I am delighted that we were able to hold the 2022 Annual General Meeting face to face. We were also able to make provision for those who could not attend in person.  It has been a very positive year, and I am thankful to all those who have contributed to ensure we develop and grow. The Harrogate Flower Show generously hosted the event. Thanks to Nick Smith, the Show Director, for his continuing support.

Northern branch once again operated the Advice Bureau at the show. Graham Porter and his team were faced with a barrage of questions from the people attending. It would seem that during lockdown people have been storing up their questions. We are fortunate to have the expertise in our membership to cover all topics. Thank you to all members who gave up their valuable time to support us.

I have just returned from the Young Horticulturist of the Year Grand Final that was hosted by the University of Warwick. Congratulations to all finalists and in particular Charles Shi who was the overall winner of the £2,500 Percy Thrower Bursary. Prizes totalling £5,000 were awarded by Percy Thrower Trust/Shropshire Horticultural Society along with a significant donation that enables the competition to thrive. Once again it was an exciting event attended by sponsors, members and supporters. Thank you to Victoria George (Competition Chair) and her team for organising the competition.

On 24th May we will hold the first open meeting for the Social and Therapeutic Horticulture Special Interest Group. Visit the website to register your interest.

It is good to see that branches are putting together an active programme of events for the coming year. Please support them whenever possible.


Education is undergoing change from the more traditional qualifications. Through the work undertaken on our behalf, Helen Sessions our Development Officer, is involved in a number of initiatives.

The T Level transition programme is going to be a bridging year of study prior to starting a land-based T Level (or possibility for people wanting to transition onto entry level apprenticeships). City and Guilds set up a review panel discussion including industry bodies, educators and employers. The CIH are currently reviewing proposed technical outcome for Agriculture, Environmental and Animal Care transition year programme.

The Department of Education launched a consultation ‘Review of post-16 qualifications at Level 2 and below in England’ which opened 2nd March and closed 27th April. This review and consultation are for technical qualifications (excluding GCSE’s, a Level 2 is equivalent to a GCSE standard).

The CIH along with members of the OHRG (Ornamental Round Table Group – representing ornamental horticulture sector including landscaping) and Trailblazers groups (who develop the apprenticeships occupational standards in England)  have completed the consultation. We have supported a group response highlighting concerns of removal of financial support for these Level 2 (and below) technical qualifications which give, both for school leavers and adult learners, valuable entry level training into horticulture and other land based industries.  When the consultation response from government is published, we will ensure we share this with you, to keep you abreast of developments in horticulture education provision.

Whilst there are many challenges in our industry, I am also sensing positivity, with the return of shows and events.

Susan Nicholas FCIHort