RHS experts to offer advice on key plant topics at Wisley as part of British Science Festival

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is to open up RHS Garden Wisley as part of the British Science Festival on 5-13 September.

RHS botanists, entomologists and plant pathologists will be on hand to answer questions on pests and diseases, climate change, composting and the plight of the honeybee. Wisley will become part of an extended research laboratory where people can have a close-up view of the scientific work of the UK's leading gardening charity. 

RHS Garden Wisley and the British Ecological Society will be giving guided walks on 6 September, covering areas threatened by climate change like woodland gardens, herbaceous borders and lawns. The guided walks will also examine areas better suited to change, from Mediterranean plantings to orchards. 

The RHS is also carrying out an experiment at Wisley called Plants for Bugs. The ongoing project will help discover whether the geographic origin of plants is a factor in attracting wildlife. The plants are divided into native/near-native and exotic plants.

Dr Andrew Halstead, who wrote the RHS/Dorling Kindersley Pests & Diseases book, will be demonstrating a moth light trap — a key tool used as part of the Rothamsted survey, a nationwide experiment to monitor moths. Halstead and his colleague, Dr Andrew Salisbury, have 23,000 insect specimens in their collection and have also been working on mapping garden pests such as the scarlet lily beetle.

RHS principal trials officer Fiona Wilson will show how the RHS identifies and assesses plants for the Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Dr Roger Williams, head of science and advice at Wisley said: "A scientific outlook underpins the work of the RHS but much of our research work is hidden away behind the scenes. We are delighted to be part of the British Science Festival, bringing our science into the garden for our visitors to discover and enjoy"


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