Horticulturalists and gardeners came together to celebrate Scottish horticulture at the HTA parliamentary reception event held at Holyrood yesterday evening (27 May 2015). The 195 strong audience was made up of MSPs and representatives of gardening charities, community gardening groups as well as garden retail and nursery businesses from across the horticultural sector in Scotland.
The event, sponsored by keen gardener Christine Grahame MSP, took place in the Garden Lobby at Holyrood. Keynote speaker, Dr Aileen McLeod MSP, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform spoke about the huge benefits brought by horticulture in Scotland which often go unnoticed. She spoke about the vital role that the horticultural sector plays and how continuing collaboration is critical in getting issues such as plant health more widely communicated. She publicly thanked HTA member and her own constituent Noel Allan from Galloway Heathers who provided MSPs with handmade heather buttonholes for the event, allowing them to demonstrate their support for Scottish horticulture.
Dr Richard Simpson MSP, who is a Patron of the therapeutic gardening charity, Trellis, spoke about the important role that horticulture plays in helping patients recover from mental illness and how a greater connection with plants will benefit us all. In particular, he noted the work done with dementia patients, which has shown how gardening can help to reconnect memories.
HTA President Stan Green concluded, “Scotland has an amazing horticultural heritage – from internationally renowned parks, public and private gardens with many societies and community groups to boot. What better place to collectively celebrate the importance of plants in Scotland – than the Scottish Parliament. Horticulture plays such a pivotal role in society but do people, politicians and government take it seriously? More can be done.”
Children from Abbeyhill Primary School and Linwood High School also attended the reception. The Abbeyhill ‘eco group’ spoke about the importance of trees. “If we don’t plant more trees we will not have enough oxygen and more plants will keep the planet cooler and we will all be healthier”, said 6 year old Martin.
Attendees were able to visit the parliamentary garden for the first time at a parliamentary evening reception, and were invited to put forward their ideas for how the garden might better reflect Scotland’s relationship and history with horticulture.
By way of thanks HTA President Stan Green and HTA CEO Carol Paris presented Christine Grahame with a rose specially cultivated for the occasion, which had been named after her.