Monday, December 13, 2004

Britain's Royal Horticultural Society

In 1804 seven men met in a London bookshop to form a society to "collect every information respecting the culture and treatment of all Plants and Trees."

In the group were John Wedgewood of ceramics fame, royal head gardener William Forsythe whose name lives on in the yellow forsythia (of which I may be able to post a watercolor I did ),
Purple Irises and Forsythia
and globe trotting naturalist Joseph Banks. 200 years later the Society claims 340,000 international members and is now a leading institution in the science and practise of growing things. It's subjects range from geranium naming to global warming and serves as the official regitration authority for more plant categories than any other body in the world.

In the 1820's and 1830's the RHS began its famous flower shows, ran institutions for training in horticulture and planted experimental gardens to test viabilityof plants in British soils- work that continues to this day. The most famous are the Flower Shows at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey, Hatton Park in Cheshire and the world famous Chelsea Flower show.A street called Horticultural Place marks the original location in Chiswick. Last year the Chelsea Flower Show had an entry from Soweto and New Zealand which just shows how far it has travelled.


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