The Royal Horticulture Society Award of Garden Merit (AGM) helps gardeners choose the best plants for their garden.
You may well have seen the AGM logo. A cup symbol on a plant’s label shows that it has earned the AGM – it’s the seal of approval that the plant performs reliably in the garden.
Awards are usually given after a trial period at an RHS Garden, often Wisley, and are judged by their expert forums. RHS awards can also be given by ’round table assessment’. This is given when a forum of horticultural experts meet to debate the characteristics and garden performance of plants that the Society is unable to trial in one of the RHS gardens.
With more than 75,000 plants available in RHS Plant Finder alone, how can you tell which plants are best for all-round garden value? The AGM is intended to help gardeners make that choice, and is only awarded to plants that are:
Awards are only made after assessment by an RHS forum of experts appointed by the Society to assess that particular trial. Each forum has its own area of expertise, and draws upon the experience of a wide range of experts, including nurserymen, specialist growers and well-known horticulturists. This assessment must then be ratified by the relevant Plant Committee. The trial and assessments usually take place at one of the four RHS Gardens but can also take place at one of our partner gardens, National Trust gardens or commercial nurseries.
Plants of all kinds can be considered for the AGM, including fruit and vegetables. The list currently includes more than 7,500 plants, but new awards are made each year to keep the award list as up to date as possible.
Unlike other RHS plant awards, the AGM is subject to regular review, to make sure that every plant still merits its place on the list. The first review took place in 2002: more than 1,300 plants that no longer met the AGM criteria lost the award, while 900 plants were added to the list. In the second review, in 2012, some 1,900 plants were removed from the list, and 1,600 were added. Since 2013, reviews have been conducted by each plant committee on a rolling review.