34 people attended or Skills and Standards Annual Conference In Manchester to hear 13 speakers speak on plant health, climate change, collections management and horticultural standards and skills. We also chose the event to launch new Forum Groups and delegates discussed issues and future training needs relating to our Forum Group themes of Plant Records, Tree Management, Propagation, Glasshouse Cultivation and Botanical Heritage.
Delegates came from a range of university, botanic, private and historic gardens. 55% of delegates described themselves as horticulturalists, other attendees included botanists and environmental scientists. Questions and discussion reflected the immense range of experience represented with a third of the delegates each having over 25 years horticultural experience. Overall delegates averaged over 18 years experience. Delegates enjoyed many opportunities to network at the conference breaks and at our conference dinner on the evening of 11th October.
‘The areas of high risk to our industry of plant health and training of our garden community was highlighted and discussed very well. These are common threats across our industry and if not planned for seriously we will find our plant communities being slowly diminished and our skilled garden community reduced to a bare minimum. These sessions and conferences where practitioners get together across organisations are key in ensuring that we can deal with these threats and plan for a more professional and secure future’.
‘So good to meet fellow horticulturists’
As ever, we chose a venue which enabled us to support conservation, in this case the restoration of a historic building. The Monastery in Manchester was designed by Pugin and was listed as one of the 100 most endangered architectural sites in the world before it’s reopening in 2009 after a £6.5 million restoration.
Eleanor Webster, Royal Horticultural Society Climate Change specialist.
Professor Nicola Spence, Chief Plant Health Officer DEFRA
Edward Birchall, Principal Plant Health & Seeds Inspector, Animal and Plant Health Agency
Dr Sam Brockington, Curator University of Cambridge Botanic Garden.
Pam Smith, Gardens Adviser National Trust Midlands Region
Chris Bisson Policy Development Manager at the Eden Project.
David Richardson, Director of Horticulture Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Kate Nicoll, National Trust Garden Training Specialist
Ros Burnley, Director of Adrow Ltd.
Leigh Morris, CEO, National Land Based College (UK)
Fiona Dennis, Manager of the Historic and Botanic Garden Training Programme.
Helen Seal Awards Manager Professional Gardeners’ Trust
Rachel Webster, Curator of Botany Manchester Museum