The future of the Horticulture Industry in the UK

Tuesday, 8 January 2019  |  Alison

The future of the Horticulture Industry in the UK

There are many professional horticulturalists in the much-underrated but hugely rewarding and satisfying horticultural trade and the industry contributed some £24.2 billion from ornamental horticulture to the UK GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in 2017. 

Many more are amateur but passionate gardeners ‘working’ in their own gardens or allotments, even balconies, so much so that it has been stated that 49.5% of the UK population do some form of gardening every week, which adds up to a lot of spending in garden nurseries and, in recent years, online.       

These figures are very revealing in that they show how important gardening and horticulture are to the UK economy and especially in light of Brexit, there will be many opportunities within the horticultural trade for newcomers to the industry, whether it is running nurseries, flower farming or selling plug plants.    

Commissioned by the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group (OHRG), these statistics have been brought together in The Economic Impact of Ornamental Horticulture and Landscaping  which has highlighted issues that they hope the government will address with regard to all things horticultural by ‘creating opportunities, nurturing funding such as health benefits and also supporting plans to encourage current and future workforce needs’. 

An All Party Parliamentary Group for Horticulture and Gardening (APPGHG) meeting was attended by Alan Titchmarsh, RHS Ambassador, who said “It’s time to sit up, take note and act to support this invaluable and immense industry for a better future for all”.

I wholeheartedly agree.  It is never too early to encourage young children, at home and in school, the fun and rewards of sowing, growing, picking flowers and eating home-grown fresh vegetables. Thankfully there has been a huge increase in the number of primary schools that have given the time and have the space to create their own small gardens and wildlife areas where children can experience nature first hand.

Although, as I said earlier, there are opportunities for a career in horticulture, Anisa Gress, news editor of The Garden states ‘it is hardly referenced in the National curriculum or promoted as a valued career path’.  

There is, however, a way that secondary school age students can get in on the act, with the RHS Campaign for School Gardening. They have plenty of ideas for budding gardeners of the future to volunteer and participate in creating green spaces, nature gardens or vegetable plots in their own areas which encourages others to help, which in turn helps to build team work between students and the local community.  Who knows, maybe some of these young people will want to join the horticultural world and one day start their own businesses. Let’s hope they do.

The full report from The Economic Impact of the Horticulture and Landscaping in the UK and the subsequent report Securing the Future of the Garden and Horticulture Sector can both be downloaded from rhs.org.uk/ohr

Alison 

Alison@brooksidenursery.co.uk

 
Brookside Nursery