Recently I have attended a few local gardening clubs and was privileged to become Patron of Filby District Gardening Club where I presented on the first evening to an enthusiastic group - all about inspiring newcomers to the horticultural industry along with some tips on making the club a success. The group were really personable and it was great to see a variety of ages and experience in attendance.
However, especially in rural areas, many groups do have an older demographic so I focused very much in my presentation on succession planning, just like any good business should have - horticulture needs to do the same.
Bringing it down to a personal level we talked about members own gardens and projects they have worked on. For instance, if someone in retirement (or indeed at ant stage of life) has worked incredibly hard on their beloved garden, what happens when they can no longer tend to it? Who will have the skills or knowledge? Do they want to leave their legacy in this way? Absolutely. But who has thought about it like this? Not many.
Inspiring at this level may seem like a small insignificant step but it’s actually a great leap towards what the industry is trying to achieve as a whole.
I've been thinking about the interraction between generations and this roused many a conversation afterwards. Baby boomers communicate completely differently to Generation Z but the one thing we all have in common is nature. We are nature, we dont see it sometimes but it means that every person on the whole planet does have something in common. It’s just learning how to communicate about it.
Communication is the key to just about everything from dealing with kids at home to world politics and horticulture is no different. But if we want to inspire, take some small steps to get the word out there by being involved in community groups, charities, schools and family members or friends.
Sometimes we forget to see the small, simple things, but there are many people out their championing horticulture at grassroots level, now it’s time the big guns stepped up.