The Chartered Institute of Horticulture makes history for professional horticulture

The Institute of Horticulture made horticultural history for professional horticulturists when it became Chartered on 21 July 2014. It is now The Chartered Institute of Horticulture (CIH).
The formal celebrations began on 1 September 2014 when The Marchioness of Salisbury, Patron of The Chartered Institute of Horticulture, hosted a Garden Party at Hatfield House to celebrate the grant of the Royal Charter, by Her Majesty the Queen. The Garden Party was a ?thank you? for Institute members, stakeholders, influential friends and sector partners for their support during the application for Chartership and a celebration of this landmark moment in the history of both the Institute and professional horticulture.

Lady Salisbury and the Trustees of the Institute were delighted to be joined by around 200 CIH members and colleagues from all sectors of the horticulture who gathered for speeches and afternoon tea in the stunning locations of the Marble Hall and Armoury at Hatfield House.

Guests included representatives from Defra, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA), Horticultural Development Company (HDC), ?Royal Botanic Garden Kew, The Royal Parks, Perennial, Plant Heritage, East Malling Research, Historic Royal Palaces, Natural England, Sainsbury?s Supermarkets Ltd, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Horticulture Innovation Partnership, Woodland Trust, universities and colleges from across the UK and Ireland and many more. Also represented were the informal groups YoungHorts and OldHorts.

The first ever six Chartered Horticulturists were announced at the Garden Party; Leigh Morris C Hort FCIHort – (President); Andrew Gill C Hort FCIHort – (President-Elect); Heather Barrett-Mold C Hort FCIHort (Past President and Education Sector Representative); Dennis Clarke C Hort FCIHort – (Honorary Secretary), Owen Doyle C Hort FCIHort – (Chair Membership Action Group); and John Whetman. C Hort FCIHort – (Honorary Treasurer). Lady Salisbury presented certificates to the Chartered Horticulturists; Andrew Gill, Heather Barrett-Mold, and Dennis Clarke.

To gain a Royal Charter for the Institute has been an aspiration since the Institute?s inception in 1984. Not only is the granting of the Royal Charter excellent news for the Institute it is excellent for horticulture and horticulturists too. This level of seniority and recognition will enhance the status of horticulture as a profession which demands high level skills and continuing professional development. Chartership will also strengthen the influence, and therefore the voice of the Institute, and will add gravitas to its claim for greater recognition from government and policy makers regarding its role in the development of professionalism in horticulture.

At the same time, Chartership will support the Institute?s ambassadors in their role of promoting advocacy in horticulture. The designation of Chartered Horticulturist (C Hort) to individuals in the Institute will, following the rigorous selection process, have wider benefits for all concerned with the practice of horticulture through its transparent and published standards that will demonstrate our commitment to the highest level of professionalism.

At the Garden Party, Andrew Gill C Hort FCIHort, President-Elect said ?This is indeed a momentous day for the Institute and a great way to celebrate the Institute’s 30th birthday. The Institute’s aim is to further professionalise horticulture. Members are now members of an Institute which holds the recognition and benefits of Chartered status. Whilst that itself lends gravitas, kudos and prestige to their position, the Institute now has the ability to award individual Chartered status. For those members who choose to apply for and become individually Chartered their Chartership can support them in their professional lives, for example increasing their attractiveness to potential employers and enhance their status with existing employers.

There is a long way to go on our journey to raise the professional status of horticulture and a lot more hard work to be done. But today is a day of celebration and in the words of Sir Winston Churchill, we may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing.”

After the event The Marchioness of Salisbury said: It was a great honour to have been asked to unveil the Royal Charter at the Garden Party on Monday. At least two hundred guests made the effort to come and celebrate, many very distinguished, and all interesting and busy people. They came from every corner of the British Isles so we should all feel confident of the future of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture. Our last guest, Lord Taylor of Holbeach FCIHort, the new Chief Whip in the House of Lords, whilst delayed on route to the celebrations, made a tremendous effort and was greeted by many friends and colleagues. An enjoyable end to a lovely afternoon. Congratulations on all those who helped organise the party?.

An announcement will be made at the Chartered Institute of Horticulture?s Annual General Meeting, on 11 October 2014, advising on the timelines, fees and detailed arrangements for applying for individual Chartership.

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