Science of gardening

The Royal Horticultural Society has started construction of a unique Field Research Facility at its garden in Wisley, Surrey. The building, which is due to be completed by spring 2012, will provide the charity with a state-of-the-art facility in which to carry out plant disease and pest focussed scientific investigations.
Roger Williams, Head of Science at the RHS, says: “This will be the first facility of its kind dedicated to advancing the science of gardening. We are very grateful to those who have already helped us financially. Without their generous support we would not have been able to start building. We still have some more fundraising to do but we are confident that we will get the funds to complete this important project”.
Each year, through plant samples sent to the RHS Advisory Department, the charity’s scientists discover five or six diseases and pests new to the UK. The new facility will improve the ability of the RHS to study these pests and diseases and develop advice on control measures. The RHS aims to be able to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of science to gardening.
In partnership with sector leader Unigro, the facility will be equipped with innovative heat exchange technology, including a swimming pool-sized tank underneath the building which enables waste heat, built up during the day, to be recycled for warming at night. Combined with solar panels to generate electricity, the building will be highly energy efficient. The new building will also have solar panel cells to generate electricity and the capability to recycle redundant energy as stored heat.
The new facility will also help the RHS to attract students and scientists from around the world to share information and best practice through undertaking research of mutual interest.

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