Royal Horticultural Society

registered charity in the UK which promotes gardening and horticulture

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) was founded in 1804 in London, England. It was originally called the Horticultural Society of London, and was renamed in 1861. The RHS is the UK's leading gardening charity.

Royal Horticultural Society
Reflections of the RHS Chelsea flower show, 2010
Formation7 March 1804; 220 years ago (1804-03-07)
TypeCharitable organization
PurposePromote gardening and horticulture
Region served
United Kingdom
Elizabeth Banks

The RHS helps to protect plants, gardens and parks. It also helps people learn gardening, and encourages people to grow their own food.

It holds flower shows such as the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, RHS Tatton Park Flower Show and RHS Cardiff Flower Show.

The RHS has several gardens. The four main gardens are: Wisley Garden in Surrey, Rosemoor Garden in Devon, Hyde Hall in Essex, and Harlow Carr in North Yorkshire.

Medals and awards


The society honours certain people with the Victoria Medal of Honour, and the Banksian, Knightian and Lindley medals. It awards Gold, Silver-gilt, Silver, and Bronze medals to exhibitors at its flower shows. The Veitch Memorial Medal is awarded each year for an outstanding contribution to the science and practice of horticulture.

Other awards bestowed by the society include the Associate of Honour and the Honorary Fellowship.[1]

The Award of Garden Merit, or AGM, is for garden plants that have been extensively tested by the society, and are recommended.



The RHS works to help keep collections of cultivated plants. Some of these collections are kept by the RHS, and others are kept by other people who send documents and dried plant samples to the RHS.[2]

The Lindley Library of the RHS has five branches. The library began as the book collection of John Lindley.[3]

The RHS Herbarium has many dried plant specimens.[4] It also has its own image library with more than 3,300 original watercolours, approximately 30,000 colour slides and many digital images.[5]





The society has published a magazine since 1866. Since 1975 it has had the title The Garden and is currently published monthly. The RHS publishes The Plantsman and The Orchid Review four times a year. Hanburyana is published once a year. It is about horticultural taxonomy.

Plant registers


Since the International Registration Authorities for plants were formed in 1955, the RHS has been the official "Registrar" for some groups of cultivated plants. It is now Registrar for nine categories – conifers, clematis, daffodils, dahlias, delphiniums, dianthus, lilies, orchids and rhododendrons. It publishes The International Orchid Register Archived 2006-08-15 at the Wayback Machine, the central list of orchid hybrids.


  1. The Garden, August 2009, page 512 (Royal Horticultural Society)
  2. National Plant Collections
  3. Campbell, Sophie (3 August 2012). "RHS Lindley Library collection: all hail our plant hunters". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  4. RHS Herbarium
  5. "Royal Horticultural Society Image Collection". Archived from the original on 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2014-08-16.
  • Brent Elliott (2004). The Royal Horticultural Society, A History 1804-2004. Phillimore. ISBN 1-86077-272-2

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