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Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Home of Gardening Science opens at RHS Hilltop

Biotecture builds a greener future with RHS Wisley

25th June 2021 | By Lizzi Mills

Serendipity and science

Sometimes, the best things happen by chance.  In fact, some of our most familiar scientific discoveries were accidental victories:  Penicillin, the invention of the microwave oven, and the birth of Newton’s law of universal gravitation to name three.

Here at Biotecture, serendipity also played a part in the development of our working relationship with RHS Wisley, which has been at the forefront of scientific excellence in horticulture for over two centuries.

The story goes that our MD Richard Sabin was invited to deliver a seminar on urban greening to the RHS Wisley Science Team, and it was through a mutual interest in all things sustainable that Richard, and RHS Wisley’s Director of Sciences, Alistair Griffiths, bonded over a number of themes, including the Biophilic Office Project, how to choose and test the best species for air pollution reduction, and how to demonstrate the value of professional collaboration. By making the connection between the very public arena in which we work, and the garden world of the Royal Horticultural Society, a mutual goal was realised – to help people reconnect with nature.

Survivor of two world wars, not one, but two pandemics, and the infamous storm in October 1987, which destroyed swathes of mature trees throughout the southeast of England, RHS Wisley has led the way in horticultural scientific development for decades, and now sees one of the biggest advances in the gardens’ 214-year history: the opening of their new science centre, RHS Hilltop, which the Royal Horticultural Society have dubbed “The Home of Gardening Science”.

Home of Gardening Science at RHS Wisley

The Home of Gardening Science at RHS Hilltop is a building that will house Alistair and his team of over 95 plant scientists, botanists and researchers, and it was from Richard and Alistair’s collaborative communications that led to the installation of the stunning, specially designed PlantBox living wall inside the atrium of the main building.  The aim of the living wall is to provide a lush, sumptuous and visually satisfying addition to the clean, minimalist lines of the interior of the building, as well as providing inspiration for both commercial and educational settings seeking to make vertical gardening accessible to the public, thereby opening up so many more gardening possibilities to an ever-wider audience.

This centre of horticultural excellence is ideally situated to inspire the next generation of horticultural scientists and showcase Wisley’s previous scientific endeavours, allowing visitors to witness scientific experiments, plans and programmes in real time, via live daily sessions.

What can we do to help with Climate Change?

Our current climate crisis means that plants and gardens face even greater challenges from extreme weather, pollution, pests and diseases. By investigating the science in our back gardens, we can learn how to adapt to these challenges and make changes for a greener future.

The spacious atrium at RHS Hilltop will host a permanent exhibition, alongside the Plantbox living wall feature, designed and installed by Biotecture, which demonstrates the ease and simplicity of our vertical gardening system.  Officially opened on 24th June 2021, the exhibition will demonstrate the benefits of gardening for overall health and wellbeing as well as offering ideas to create your own garden spaces because in a world of climate change, every garden can make a difference.  To see RHS Wisley’s brand home of gardening science in action, visit: https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley/garden-highlights/rhs-hilltop-the-home-of-gardening-science