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RCHS · Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society

The Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society (The Caley) is Scotland’s national horticultural and gardening society. Members include both amateur and professional, generalists, specialists and many others who simply like gardens and gardening. We aim to encourage and improve the science, art and practice of all types of horticulture and to advance education in gardening and horticulture for everyone.

The Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society was established in 1809 by a group of seventeen Edinburgh worthies who met at the Royal College of Physicians. The outcome was the establishment of a Society for the ‘encouragement and improvement of the best fruit, the most choice flowers and most useful culinary vegetables’. Since the beginning, the Society has welcomed skilled professionals, amateurs, nurserymen and professional gardeners. In the early days, as it is now, the activities of the Society were focused on a mix of the theoretical and the practical sides of gardening and horticulture; medals and certificates were awarded and shows were held.

At the time the Society was founded in 1809, Edinburgh was in the throes of building of the New Town, though only two of the gardens, St Andrew Square and Charlotte Square, were then laid out. Gardening must have been a subject of fairly wide interest because in December of that year a group of Edinburgh worthies met at the Royal College of Physicians, then in George Street, and from this meeting a Society for the ‘encouragement and improvement of the best fruit, the most choice flowers and most useful culinary vegetables’ was set up. This was the Caledonian Horticultural Society, later to become Royal, and still very much a feature of the Scottish landscape. The inspiration for the Society came from the Horticultural Society, founded in London five years earlier and there were many links between the two societies. Sir Joseph Banks and Richard Salisbury, founders of the London Society, and Thomas Andrew Knight who was President of the London Society from 1811 until 1838, were honorary members from the outset.
Posted on September 18th, 2018
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