Pro Landscaper September 2021

Page 32

INFORM

S U E B I G GS BACK IN BUSINESS

THE RHS HAS ALREADY EXPERIENCED A SUMMER OF SHOWS AND MEMORABLE MOMENTS, AND SUE BIGGS SAYS IT’S NOT OVER YET

©RHS/Neil Hepworth

THE FLORAL MARQUEE AT RHS FLOWER SHOW TATTON PARK 2021

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themselves and to reunite with many of our friends and partners from across the industry. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who attended and who made the shows such a success, and who coped with the COVID-19 requirements of the events so well.

IT WAS ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL TO SEE SO MANY PEOPLE ENJOYING THEMSELVES AND TO REUNITE WITH MANY OF OUR FRIENDS AND PARTNERS FROM ACROSS THE INDUSTRY The show season isn’t over yet, as we’re busy preparing for our first ever autumn RHS Chelsea Flower Show (21 to 26 September). The change of date for the world’s greatest flower show will give us an exciting opportunity to showcase plants that we don’t usually see at Chelsea, but rest assured it will still be the show we all know and love, and a wonderful celebration of horticulture, sustainability and hope. As well as the return of the RHS shows, the last few months have seen the opening of not only our brand-new science building, RHS Hilltop – The Home of Gardening Science, at RHS Garden Wisley, but also our fifth garden, RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford. The RHS is committed to ensuring that horticulture is a sustainable industry that represents everyone in our society and is fit for the 21st Century –

these projects, eight years in the planning and making, will help us meet those goals. RHS Hilltop – The Home of Gardening Science is home to the UK’s first dedicated horticultural scientific centre of excellence, protecting the future of plants, people and the planet. From preserving water to fighting pollution, the research at Hilltop can help us all become greener gardeners and, alongside initiatives such as our ambition to become 100% peat free by 2025, will help the RHS and the wider industry adapt to tackle climate change. We are particularly thrilled to be able to play our part in educating the next generation of horticulturists, by welcoming school and community groups, apprentices and students to learn more about the importance of plants. At RHS Garden Bridgewater, it was such a joy to have finally opened the doors to our newest RHS Garden in June and we have just welcomed our 100,000th visitor. As our first truly urban garden, RHS Bridgewater is right on the doorstep of many local communities that we’re delighted to be serving, as we build a more varied audience than ever before of all ages and backgrounds. We have a great deal more planned to ensure that all of us in horticulture are doing everything possible to attract the best people to further our fantastic industry and nurture our planet – I cannot wait to share our plans with you soon.

ABOUT SUE BIGGS Sue Biggs joined the RHS as director general in 2010 with 30 years’ experience in the leisure industry. She has led changes to make the RHS more inclusive and forward-thinking, including a £160m investment programme. Sue was made a CBE in 2017 for services to the environment and horticulture.

www.rhs.org.uk

Sue Biggs portrait ©RHS/Anna McCarthy

A

s summer merges into autumn and the colours start to change, it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy this fleeting moment between seasons and, for the RHS, between shows! Despite the challenges of the last 18 months, much of the horticulture industry has experienced a phenomenal boom throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and at the RHS we have seen the impact of so many new gardeners celebrating the great outdoors and the importance of gardening for physical and mental wellbeing. Our membership has grown, and to know this country now has 30 million gardeners is truly heart-warming. We were delighted to be able to welcome so many people, experienced gardeners and new converts alike, to the RHS shows this July. RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival was our first show since 2019, closely followed by RHS Flower Show Tatton Park, and both were a fantastic reminder of how much our industry means to all our visitors, staff, volunteers, growers, designers, contractors, exhibitors, and everyone who plays a part. It was absolutely wonderful to see so many people enjoying

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