What a momentous day it was. Horticulture has now got a Royal Charter in the form of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture. I am immensely proud of this achievement by the institute for what it means to me and my industry. The celebrations were held in Hatfield House and pictured above are some of my industry colleagues posing. -Photo courtesy of Jonathan Ward, http://www.gingerhorticulture.co.uk
I heard about the Institute when I studied my BTEC and RHS qualifications over a decade ago. Through winning their Young Horticulturist of The Year competition in 2002 I won a travel bursary which I used visiting New Zealand and a years free membership. To be honest with you I let my membership lapse until recently a few years ago I rejoined. Under the guide of it’s then president Leigh Morris, I noticed a more proactive trend especially with its online presence. More and more of its members are actually much younger than when I remember joining years ago and it’s a great way to network and get support. They even have a mentorship programme. A lot of work is done behind the scenes too, especially at government level where the Institute alongside other bodies have given guidance in shaping the curriculum and the industry.
So the Institute has finally got the recognition it deserves and rightly so. It means the world to me. Being classed as nerd at school and then questioned why did I want to study it instead of A levels sums up the average Jo’s thought of the industry.. Actually ‘gardening’ the job you can do if you aren’t good at anything else. The horticultural industry is so diverse ranging from crop production, through to grounds maintenance. How about historic estate management or botanical gardens? Maybe garden design or greenkeeper? All of the job briefs are highly skilled and yet horticulture doesn’t get the pay or recognition it deserves.
We’ve still a long way to go in changing the public image of this our vital industry but onwards and upwards so they say. The Chartered Institute of Horticulture is here! Things can only get better… And maybe I’ll become chartered myself one day, just maybe.