We held a joint branch chairs and council meeting in Maidenhead on the 29th of June and had a really positive day with constructive ideas about where we are and what we want and we’ll be sharing this with membership shortly. The photograph above is the unofficial picture of the day with a beam of sunlight hitting Clive Parker who had somehow managed to climb onto the retaining wall and positioned himself perfectly –  all achieved without the use of Photoshop – suggestions as to the title for this picture to me please!

A very big thank you to everyone that was able to come and the collaborative way in which we worked.

The Institute is a member of the Environmental Horticulture Group  (formerly the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Group) and Dr Alistair Griffiths of the RHS, who leads on research and development for the group, had engaged  with Chi Onwurah MP, Shadow Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, She asked the  Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to support research and development in the ornamental horticulture sector.”

Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Mark Spencer MP, said:

“The Government recognises the importance of the ornamental horticulture sector, with domestic production of ornamentals being worth £1.5 billion at farm-gate in 2022.

Industry-led research and development is key to enabling the development of real-world solutions to the challenges being faced by farmers and growers and also to exploiting new opportunities open to them. We have recognised strengths in bio-science, cutting-edge technology and research, with world leading institutes and pioneering farmers, and our £270 million Farming Innovation Programme is supporting industry-led research and development in agriculture and horticulture in England. The ornamental sector is in scope of this programme.”

The Minister’s recognition of the importance of industry-led R&D is a positive sign of the value of the profession and we will continue to work with Government in this area.

I was also delighted to attend the South East branch AGM which was hosted at RHS Wisley. We were warmly welcomed by the team and delighted to be introduced to the day by Tim Upson. And, after the formal meeting, given an insider tour by Gerry Edwards, Branch Chair and orchardist.

David Richardson CHort FCIHort