Royal Horticultural Society Plant Health Team Strengthened

Friday 6 February 2015

New scientists to help gardeners combat plant diseases

More gardeners will be able to receive world-leading information from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) after the charity recruited two new plant disease experts. The scientists will work to help gardeners identify and control plant diseases.

RHS Senior Plant Pathologist Dr Matthew Cromey joins the charity after building a career in plant health in New Zealand. Matthew was formerly a plant pathologist with the New Zealand Institute of Plant and Food Research. His research experience spans a wide variety of plant disease issues and includes soil-borne, foliar and floral diseases.

Matthew will be responsible for leading the RHS research programme on plant diseases, developing collaborations with external research organisations, and providing advice and technical information to RHS members and the public.

Also joining the plant health team as a plant pathologist is scientist Dr Rebekah Robinson. Rebekah, who recently completed a PhD at Rothamsted Research has undertaken research placements at leading organisations including Kew's Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst and the John Innes Centre, Norwich.
Speaking about his appointment, Matthew said: “I’m excited to work in the diverse garden environment that first attracted me to the field of plant pathology. The RHS, as the world’s foremost gardening charity, is the perfect place in which to make a contribution to the health of plants in gardens.”

Rebekah Robinson said: “The RHS plays a key role in ensuring the continued growth and success of UK horticulture and I am really excited to now be contributing to this.”

RHS Head of Plant Health Gerard Clover said: “These appointments underline the Society’s commitment to ensure UK gardeners receive the best advice and guidance from leading scientists.

“I’m delighted to have Matthew and Rebekah with us and look forward to working with them and harnessing their experience, depth of knowledge and cutting-edge skills, to help gardeners better understand and combat plant diseases.

“No other charity invests as much of its resources as we do in the scientific study of horticulture, and this investment in incredibly talented scientists will ensure we remain at the forefront of horticultural science," Gerard said.


Notes to editors

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

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, our flagship garden, 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. 210 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 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