From The President

Dear Member,

The full implications of Covid-19 are beginning to be felt across the entire horticulture industry now that government action is taking effect and consumer behaviour is altered.

The lack of Labour to service production horticulture and the reduction in ornamental plant outlets will and has had an effect on the normal peak periods for Horticulture e.g. Mother’s Day and Easter. There are also concerns that supplies of inputs from machinery to fertiliser and crop protection products could all be affected over coming months. This is a situation that all Horticulture trade bodies are monitoring. As a consequence of expected logistic problems the demand for homegrown and locally produced food and plants could increase to counter these logistics issues. These complicated Public Health and supply chain issues that affect Horticulture, unfold daily, in line with Government briefings.

The vast array of Horticulture events, conferences and exhibitions that have been cancelled in the last two weeks, is of course unparalleled. We at the Chartered Institute of Horticulture have taken a more reflective view on the events that we have upcoming this year and announce the following ACTIONS:

• The AGM planned for Saturday the 25th of April at Harrogate is now POSTPONED
• The YHOY finals planned for Saturday the 2nd of May is now POSTPONED
• We have no plans to cancel our September Conference at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh
The AGM and the YHOY Finals will be rescheduled for later in the year as listed below to provide a ‘Festival of Horticulture’ programmes in conjunction with Conference:
• The AGM will now take place on Thursday the 24th of September 2020 in Edinburgh
• The YHOY Finals will now take place on Thursday the 24th of September 2020 in Edinburgh

Branch events will obviously be on a revised programme for the remainder of the year. It is highly probable that there will be no national or branch events until the second half of the year. We will review in conjunction with government guidelines on public gatherings. Once this changes I am sure branches will update their programme of activities and contact members. Branch ‘Annual Business Meetings’ (ABM) will be taking place on a very flexible arrangement this year given the unpredictability of the containment period.

The Journal of Horticulture will also be slightly delayed in the April mailing and will probably arrive in May.

The Secretariat at HQ will now be working from home as of Monday 23rd of March, so do be cognisant of this situation and please use email to make contact with Rachel Kemp:

Many key professional Horticulture events, just like our Annual Conference, remain unaffected at the moment e.g. National Plant Show, Fruit Focus, Four Oaks, SALTEX and CropTec. So although we are feeling the effects of this Global Health Pandemic, we can potentially look forward to returning to some sort of normality in the second half of the year.

Garden Centres, Parks & Open spaces will have an important role to play in the recovery of the nation and this also provides an important role for Horticulture to do some good. We will of course provide members with regular updates affecting Horticulture, but in the meantime, please adhere to Public Health Guidelines. We are a robust Institute, with good structures and a rich diversity of members that will see us through this period.

I look forward seeing many of you at a Branch ABM or at an Industry or CIHort event later in the year.

Gerald Bonner CHort, FCIHort