18 April 2013 By Billy Hawkins
“This week is about highlighting the importance of gardeners and gardening. It’s also a chance to get the nation to consider just what part growing things can play in society.”
RHS Vice President, Alan Titchmarsh.
Earlier in the year the RHS commissioned a survey (much reviewed in the media), which resulted in findings which revealed that “Horticulture is for drop outs, it’s unskilled and unfulfilling according to young people”. Aside from obvious image problems, it is troubling for a nation which prides itself on its parks and gardens. The beautiful English Lawn has its own place in history and the nostalgia of the great British summer; eating cream teas and playing croquet or simply the English pub garden. If there are to be no grounds and parks people of the future, no aspiring gardeners or landscape architects, who will care for our green spaces? Where are the younger generation who will learn old skills?
There are lots of great courses held by the RHS which provide many alternatives to a future career in horticulture. The RHS offers qualifications that enable learners to develop their knowledge and skills, and to progress from the Level 1 Award in Practical Horticulture through to the Master of Horticulture, the Society’s most prestigious qualification.
The BBC has some fascinating facts:
“With more than 18.5 million gardeners in the UK and an average spend over £2,000 million a year on plants and gardening products, the horticultural industry is big business. It's estimated that there are around 13,000 production horticulture businesses, employing around 70,000 people. The range in size is vast, from small self-employed designers and private nurseries, to large international organisations employing hundreds of people in different locations.”
Clearly, a large industry which needs people to make it work and gardeners and horticulturalists coming through the ranks. It is the same world which Alitex is a part of and it is worth mentioning that there are different routes to success in the horticultural industry.
We design, manufacture and produce greenhouses and conservatories. All sixty employees have an understanding of horticulture and an appreciation of growing environments, informing design decisions, the siting of the greenhouse, heating and benching requirements, perfect airflow – to name a few considerations. If you don’t see yourself as a gardener, perhaps you are interested in designing greenhouses, or making them?
At Alitex we have an apprentice who is coming through the manufacturing route – learning expertise with aluminium which feeds into the production of quality greenhouses. Ensuring there is a succession plan within horticulture is vital – not everyone will be the next Alan Titchmarsh, but we will need people to bring knowledge to Britain’s green spaces, including the National Trust.
For more info:
Flower Images taken at RHS Chelsea 2012 - a celebration of gardening and gardens. Tools from the sheds at West Dean Gardens.