Plant experts wanted by RHS

The RHS is looking for keen gardening amateurs, members of the trade and gardening professionals to get involved with its plant trials.

In 2012 there is an opportunity for those with an interest in and knowledge of Euphorbia and/or Stipa to become members of two new assessment panels.

“We are introducing some changes to the way we undertake plant assessments in our Award of Garden Merit (AGM) trials,” said  Jim Gardiner, Director of Horticulture at the RHS.

“Next year a number of our trials, including Euphorbia and Stipa, will be assessed by dedicated panels.

We are hoping that this panel structure will give increased opportunity for working professional gardeners, members of the trade and members of specialist plant societies to become more involved.”

The charity has already looked at the benefits of using a plant-specific panel this year when it brought together professional gardeners, experts, specialists and amateurs with a specific interest in dahlias.

That panel had eight members including Greg Redwood from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, who said about his involvement, “It is an absolute pleasure being involved with this panel.

We discussed and assessed the plants thoroughly and it was very beneficial to have detailed comments and explanations from the dahlia experts. I am learning a lot.”

The stipa panel will be established for a three-year trial and the euphorbia panel for a two-year trial. Both will hold approximately six to eight meetings per year.

All panel members are required to be members of the RHS. The charity is hoping to draw from a wide range of interested parties including commercial producers, breeders, botanists and keen growers.

“The ambition for all our trial panels is to ensure that we are assessing plants that interest UK gardeners and to help all gardeners make informed decisions when purchasing plants.

“The RHS Award of Garden Merit is an excellent vehicle, which is supported strongly by the trade, to help educate and inform gardeners.

“We are very grateful to our assessment panel members who share with us their valuable knowledge and expertise, which underpins the selection of suitable plants,” added Mr Gardiner.

To enquire about getting involved and the commitment required, contact the RHS by emailing

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