The Ornamental Horticulture Industry Comes Together To Develop A Plan For Growth

Friday 13 March 2015

Action Plan To Be Launched At RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The first cross-sector action plan, designed to increase growth and competitiveness for the ornamental horticulture industry, has been created by leaders from across the horticultural sector.

The plan, which will be launched at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May, focuses on addressing 12 priority areas where government facilitation could encourage long-term growth.

It is the culmination of six months work that included a series of round-table meetings between experts from the ornamental sector with input from DEFRA. The plan unifies their concerns and focuses on those areas which, if addressed, have the greatest potential to grow the sector, provide major benefits to the health and wellbeing of the environment and society, and help towards addressing government policy challenges.

Speaking about the plan, round-table chair and RHS Director General Sue Biggs said: “The work the industry has put into the creation of this plan has been truly impressive. Everyone has pulled together to really focus our collective expertise, skills and insights to develop a map of where the sector should go. This is vital if ornamental horticulture is to regain its position at the top table among the most important economic, social and cultural sectors in our economy.

“Despite the work that has been done to get to this point, the real work begins after the election, when we work with government to address these 12 points. That’s when the skill and commitment that the sector has shown this far will be partnered with government to ensure this important sector does not just survives, but thrives.”

The organisations behind the development of the action plan include the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, Grow Careers, the Horticultural Development Company, the Horticulture Innovation Partnership, the Horticultural Trades Association, Landex, Lantra, the National Farmers Union, the RHS and YoungHort, and they will continue to guide its development over the next five years.

A representative from the horticultural sector will lead and drive each of the 12 challenge areas and will feed in to a steering group. To ensure rigour, each group will be encouraged to draw on expertise from within and outside the sector, including from across government, to inform their work.

The 12 areas of focus are:
1 Horticulture careers (apprenticeships, ambassadors and Grow, the cross-industry careers initiative)
2 Horticulture and the National Curriculum
3 Garden tourism
4 Garden expo
5 Sunday trading
6 Supply chain best practice
7 Fiscal incentives
8 Research and development
9 Plant health and pollinators
10 Health and horticulture
11 Green infrastructure
12 Inputs and waste (water, crop protection, growing media, pesticides, energy)

The round table group plans to reconvene in April to discuss progress ahead of the May launch at RHS Chelsea Flower Show.


Notes to editors

For more information, please contact Garfield Myrie in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3060 or email

Please use the following links to learn more about the organisations behind the plan:
Chartered Institute of Horticulture,
Horticultural Development Company
Horticulture Innovation Partnership:
Horticultural Trades Association:
National Farmers Union:

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, our flagship garden, 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. 211 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.

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