Greenspaces: Cultivating The Mind, Body And Soul


Horticulture is very wide ranging and of considerable importance to people. It provides us with food and shelter. Horticulture is important in reducing our net carbon use and in the mitigation of the effects of climate change. In the UK a very high proportion of greenspace is managed, and horticulturists are central to that process whether direct through complete oversight of an area or through for example the production of plants including trees. It is clear that spending time in greenspace is good for our wellbeing and this presentation explains some of the evidence that underpins this statement.


Dr Heather Barrett-Mold OBE is Vice Chair of the Pollinating London Together Charity, a Past Master of the Gardeners Livery Company, and founder member of the Livery Climate Action Group.

Heather is a Chartered Scientist, Chartered Horticulturist, and Chartered Environmentalist. Currently a consultant. She was Principal/CEO of Pershore Group of Colleges, and now Vice Chair of Governors at Capel Manor College. She was a member of the Government Advisory Panel on Sustainable Development Education for its lifetime of 5 years, and then Advisor on the Secretary of State Sounding Board. Heather was an expert with the Commission for Sustainable London 2012, and Secretary of State Board member for the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. She is a Fellow of the Linnaean Society, Vice President of the Institution of Environmental Science, Past President of the Institute of Horticulture, and previous Chair of the Science Council.

Professor Alistair Griffiths, RHS Director of Science, a Fellow of the Institute of Horticulture and a board member on PlantNetwork. Alistair has a background in both horticulture and science. He started his horticultural education at Myerscough College.  He moved to the University of Reading to attain Botany, BSc, and in 2001 a Botany PhD. Prior to the RHS he spent a decade managing a team as Head Scientist at the world-famous Eden Project in Cornwall as they tackled unique horticultural challenges that life in the biomes threw their way.

Alistair leads a highly skilled team of scientists who are focused on assimilating and evaluating the most current scientific knowledge and undertaking scientific research that provides high-quality evidence-based advice and solutions to address horticultural challenges so as to foster and improve beginner, amateur and professional gardening experiences. Alistair is responsible for ensuring that the RHS charity remains at the forefront of horticulture science. Alistair loves to inspire, motivate and engage people about the role of plants and horticulture in benefitting the environment and our health and wellbeing. His ambition is to build a more resilient gardening community who enjoy their gardens whilst reducing their impact on the planet.