The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) members are celebrating success at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, with 18 awards being won by HTA and Association of Professional Landscapers (APL) members, including the esteemed Best in Show recognition and a coveted People's Choice award. Additionally, the HTA's active participation, through an engaging tradestand and events, enabled guests and politicians to discuss vital subjects, solidifying its commitment to fostering a vibrant and thriving horticultural industry.
HTA Members and APL Stars Shine Bright
Among the standout garden designs from HTA and APL members at Chelsea this year, the prestigious Best in Show title was awarded to Horatio's Garden, built by APL members Ryan Alexander Associates Ltd. This adaptive garden prioritises the needs of individuals with different mobility requirements, promoting the health and wellbeing benefits of green spaces.
In total, for the garden awards, APL members took home three golds (Ryan Alexander Associates Ltd, Landscape Associates and Landcraft), six silver gilt (Landorm, Garden Club London and Landscape Associates) and two silver medals (Big Fish).
The School Food Matters Garden, built by Landscape Associates, was also awarded the BBC / RHS People’s Choice Award for the Sanctuary / All About Plants Garden. This garden was designed for children to scramble through narrow paths, tactile stone, and bright planting. They not only learn about where food comes from and the challenges of climate change, but they also have their voices expressed on the giant mural, which looks over this inspiring, fun space.
The media also recognised the remarkable work of the Gadd Brothers, whose contribution to the Garden of Unity became a prominent backdrop for the first Chelsea Flower Show wedding.
Celebrating Horticultural Excellence
In addition to the member wins, RHS Chelsea Flower Show featured renowned nurseries and industry suppliers from the HTA membership. Exhibitors such as Burgon and Ball, Barcham Trees, Burncoose Nurseries (Gold), David Austin Roses (Gold), Fiskars, Gardenart Swimming Ponds, Mr Fothergills Seeds, Peter Beales Roses (Gold), Raymond Evison Clematis (Gold), Taylors Bulbs (Gold), and Tropical Plants UK (Silver Gilt) delighted visitors with their exceptional products and horticultural expertise.
APL member expertise was also showcased among the tradestands, with Garden House Design skillfully crafting their stand to claim an impressive 5-star rating. Additionally, Langdale Landscapes contributed to the success by helping construct the David Harber Sculptures stand, also achieving a 5-star rating. The HTA’s own tradestand, showcasing the association's commitment to excellence within the industry and benefitting wider society, received a well-deserved 4-star award in its first year of exhibiting at the show, thanks to the support of their APL members.
Advocacy and Engagement that Leaves a Lasting Impression
In addition to the award success, the HTA organised important policy briefings throughout the week, highlighting the significance of the horticultural sector and advocating for its growth and investment.
The HTA recognises the importance of support and awareness for the horticultural industry in Westminster. With members in almost every UK parliamentary constituency and 30 million gardeners, the sector plays a vital role in shaping sustainable and thriving green spaces. The engagement with policymakers during RHS Chelsea Flower Show allows the HTA to emphasise the need for investment and growth in horticulture to ensure its prosperous future.
Notable moments during the week included a meeting with Defra Secretary of State and Ministers Therese Coffey MP, Mark Spencer MP, and Trudy Harrison MP on Monday. The HTA also congratulated Baroness Fookes on receiving the RHS Horticulture Award from King Charles.
On Tuesday, the HTA continued its advocacy efforts by hosting the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Gardening and Horticulture (APPG) and the House of Lords Horticulture Inquiry Committee. These engagements provided a platform to discuss and address important issues facing the horticultural industry.
On Thursday, the HTA organised a small breakfast for cross-party MPs, followed by a tour of the show. The association also welcomed visitor stakeholders, including the Agriculture Attaché from the Dutch Embassy, further expanding the reach and influence of the horticultural sector.
Fran Barnes, HTA CEO, said: "We are immensely proud of all our HTA members who showcased their exceptional talents at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023. Their breathtaking work and dedication to environmental sustainability were truly inspiring. The combination of outstanding gardens, stunning products, and impactful policy briefings reinforces the importance of horticulture in creating sustainable and thriving green spaces. RHS Chelsea Flower Show also serves as a powerful platform for the HTA to foster relationships with key decision-makers, advocate for the industry, and provide them with an opportunity to meet with our members.”
Greenfingers Charity Donations
Moreover, the HTA continued their contributions beyond the show floor. The remaining plants on the HTA tradestand that could not be repurposed with the rest of the stand were sold on the last day of Chelsea, raising money for Greenfingers, a charity dedicated to creating magical gardens for children's hospices.