Construction of our Field Research Facility. Photograph courtesy of Rachael Tanner (RHS)
Over the last five months, we’ve all been eagerly watching as our Science Field Research Facility (FRF) takes shape. This environmentally-friendly facility, kitted out with a swimming-pool sized underground tank for heat recycling and solar panels to generate electricity, will help expand our research capacity so that we can continue to provide the best possible advice to gardeners. It is a building that really will increase awareness and understanding of the importance of science to gardening. Good reason then for our excitement as we approach its grand opening on the 2nd May.
I was only slightly less enthusiastic when I heard there was to be a clear-out of one of our old storage sheds (on the same site as the new research facility) that will soon be demolished. My keenness was not because I hoped to scavenge some useful gardening gear, nor because I enjoyed disturbing a monster spider and the carcasses of his long-dead relatives from their resting places. In fact, as a firm supporter that all porcelain figurines and items labelled as ‘collectibles’ be withdrawn immediately from global circulation, I just love a good tidy.
Unsurprisingly, there was little bone china to be found in the shed.
The clean did, however, provide the perfect opportunity to take photos of the FRF build; images that may well make it into an RHS Science publication I am currently working on. The document is perhaps best described as a Science prospectus as it will provide visitors to the Department with information on our research interests and activities, and is due to be printed in time for the opening of the new facility in May.