Cranfield University and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) have recruited the UK’s first garden water scientist.

Janet Manning, a Cranfield alumna with extensive experience in water science and engineering roles and a keen interest in domestic gardening, has been selected to join the charity’s 60-strong science team based at RHS Garden Wisley.

In her role, she aims to find the best watering products and techniques available, and to promote their benefits to RHS members, businesses and the wider public.

Commenting on her appointment, Janet said: “I am looking forward to being in a position to make a significant difference to the success of UK gardeners, and the resilience of our water supplies.”

“This role is a fantastic opportunity to use my scientific, water and horticulture training to look for innovative products and management techniques to improve water management within the RHS, domestic gardens and across the landscaping industry.”

Janet studied a Master’s in Water Pollution Control Technology at Cranfield before spending 17 years in various roles at Wessex Water. Following a short career break to raise her young family, she took on a role at her local garden centre and sat the RHS Level 3 horticultural qualification.

The first stage of Janet’s research is to conduct a short survey aimed at domestic gardeners, trained horticulturalists and those with an interest in water resources to understand how engaged people are with how they use water in their gardens. She also aims to include public opinion at the later stages of her research by offering experimental demonstrations at RHS Wisley and RHS flower shows.

Professor Ian Holman, Professor of Integrated Land and Water Management at Cranfield University, said: “We are looking forward to Janet taking on this role, as it will enable Cranfield to translate its long-standing expertise in water management in agriculture and horticulture to the benefit of the RHS and the UK’s gardeners.”

Notes for editors

Janet’s role is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), funded by the RHS and Innovate UK, through the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).