The RHS

The RHS has copped it from the Twitterati for its “association” with The Ultimate Love Bouquet, Interflora’s Valentine’s Day offering.

Guaranteed to delight your loved one
Guaranteed to delight your loved one
The Ultimate Love Bouquet isn’t really my thing, but I have no problem with Interflora* for knocking it out. At £195 they must be making a few quid out of it, and that’s what they do; they’re a corporate trying to do the corporate thing. Good luck to them. The fact I think it sucks that people buy it is just a personal opinion, and neither here nor there.

What really does get my goat is the RHS “association” (i.e. share of profits) with the product.
Why are people so cross about it? It’s a lovely bouquet, I’m sure, but mostly imported from hotter foreign climes. How enormous is the carbon footprint of each bouquet? And there is an alternative. Embattled small British growers offer attractive Valentine bouquets of British flowers or British grown blooms. Despite the weather.

I don’t really get the RHS. I know some very, very good people there. I’ve been impressed on visits to Wisley and by projects they’ve run, like the Perfect for Pollinators campaign. I’ve equally found some things about the organisation jaw dropping. Like finding “wildflower meadow” seed from a French multi-national for sale at Wisley. Like the Bayer stand, cheerfully promoting Provado (a rather nasty neonicotinoid) at the Hampton Court show. Like my expensive attempt to get a garden slot at Chelsea to illustrate SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) using native planting, which the committee didn’t seem to understand (I now feel rather smug about the whole episode).

It’s a cliche, but as an organization they seem to be increasingly out of touch. The RHS is in a unique position to promote horticulture and sustainability in the UK. Instead, it seems to be hopelessly compromised by short term commercial opportunism.

*For whom, to declare my interest, I’ve written a guest blog in the past.