RHS MHort dissertation investigates links to sound and propagation


The RHS Master of Horticulture (MHort) is the Royal Horticultural Society’s most prestigious award, designed for industry professionals who wish to grow their career and reach the top of their profession.  Only 40 applicants are accepted onto the programme annually, meaning places are sought after. Holders of the award may use the designation MHort (RHS) after their name.

The programme provides an affordable and high-quality learning experience, with the huge benefit of blended-learning flexibility. Interaction for the three-year award is mainly through the RHS MHort Virtual Learning Environment (Online Platform), allowing candidates to work around a full-time job and personal time constraints, to meet the deadlines required.

Candidates study a diverse range of topics, providing insights into different sectors of horticulture and current industry issues, all whilst developing their managerial and business skills. This provides them with the extended skills and confidence to succeed in the industry. Another benefit are the links candidates make to a range of professional networks.

Peter Lickorish, in the final phase of his MHort journey, describes his fascinating MHort dissertation on research into sound as an aid in plant propagation.

MHort student, Peter Lickorish, is investigating the role sound plays in plant propagation

“The RHS MHort felt in many ways like a natural progression from the RHS Level 3 Diploma, but prior to applying, I was still unsure about committing myself to three years’ further study, especially alongside work commitments. However, time has shown that it was the right decision – with the MHort giving me greater confidence in accessing the latest horticultural research.

The assessments involving producing professional reports have given me more confidence to compile reports within horticultural consultancy work I have carried out. The award builds on knowledge from RHS Level 2 and 3 qualifications by linking concepts from these courses to the latest research, from a scientific and commercial perspective, and developing skills in presenting and disseminating the latest research.

From this research across many units, I am able to take a holistic view of the direction horticulture is travelling in and looking into the interesting, challenging and exciting years which lie ahead for the industry has provided great material for talks and sessions I regularly give to clubs and gardens about ‘The Future of Gardening’.

For my dissertation, I have chosen to investigate the potential application of sound as an aid to the propagation of hardy herbaceous perennials and have set up a series of experiments at Shuttleworth College, with funding from the Fred Roche Foundation Study Award, the Parks Trust and Milton Keynes Community Foundation. The experiments have generated lots of interest, including from BBC Three Counties Radio who asked to interview me. I think I convinced one sceptic about the potential for sound to influence plant growth; the presenter was won over by the evidence I provided! I look forward to updating them with what I conclude from my experiments.

The MHort is a substantial commitment – in many ways I suppose you get out of it what you put in – it is a degree level award to give you the tools to develop best horticultural practice, especially in your own area of work.”

The award is open to UK and international candidates who have at least four years’ full-time experience working in horticulture, with at least one year at supervisory level and an existing Level 3 Horticultural qualification. Applications for the 2020 intake open on 1 May, for an October start.

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By Katrina Hill, RHSEducation Business Development and Engagement Officer