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RHS creates new environmental horticulture team

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The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has recruited a new environmental horticulture team, bolstering its climate change related research.

The three appointments to the charity’s 60-strong Science team based at RHS Garden Wisley builds on its Gardening in a Changing Climate report which showed how gardeners can adapt to changes in the environment through plant choice and garden design.

The team will research and advise on sustainable resource management, soil health and ecosystem services, including how the UK’s 27 million gardeners can contend with weather extremes, air and noise pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Findings and advice will be shared with industry and the public.

The three new appointments are:

  • Mark Gush, Head of Environmental Horticulture:  Mark joins the RHS after 21 years at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa where he led a team of hydrologists, hydrogeologists and agricultural water use specialists. At Wisley, he will work with the team to help the public garden more sustainably and tackle specific environmental challenges.
  • Janet Manning, Water Management Specialist: Cranfield University graduate with a career covering the horticulture and water industries. Janet will look at changing gardener’s behaviour to make better use of water resources and ensure growing success. The position forms part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership funded by the RHS and Innovate UK.
  • Marc Redmile-Gordon, Senior Scientist for Soil and Climate Change: Marc joins the RHS as a FACTS qualified farm advisor with 10 years’ experience in agricultural science at Rothamsted Research. With a focus on soil biology, Marc seeks to develop new practices that will enable gardeners to lessen the impacts of climate change, and garden in a way which reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Alistair Griffiths, Director of Science, Collections and Libraries at the RHS, said: “Global warming and a growing awareness of how green spaces can positively impact on communities stand to make gardens an ever more important resource. I’m delighted to have been able to grow our environmental horticulture team whose work will focus on sharing knowledge and advice to maximise the benefits.”

Based in the historic Laboratory building at RHS Garden Wisley, the Science team will move to the UK’s first National Centre for Horticultural Science & Learning being built in the garden in 2020. The new building will include environmental horticulture laboratories to facilitate the work of the team. The charity is currently fundraising for the build. For more information visit www.rhs.org.uk

Image courtesy of The RHS

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