Action Taken to Save UK Horticulture

Wednesday 24 September 2014

‘Horticulture Matters’ report highlights how sector is tackling skills crisis

Today, the horticultural sector released an update to the ‘Horticulture Matters’ report it launched in 2013, which outlined the steps the industry and Government should take to address the growing skills crisis in the sector.

The update, Horticulture Matters 2014, highlights the achievements of the past year and outlines the areas of focus for 2015. Key priorities include improving the perception of careers in the sector, supporting schools in the delivery of horticultural qualifications and working with Government to secure funding for plant-science research.

Speaking at the YoungHort conference in London, which was attended by 300 young horticulturists, RHS Director General Sue Biggs said: “As a sector we want to share our passion for what I consider to be one of the most rewarding, important and life-affirming professions in the world, horticulture. And it is this love of horticulture and an understanding of the economic, scientific, cultural and social benefits it brings that brought the sector together a year ago to launch the Horticulture Matters campaign in order to highlight and address the growing crisis we face.

“Horticulture contributes £9 billion to the UK economy every year, and employs around 300,000 people across a variety of disciplines. However, 70% of businesses say that they struggle to find the skilled workers they require and 83% put this down to the poor perception of horticulture in schools and colleges.

“Over the past year, the horticulture sector has worked hard with Government, employers and educators to reverse a potentially terminal trend. We’ve made some significant advances, which are highlighted in our report, but we can’t rest on our laurels; there is much vital work that needs to be done.”

Delegates at the YoungHort conference received an early first view of a film developed by the industry-backed Grow initiative to inspire potential young horticulturists in schools. The film will be shared on social media sites and at high-profile shows including the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015.

Please use the following link to read Horticulture Matters 2014:


Notes to editors

For more information, interview opportunities and images please contact
Ed Horne, RHS Press Officer, on 020 7821 3356;  

The Horticulture Matters campaign stakeholders are:

Royal Horticultural Society,
Horticultural Trades Association,
Chartered Institute of Horticulture,
British Association of Landscape Industries,
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew,
British Growers,
National Trust,
Garden Organic,
Farming Delivers for Careers,
Sparsholt College Hampshire,

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood for the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture. We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, the first of our gardens, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity.

Today the RHS is committed to providing a voice for all gardeners. We are driven by a simple love of plants and a belief that gardeners make the world a better place. 210 years on we continue to safeguard and advance the science, art and practice of horticulture, creating displays that inspire people to garden. In all aspects of our work we help gardeners develop by sharing our knowledge of plants, gardens and the environment.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit  

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262