From Biofuels to Living Roofs, the Wonders of Plants Revealed During National Science week

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Royal Horticultural Society celebrates the science of gardening

As part of National Science Week 2013, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is inviting plant and science lovers to visit its gardens to learn more about the amazing properties of plants, and the role they play in all our lives.

To celebrate the week, which runs from 15–24 March 2013, the RHS has created a special discovery trail that meanders through its gardens revealing fun, unusual and surprising facts about plants we thought we knew.

Following the themes of ‘Invention and Discovery’ the trails are designed to create a series of ‘did you know’ moments, to educate and entertain.

Among the facts explained are that:
• there are more than 1,100 cultivated varieties of potato, including a number that are blue;
• green roofs made of a covering of plants are such efficient insulators they can reduce electricity and gas use;
• giant miscanthus grass can be used to produce biofuel – which is being developed to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels such as oil;
• 5sq km of miscanthus crop will produce enough electricity to power 9,000 homes for a year;
• if you ever see a blue rose it has been genetically engineered, roses do not naturally have the gene that produces blue pigment.

Alexis Pym, RHS Learning and Families Manager, said: “The RHS is a charity committed to encouraging people of all ages to learn more about plants and the impact they have on all our lives. The trails we have developed as part of National Science Week, although aimed at younger visitors, provide fascinating insights that will surprise and intrigue all ages.

“National Science Week provides us with a unique opportunity to investigate, question, and have fun with plants and gardening. And, who knows, through activities like the ones taking place at the four RHS Gardens across the country, we may be planting seeds of interest in visitors that will blossom into a new generation of plant scientists and happy gardeners.”


Notes to editors

For more information, please contact Garfield Myrie in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3060 or email

To learn more about the RHS Garden nearest to you and to book tickets please use the following links:

RHS Garden Harlow Carr, North Yorkshire
RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Essex
RHS Garden Wisley, Surrey
RHS Garden Rosemoor, Devon

RHS Education
The RHS actively involves nearly 16,500 schools across the UK in growing and gardening through its Campaign for School Gardening. Children are taught about plants and gardening and their environment. Through gardening they learn about healthy fruit and vegetables, wildlife and important life skills such as teamwork, social skills and co-operation. Huge benefits are to be had from using an outdoor classroom where children can learn in a fun, engaging way. Information, lesson plans and advice for schools is provided online and is backed up by support from the RHS education team and Campaign for School Gardening Regional Advisors.

RHS Science
The charity's scientists work to keep the RHS at the forefront of horticulture. Their findings influence RHS practice and, through sharing their knowledge, they help gardeners make the best decisions for their gardens and the environment.

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, 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  

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262


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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

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

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262