RHS judging process set for scrutiny after clarity concern

The RHS is to hold a summit to discuss its show judging system at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London in November.

Show committee chairman Dougal Philip, who runs New Hopetoun Gardens, and RHS shows development head Bob Sweet will be among the speakers at the seminar.

The event will look at information and ideas about the "black box mystery" of RHS judging. "It's basically good but if people are worried about parts of it we need to address them," Philip said.

Designers, sponsors and the media will be invited. "We want to check that individual parts are robust. The trade has changed. People are putting a different level of sponsorship into gardens and we need to adjust the system to keep up," he added.

Garden designers have shown concern about judging transparency and the independence of judges, particularly post Chelsea 2011. Designers/judges Mark Gregory and Andrew Wilson backed the review.

Meanwhile, Nigel Dunnett, Sarah Price, Chris Beardshaw, Arne Maynard and Andy Sturgeon are among big names set to design for Chelsea 2012. Gregory said the London Olympic year and RHS centenary year of 2013 will see Chelsea over-subscribed with show garden applications.

The RHS is also planning a careers day during its National Gardening Week on 16-22 April 2012. It is waiting for key speakers such as Alan Titchmarsh to confirm for the event, which is designed to inspire people into professional gardening.

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