I am delighted to report that most garden centres up and down the country have had a thoroughly good month of June and that gardeners around the UK & Ireland are stocked up and fully in love with their garden again! The consumer giants of horticulture namely Evergreen, Westland and Vitax are having difficulty keeping up with demand as are the consumer compost producers in Ireland. Growers are trying to squeeze in a second crop as the remains of bedding sold in a three week period. Sundries have also been consumed at a voracious pace with many garden centres seeing bare shelves as a norm. Every E-commerce site has web postings of delays in shipment, processing and sourcing plant material – what a turn-around in fortunes for some. Of course nothing can repair the damage done to ornamental growers early in the year. For some bedding growers a second crop is neither achievable or desirable for many reasons. I do hope a compensation plan can be devised for our ornamental growers affected by this pandemic.

I am sure many of you are also welcoming the increased access to many Trust, Heritage, NGS and Private Gardens in the coming months, their therapeutic properties have been sorely missed by all. I am sure the staff will also enjoy the human interaction and return of plant conversation to their daily lives.

It will come as no surprise to members that this year’s September YHOY Finals and Conference at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh have been cancelled. The activity and risk of public gatherings will not be resolved in the immediate future, so we are left with no other option than to cancel. We will continue with the AGM on Thursday the 24th of September via video conferencing and we will have more details to follow from our Hon Secretary.

The 2020 conference venue and programme will roll-over to Friday and Saturday the 24th & 25th of September 2021 at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. Friday will be conference day and Saturday will be comprised of three field visits. We will have three sector focused visits to the James Hutton Institute, The City of Edinburgh Parks and a Botanical Tour of the Garden, led by Curator David Knott.
The 2020 YHOY finals will also roll-over to Saturday 15th of May at RBG Logan, Stranraer. and finally the Harrogate AGM venue will also roll-over to Saturday 24th April 2021.
All of these dates could be subject to change, given the current advice on public gatherings.

It would also be completely remiss of me not to comment on the recent death of George Floyd in the United States. This is a death that has shocked and saddened all. The response it has provoked in the USA and in the UK is quite natural and the momentum that has been generated behind the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, demonstrates the real determination for change across the world. The Chartered Institute of Horticulture must always be a fair and inclusive home for all Horticulturists, irrespective of race, colour, creed or lifestyle. We must not be complacent, so we will review our processes to ensure that no barriers to membership exist and that we continue to provide a welcoming environment to all prospective members.

Gerald Bonner CHort, FCIHort