In the turn of the last century, gardeners were abundant. Employed to maintain and create flower bed displays
that you can still see in some town parks, gardeners were crucial to the attractiveness of cities and towns. 


To be a gardener was seen as prestigious, you see many group photographs from the 1900s celebrating this fact. 

The largest decline in the role of the gardener can be attributed to the world wars [Quest-Ritson, 2003]. A large number of men (and women) that once tended the plants did not return. Coupled with the rise of modernism flower beds declined. The flower beds fuelled the horticulture industry, requiring new annual plants every year to create stunning displays. 

It struck us as odd that at this year’s EUGIC conference Horticulture was barely mentioned, with greening systems given priority. Plants are the common theme in all systems and their value cannot be stressed more in similar situations. Maintenance is a big issue currently getting in the way of successful implementation of green walls. Most providers do offer ongoing maintenance, but it is a specialist job, if they are part of our cities, is it possible that existing teams can be in charge of it. The maintenance of green walls, for example, is as high as that of a formal garden, so why not get gardeners to do it? This will require a skill-ing up of gardeners and maintenance crews. 

The implementation of green infrastructure should be an exciting time for horticulturists, add value to the profession, and increasing their role in the protection and establishment of new green space in cities in the form of green walls and green roofs. It is also an opportunity to create more jobs, especially for young people who are significantly missing in the sector [The Telegraph].

We would like to see the RHS and similar European bodies represented at the next European Urban Green Infrastructure Conference.