Monday 4 February 2013
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has achieved its highest membership numbers ever, welcoming the landmark 400,000th member to the gardening charity at its flagship RHS Garden Wisley, in Surrey, on Friday 1 February 2013.
The 400,000 RHS members are the backbone of the Society, and enable it to conduct its extensive charitable activities – such as helping to bring gardening to millions of people, conducting leading scientific work, and enriching and improving communities across the UK.
The lucky 400,000th member, Alice Muggeridge, bought her membership at RHS Garden Wisley after bringing her daughter Scarlett (who turned one last week) to see Butterflies in the Glasshouse, an annual event where the famous glasshouse is filled with exotic butterflies. Colin Crosbie, the garden’s Curator presented Alice with two free tickets to member’s day at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013, which celebrates its centenary this year. Alice was also given a beautifully planted pot from the Wisley Plant Centre brimming over with Helleborus niger ‘HGC Josef Lemper’, Carex testacea, Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’, Heuchera ‘Marmalade’, Polystichum tsussimense and Primula vulgaris. Alice has now placed the pot outside her front door.
Membership of the RHS has doubled since 1995 and today the 400,000-strong community of garden lovers help the RHS to share the best in gardening. Members enjoy free access to four RHS Gardens with a family member, as well as benefiting from: personalised gardening advice; free days out at 140 partner gardens; priority booking and discounted tickets to the world-famous RHS flower shows, a copy of the award-winning* RHS monthly magazine, The Garden, and more.
Sue Biggs, RHS Director General, said: “Reaching a membership milestone like this is a proud moment. It marks the continuing importance and relevance of the RHS, both to our members and to those we reach through our extensive education and community programmes, inspirational gardens and sensational shows. I very much hope that our lucky 400,000th member enjoys everything that the RHS has to offer and will remain with us for many years to come. We are hugely grateful to all our members for their support; we believe that by gardening we can all make a difference to our planet now and for future generations.”
Alice Muggeridge, commented: “I’ve been to a few things at the RHS before with my mum’s and toddlers group, as Wisley runs a great programme of events for kids. Scarlett has just turned one and she was so enchanted by the gardens that I decided to go ahead and get myself a membership so I can bring her here whenever I fancy it and she can see the seasons changing around her. Finding out that I was the 400,000th member was such a lovely surprise, and a wonderful ending to a great day out looking at the butterflies in the glasshouse. The planted pot is in pride of place by my front door where everyone can see it and I’m thrilled to be going to what will be my first-ever Chelsea Flower Show!”
Notes to editors
For more information and images, please contact Stephanie Shepherd in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3042 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Images of RHS Flower Shows and Gardens are available to download for free from www.picselect.com or contact the RHS Press Office.
RHS members enjoy free entry to RHS Gardens and discounted entry to RHS Flower Shows.
About RHS Gardens
The RHS has four gardens across the UK:
RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey GU23 6QB
RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Creephedge Lane, Rettendon, Chelmsford, Essex CS3 8ET
RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Crag Lane, Harrogate, North Yorkshire HG3 1QB
RHS Garden Rosemoor, Great Torrington, Devon EX38 8PH
* The Garden was awarded Garden Publication of the Year 2012 by the Garden Media Guild.
About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood for the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture. We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, the first of our gardens, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity.
Today the RHS is committed to providing a voice for all gardeners. We are driven by a simple love of plants and a belief that gardeners make the world a better place. 200 years on we continue to safeguard and advance the science, art and practice of horticulture, creating displays that inspire people to garden. In all aspects of our work we help gardeners develop by sharing our knowledge of plants, gardens and the environment.
RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk/join
RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262