Diversity in the Horticulture Industry

Diversity in the Horticulture Industry


“Gardening programmes tend to be very ‘traditional’ white middle-class in their attitude towards gardening”, Julia Sargeant said in an interview after she won gold at Chelsea Flower Show in 2016. She was the first black gardener to design a Chelsea display in its 103-year history. Her win blatantly highlights a significant lack of diversity within the horticultural industry.

It is interesting go back to the very beginning – the decision to specialise in horticulture in the first place as a young adult. The increase in Asian, Hispanic and Black students enrolling in horticultural studies isn’t in concordance with this lack of representation. Horticultural courses have seen a 61% increase in minority students opposed to a 5.6% increase in Caucasian students. Despite this increase, curriculums haven’t been adapted to accommodate the shift in ethnic majority that these courses are made up of. Studies have shown that as a direct consequence of this failure to acknowledge who is receiving the tuition from these courses, these students don’t feel included – which in turn makes them feel like a minority. This then creates an uncomfortable and hostile environment for these students, which in turn increases the probability that they will not see the course through. 

When asked what influenced their decision to go into horticulture as a career, young professionals viewed the exposure to horticulture from a young age to be the main reason for their decision to pursue it professionally. Charities and courses, as well as campaigns to integrate gardening into schools to grab those children’s interest from the get-go are indeed helping. However, these efforts to scout the next generation of Gardeners could also fall to ‘colour-blind’ systematic inequalities. Schools in poorer areas, which generally include children from deprived backgrounds, are neglected because schools have less funds and cannot financially prioritise these kinds of programs. Therefore, the systematic neglect of these children then fuels the issue of lack of diversity within our industry – which in turn discourages people belonging to an ethnic minority to change careers later on in life, due to not feeling included and represented in the community.

So, it isn’t a case of ethnic minorities not being interested in horticulture – they just don’t feel as if they have their place within it. It is a shame, as we are well aware that the integration of different cultures allows for the flourishing of new perspectives. If you only gather similar minds together, you will automatically end up with similar ideas.   

Representation is also an issue when it comes to physically disabled people. Trying to come across a physically disabled TV presenter is incredibly rare. Mark Lane – a Gardener’s World presenter is the only disabled television presenter to appear on our televisions. Mark got into gardening after a series of illnesses and operations, followed by a car accident, which left him wheelchair bound. He consequently took up gardening to improve his mental health after such an impactful and uncontrollable life-style change. This is a common story for a number of people. It is a known fact that gardening improves mental health – as being outdoors and feeling direct contact with the earth, as well as seeing greenery and flowers, releases endorphins. However, these people who arguably benefit the most from the practice of horticulture are invisible.

Certain charities have been created to facilitate people with learning disabilities and mental health issues to use gardening as a kind of therapy, just like Mark did. It has been proven that the social interaction, as well as the physical interaction with nature is a proven method to improve mental health and learning disabilities. These charities are a direct way of making people with disabilities – be it physical or mental – feel cared for, encouraged in their hobbies, but mainly, they feel connected to people just like them, people who share a love for nature. This is exactly the reason diversity is so beneficial to our community.

We have a long way to go when it comes to representation within our industry – but ultimately – prioritisation of the younger generation by integrating programs at school that encourage children to engage with gardening will create the necessary pathways for their future. Not only this, there needs to be systematic change within the structure of education to encourage the people who are usually ignored, to ensure that their interest in horticulture is maintained by creating a comfortable and inclusive environment for them – to ultimately allow them to flourish. By being inclusive from the get-go, this will encourage others who are interested in joining the horticulture industry to take that leap – as the industry will be a safe and accommodating to diversity. Additionally, charities, programs and courses bring people together to focus on their common interests, by giving support and encouraging individuals to do what they love. It is important to remember that we are better together, and that includes everyone.

Votes: 0
E-mail me when people leave their comments –


  • PRO

    Schools in deprived areas will have more funds than schools in well off areas. It's called the "pupil premium". It's available to all schools on top of normal funding and given per child classed as in need..

    twisting increased numbers of minority students into majorities of total students (if I'm reading it right) is stupid.

    do plants grow differently for different ethnic groups? If not why does the curriculum need to change?

    everyone should be made to feel welcome 

    the whole blog looks like something from a student newspaper


  • Abdolute sick of this garbage- I left the public sector and went self employed to escape this anti white garbage. Let's be frank not diverse means too many white people. Having grown up as a white minority in London let me tell you that when white people are a minority we receive absolutely none of the benefits of being a minority. Do you think people in China and India sit there concerned that there are too many Chinese and Indians in a specific work place? If this communist garbage is what this website is about please say when signing up so I'd know not to waste my time

This reply was deleted.

