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HTA highlights horticultural excellence at Scone Palace Garden Fair


The Horticultural Trades Association invited political guests to the Scone Palace Garden Fair to highlight the importance of gardening and environmental horticulture in communities. 


Minister for Agriculture Jim Fairlie MSP, Alexander Stewart MSP, Murdo Fraser MSP and former MP Pete Wishart were given a tour by the HTA’s Public Affairs and Policy Manager David Lydiat and Chair of the HTA Scotland Policy Forum Stan Green. Introduced by Scone’s Head Gardener, Brian Cunningham, David and Stan also gave a talk at the event about the Environmental Horticulture Growth Strategy, with a focus on careers in the industry.  


The guests were introduced to exhibitors and HTA Members, and the topics discussed ranged from the cost of doing business to the benefits of gardens and flora for health recovery, careers and higher education courses, as well as the future of peat use.  


Minister Jim Fairlie MSP commented: “I am grateful to Lord Stormont and the HTA for this opportunity to celebrate Scottish environmental horticulture and showcasing the wide-ranging benefits of gardening to our natural environment and our mental and physical health. The horticultural sector’s contribution to the economy and environment, through providing employment opportunities in a wide range of green careers, is vitally important. It was great to meet so many of the exhibitors and hear firsthand of their experiences.” 


Murdo Fraser MSP said: “I thoroughly enjoyed being shown around the Scone Palace Garden Fair, a fantastic event and I was pleased to hear this year’s attendance of some 5,000+ people. It is clear there are some challenges facing the horticultural industry, yet it was encouraging to hear from various exhibitors and how they are meeting these challenges and continuing Scotland and the UK’s strong horticultural tradition. The HTA is doing brilliant work championing the industry and ensuring vital progress such as a transition toward peat-free plant production.” 


David Lydiat, Public Affairs & Policy Manager of the HTA, said: “We were really pleased to have such influential politicians engaging and showing an interest in the environment horticulture and gardening industry. Scone Palace Garden Fair provided a magnificent setting to showcase the best of horticulture. We know there are challenges that the industry faces, but it also offers solutions, for example, in health and wellbeing recovery.” 


Stan Green, Director of Growforth, reflected: “We majored on the key subjects impacting HTA members right now – careers and skills for the next generation of those working in the industry are vital. Being recognised by political stakeholders is crucial; as an industry, we need to be high on their priority list, so we appreciate their time and efforts. We were asking for support from Scot Gov for the land-based courses and peat-free transition.”


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