This is my first outing as the new president of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, having been vice president for the past two years and supporting Sue through some of the most difficult times. I want to thank her for all her hard work particularly through COVID, very ably guiding the Institute into what feels like normal living, and her drive and energy in the creation of our strategy and purpose of ‘Plants and Horticulturists: Securing our Future’. I took some time to look again at the detail of our strategy and vision which run to 2027 and was struck that now even more relevant.

I’m really looking forward to working with the great team at CIOH, staff and all those members who volunteer enormous energy into the many committees, boards, and interest groups that keep horticulture and its importance to the fore. Certainly, for me this spring has felt like the first normal mad May since COVID and we took the opportunity to meet in person for our AGM, held in Southampton on the 12th of May. We’ve got so used to meetings by Teams or by Zoom that being in a room together felt a little unusual, but the opportunity to meet friends and colleagues from all parts of the horticultural industry and to share time together is something that can’t be easily replicated, however sophisticated the technology. The election took place for the honorary officers and council, and we were delighted to welcome five new chartered Horticulturists as well as congratulating Chris Bird on receiving the President’s Award and Steven Flynn his Fellowship of the Chartered Institute.

I have been a horticulturist all my working life and passionately care about the profession and the importance of what we do in all aspects of this incredibly broad reaching industry. I joined the Institute in 1997(!) and today it feels like membership of the Institute is much more accessible as a student or an early career horticulturist. I’m hopeful that with the recent focus on the need for skills and training and talent we will be able to use our position and influence to really take the industry and our membership forward.

I’m very much looking forward to working with you all and to continuing to make your membership of the Chartered Institute an essential part of your professional life.

David Richardson CHort FCIHort