Palmstead workshop hears RHS pledge to make plant trials more 'meaningful'

The RHS told a conference yesterday it is to shake up its trials process to make it more friendly to the public and the trade.

RHS head of trials and relations Kylie Balmain told the Palmstead Nurseries 'survival of the fittest' conference that trials at Wisley were too closed to outsiders.

'One of our design challenges is what is the trials garden of the future - where things can be seen in situ that are more meaningful and inspiring to Wisley visitors,' she said.

At present the trial plots were strips of brash colour next to a noisy road and visitors to Wisley felt 'exposed and like they were stepping onto an runway or were not supposed to be there'.

The RHS would work with designers on making the trials area more inviting for the public to mingle, she said.

Balmain also said the Award of Garden Merit had to be overhauled to make it more meaningful to customers and retailers. The old logo - an image of a trophy with big handles - had to go.

'We have tackled rebranding and the identity of the AGM and revised the logo. One of the most depressing things was being told by someone the logo almost looked like Prince Charles' ears.'

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