's governing council
as outstanding leaders in horticulture.
Other medals include the
Banksian, Knightian, Lindley and Veitch Memoria Medal.
Show medals include Gold,
Silver-gilt, Silver and Bronze medals.
Award of Garden Merit - Given
to outstanding new garden plants.
Associate of Honour and
Honorary Fellowship awards.
RHS Libraries - The Lindley
Library in London is the main repository for books, documents,
illustrations, paintings and the RHS Herbarium.
RHS Publications -
Starting in 1866, the RHS has issued a periodical journal which
was re-titled The Garden in 1975 and is now distributed
as a monthly publication. Other periodicals by the RHS include
The Plantsman, The Orchid Review and Hanburyana.
Plant Registry - The
International Registration Authority was created in 1955. Since
that time, the RHS has been the designated registrar for new
species and cultivars of nine categories of plants including
rhododendrons. New orchid cultivars are listed in The
International Orchid Register which is published by the RHS.