The Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland (RHSI), founded in 1816, is a charity, dedicated to promoting and improving the knowledge, skill and practice of horticulture, arboriculture and floral art while encouraging respect for the environment and creating a sense of community amongst our members. The vision of the RHSI is to foster and develop an appreciation and love of gardening in all its forms and thereby enrich the beauty and sustainability of our environment and national heritage. The RHSI is run by its members on a voluntary basis with membership spread throughout the island of Ireland.
Membership of the RHSI offers anyone with an interest in gardens, gardening and plants year-round access to a community, expert knowledge through our journal and a range of experiences, including free or reduced entry to almost 50 prestigious Partner Gardens, monthly Zoom talks and regular news bulletins.
Over 90 horticultural, gardening and floral art societies and clubs, listed here, are affiliated to the Society.
The RHSI is, with the help of a team of volunteers, restoring the 3.5 acre walled garden at Russborough House, Blessington, Co Wicklow.
The administrative headquarters of the RHSI are at Laurelmere Cottage, Marlay Park, Rathfarnham, where another team of volunteers are creating a woodland garden.
The RHSI is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. The members of the Board of Directors are: Brenda Branigan (President), Mary Hackett (Secretary), Hestor Forde, Philip Hollwey (Chair), Noreen Keane, Margaret Masterson, Kathleen Moloney, Margie Phillips and Gillian Davidson.
The RHSI began with a meeting held on 30 September 1816 at the Rose Tavern, Donnybrook, Dublin. A group of estate gardeners met to drink beer and to worry about “the art of gardening falling away and rapidly declining”. Resolving to exchange expertise and new ideas, these men (they were all men) set up the Horticultural Society of Ireland for gardeners who had served their time and were ‘of good moral conduct’. The RHSI was distinguished throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries for its social cachet and it focused on Shows and Exhibitions. The modern RHSI, a mixture of amateur and professional gardeners, continues to be committed to education.
The RHSI Journal is posted to members 2 times a year. The summer issue comes out in May. We have an November issue closes out the season. We always welcome members’ contributions. Alternatively, if you have a horticultural story you think we should follow, please contact the Journal team through the RHSI office. Queries about copy dates and guidance on the structure of proposed articles can also be answered by the RHSI office. The Journal is written, proof read and prepared for mailing entirely by RHSI volunteers.
The RHSI Journal is free to members. But if you know of someone living overseas who would like to be kept up to date on Irish horticultural matters or someone who is too frail to be able to attend the lectures and garden visits they once enjoyed, the Journal delivered to their door might fill a gap. An annual subscriptionto the RHSI Journal costs €25 (including packing and postage). Please contact the RHSI office on 01 4937154 or email email@example.com to place your order
Diarmuid Gavin is the Society’s patron. Diarmuid studied amenity horticulture at the Botanic Garden in Glasnevin. In 2007, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Art from Nottingham Trent University in recognition of his contribution to garden design. Following this he established his own garden design and studio consultancy, Diarmuid Gavin Designs which boasts clienteles throughout Europe, Africa and Asia.
After twice winning the Royal Dublin Society Gold medal for garden design during the nineties, he displayed at the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show in 1995 and 1996. His modern vibrant city garden in 1996 caused quite a stir and led to a career in television where he developed a unique style in contemporary garden design. Since then, Diarmuid has created nine gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show, including an instillation inspired by the drawings and humour of British iconoclast Heath Robinson.
Diarmuid works with the RHSI to promote sustainable gardening and a vibrant future for Irish horticulture.
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