Visit for FREE: The HTA National Plant Show is happening on the 19-20 June

Find out more

HTA welcomes local MP David Johnston to Horticulture House

26 April 2024

On Friday, 26 April, the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) welcomed local MP David Johnston to Horticulture House, Chilton, its Oxfordshire office. The visit mainly focused on the imminent Border changes, which pose a significant challenge for the horticulture sector. This sector imports plants and plant products worth £753 million every year. The visit also provided an opportunity for the HTA to brief Mr Johnston on its work and share key data and insights on UK environmental horticulture. Vicky Notarbartolo, Manager of British Garden Centre’s Chilton site, also participated in the visit. 

David Johnston MP is also the Children’s Minister, and the visit was a great chance to discuss the upcoming National Children’s Gardening Week (25 May - 2 June 2024). This popular annual initiative aims to capture children’s enthusiasm for gardening at a time of year when results are immediately visible. Environmental horticulture has numerous benefits for young people, including promoting physical health, supporting mental wellbeing through a connection with nature and improving behaviour by instilling responsibility in caring for plants. Gardening also supports learning across various subjects such as literacy, science, and numeracy while teaching about the origins of food and providing a richer understanding of the natural world and food production.  

David Johnston, MP for Wantage, commented: 
“It was a pleasure to visit Horticulture House today to learn more about the work the Horticultural Trade Association is doing and the issues the sector is facing. Thank you, in particular, to Vicky from Chilton Garden Centre for giving me her perspective. I was also pleased to discuss National Children’s Gardening Week and fully support their plans to get children more involved with nature.” 

Jennifer Pheasey, HTA’s Director of Public Affairs, commented:
“We were delighted to welcome David at Horticulture House. Environmental Horticulture supports 674,000 with huge economic, environmental, health, and wellbeing benefits. HTA members are diverse in what they do to deliver for gardens and green spaces, but they are facing many challenges. Whilst we represent members across the UK, the opportunity to meet our local MP to Chilton gave us a chance to brief him on the sector and some of these issues, from adapting to a changing climate to increased costs of doing business and next week’s border changes as an imminent risk and costs.” 

Media Office