Sian Tyrrell My Favourite Tipples from a head of horticultural information
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By Sian Tyrrell


My Favourite Tipples are shared by Sian Tyrrell of the Royal Horticultural Society. Sian shares some of her go-to resources in areas from plants to science, research, GDPR, plus where she turns for fun.


The vision of the UK's Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is to "enrich everyone's lives through plants and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place". One way we do that is by providing the very best information about plants and gardening on our website and through the RHS Gardening Advice Service. To do this, we need to stay on top of the latest developments in plant breeding, garden design trends and horticultural scientific research and bring it all together so that we are a one stop shop for all things UK gardening.

These are a few of the sources I find useful:

  • RHS Find A Plant: I'm biased because this is our own tool but we use it all the time to help people find the right plant for them. It's super simple to use. Just add details of the kind of plant you want, where you want to put it or what your garden is like. It'll search over 11,000 plants to find something that'll work for you!

  • ResearchGate: This is a free resource for searching, browsing and sharing scientific research. As a charity, the RHS doesn't have a huge budget for subscription resources so free sites like this are a great way to search across international scientific and research publications.

  • IPNI - The International Plant Names Index: A collaborative resource led by Kew, Harvard and Australian National Herbarium, this is a key bibliographic resource for plant names and where they were first published.

  • Google Analytics: I'm sure I'm not alone but this is crucial for understanding what people are doing on our website and what information and advice they are using. It helps us see the effects of changes we make, informs how we prioritise updating and helps us see where we can improve.

For fun:

  • Wrong hands: This is a hilarious, visual blog with surprisingly frequent information-related content. It's also great fuel for when you're trying to put together infographics!

An article in Jinfo I found particularly interesting:

  • I read Katharine Schopflin's "What does GDPR add to the Data Protection Act?" back in February 2018. I'd just realised that, despite previously thinking I'd escaped the world of data protection by joining the world of plants (which have no data protection rights, in case you were wondering), there was still a lot I needed to know. Namely: the various "personal data" we hold that relates to the people who find, breed and grow plants. It was a great - not so scary - introduction to the topic.

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