You need to be a member of Landscape Juice Network to add comments!

Join Landscape Juice Network

Open forum activity

Honey Badger replied to John F's discussion Cherry Blossom Tree
"If it's right by a boundary wall it sadly needs to come out. Cherries are one of the worst for causing subsidence. People Are such idiots when it comes to planting tree's."
15 hours ago
John F replied to John F's discussion Cherry Blossom Tree
"Yes it's not always easy to do the right thing for the tree unfortunately whoever planted it put the wrong tree in the wrong place right next to a boundary wall when it was just a small tree .
Once it's pruned I  can't see it adding any value as it…"
17 hours ago
Peter sellers replied to Ben Hattersley's discussion Pricing for School grounds maintenance
"Ben, seems that you are in a strong position as you are well thought of by the school as you aren't the obvious choice to quote for something which is not your main business. Are they asking other contractors who do this type of work to quote? If…"
20 hours ago
Ben Hattersley replied to Ben Hattersley's discussion Pricing for School grounds maintenance
"Yes it seems to be mine field! The school arent happy with the current contractors and to be honest i wouldn't be either. The main concerns of the school are that they are paying for the contract but very little gets done.
Because i try stay away…"
Jim Mileman is now a member of Landscape Juice Network
Honey Badger replied to John F's discussion Cherry Blossom Tree
"Can't say I've ever seen silver leaf in 22 yrs because I don't prune prunus in the winter. The only dease I've seen on cherry is a die back due to old age. With exception a fungal thing that was poor soil related and did recommend to customer not to…"
Noel Dempsey replied to John F's discussion Cherry Blossom Tree
"It's not advised to prune cherry trees until the weather is warmer to prevent disease."
John F replied to John F's discussion Service Schedule Stihl Cordless Hedge Trimmer ?
"Many Thanks everyone . Sorted now , just removed the 4 torx screws and lifted gear box cover , original grease a bit dried out so cleaned it up removed debris and re greased gears .
Screwed cover back on and works as it should .
A nice…"
Billybop replied to John F's discussion Service Schedule Stihl Cordless Hedge Trimmer ?
"hi John yes its definitely a diy job to me, and i am not mechanically minded whatsoever. The higher end HSA trimmers have actual greasing points where you take the bolt out and put the grease in. The less expensive models you unscrew the plastic…"
Greg is now a member of Landscape Juice Network
Honey Badger replied to John F's discussion Service Schedule Stihl Cordless Hedge Trimmer ?
"I think ap range you just rub a bit of grease on the cogs every 16hrs. The combi heads I fill up with grease a few times a year, was recommended to me by a stihl engineer. In the winter I clean out all the old grease. I sharpen my hedge cutters with…"
Graham Taylor replied to John F's discussion Service Schedule Stihl Cordless Hedge Trimmer ?
"I'm sure this is just a trick to extort money form customers.  As said, the gearbox will need greasing periodically and the blades sharpening with an angle grinder now and then .   They have these ridiculous checklists that say for example, "check…"
Peter Davis replied to John F's discussion Service Schedule Stihl Cordless Hedge Trimmer ?
"I don't have the battery one but on both my stihl combi hedgecutter & another battery one, I remove the gearbox cover every few weeks & grease all the gears & bearings.
I don't trust the grease nipple system & removing the cover allows a general…"
Intelligent Gardening replied to Ben Hattersley's discussion Pricing for School grounds maintenance
"and he can bid for other contracts once he has the set up."
John F replied to John F's discussion Service Schedule Stihl Cordless Hedge Trimmer ?
"Hi Billy That's a good point greasing the gears , essential I should imagine , I wonder if it's a DIY job . ?  
Thanks never considered this ."
Billybop replied to John F's discussion Service Schedule Stihl Cordless Hedge Trimmer ?
"hi John never had any stihl AK only the AP stuff, I can imagine greasing the gears but apart from sharpening blades as you say, what is there to service really, probably more of a checklist they tick off"