Historic home of horticulture, RHS Garden Wisley, gets National Lottery boost

The Glasshouse at RHS Garden Wisley Credit: RHS and Jason Ingram
A £4million National Lottery grant is set to transform the flagship RHS Garden Wisley.

In 2020, the world’s first National Centre for Horticultural Science and Learning will open to the public, containing state-of-the-art research facilities and showcasing specimens from a collection of more than one million items of national importance.

Among the items to be revealed will be a Chilean potato plant brought back by Charles Darwin in 1834, from which our modern potatoes are derived, and lavender collected in France in 1731.

500 years of gardening

More than 86,000 herbarium specimens, 24,000 insect specimens, 30,000 pieces of botanical art, 250,000 photographs and 100,000 books charting more than half a millennium of gardening history, will be moved to the new Centre and shared online with millions of people. 

Three new gardens covering almost three acres created by RHS Chelsea Flower Show gold-medal winning garden designers will surround it, acting as ‘living laboratories’: the Wildlife Garden, World Food Garden and Wellbeing Garden.

Research laboratory

In addition, RHS Garden Wisley’s iconic Grade II-listed Laboratory will be restored and opened to the public in 2021 with interactive learning areas that will bring to life a century-long history of research.

RHS Director General, Sue Biggs, says: “Over the next five years, thanks to National Lottery players, we will reveal incredible horticultural treasures to the public so people can experience the wonders of gardening and see why we need everyone everywhere to garden and grow plants for the good of people, plants and the planet.”

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