Jamie Butterworth - We're All Pioneers And Ambassadors Of Horticulture. Jamie reflects on speaking at this month's RHS Chatsworth, and what it means for all of us to be pioneers and ambassadors of horticulture.
Chatsworth House in all it's glory - the perfect setting for an RHS show
This month saw the second-ever RHS Chatsworth Flower Show, set in the beautiful gardens of Chatsworth House, and the incredible landscape created over two-hundred-and-fifty years ago by Landscape Architect Capability Brown. The show not only hosted beautiful show gardens, from world leading garden designers, and immense floral displays, but again showed the whole world just how amazing, interesting and fun horticulture really is.
I was honoured to be asked to speak at the Community Lunch on the opening day of the show. Speaking to a room of industry pioneers about the role that horticulture has in saving the world; a topic that may seem a little far-fetched, but in reality, could not be further from the truth.
Everyone reading this blog is both a pioneer and ambassador for horticulture and the benefits it has; not just in the form of beautiful show gardens, but in its roll inspiring everyone to get outside and get their hands dirty, no matter whether it be a small windowsill or a community garden. Getting as many people hands-on gardening is not only essential, but critical.
A big part of my role at London Stone, is to travel the country visiting colleges and education providers, speaking to young people to try and break-down the stigma and perception that horticulture is only a career option if you aren’t academic, or if you’re retired. This simply isn’t true. For me, horticulture, is one of the most fun, exciting, rewarding and diverse careers I can think of.
Tom Massey's Lemon Tree Trust Garden; an example of how important horticulture is, even in a war torn refugee camp, plants and gardening provide an escape and opportunity to heal, RHS Chelsea 2018. Image courtesy of Lynne Keddie & Hortus Loci
The possibilities are truly endless. From garden designers to growers, head gardeners to industry-leading landscapers, scientists to suppliers, and that’s just to name a few. It doesn’t matter where your skills set lies, there is most definitely a job in horticulture that can match your abilities. We are far from the industry of outdoor cleaners that some perceive us to be.
The perfect example of just how important horticulture really is could be seen at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Chelsea this year really highlighted the intrinsic connection between horticulture, health and wellbeing, with gardens covering everything from mental health to Epilepsy, HIV awareness to Myeloma, a rare blood cancer. It really emphasised something that I’m sure everyone reading this already knows, and embraces; that horticulture not only improves lives, but can change, inspire and even save lives.
Matt Keightley's RHS Feel Good garden - designed to improve the health and wellbeing of NHS patients, RHS Chelsea 2018
The science really is overwhelming. Those of us who work outdoors live longer, those of us who live on tree-lined streets live longer, those who surround themselves with plants live longer.
Our green spaces have never been more important. Be it as an escape from work, politics, or even just yourself. We need to actively push for the greening of our grey spaces, to make people healthier, happier and live longer.
Collaboration is the key to making this happen, the breaking down of barriers between specialities and joining together to share skill sets and pass-on knowledge; something we are all already so good at doing, but we can always do more.
Here at London Stone, we are passionate about the future of our green spaces and trying to get as many people outside gardening as possible. It doesn’t matter what you grow, or where you grow it, let’s all encourage someone to grow something, and help to continue to innovate and inspire, grow plants and make beautiful gardens, but most importantly, to save the world one plant a time.