Changing attitudes towards growing, dwindling membership and effective communication with a younger audience were among the concerns shared by more than 120 people from gardening clubs across Dorset and Somerset, who gathered at Castle Gardens in Sherborne on Thursday 17 March.
The Flower Show Forum was chaired by Mike Burks, managing director of The Gardens Group, who was joined by a panel of experts including Susie Corr from the Royal Horticultural Society’s Affiliated Societies team, Britain’s largest network of gardening clubs and horticultural societies.
Mike Burks explains; “In the lead up to the Flower Show Forum, I was contacted by people from all over the UK expressing their concerns about the plight of the traditional flower show and the challenges faced by people trying to get involved with gardening clubs. During the forum it was clear that many shows are experiencing similar barriers and the panel did a wonderful job in offering advice, sharing stories and directing them to useful tools and resources. I would like to thank all participants for bringing their knowledge, ideas and experience to the floor.”
The discussions, tips and sharing of ideas will continue in an online forum, which The Gardens Group has created at www.thegardeneronline.co.uk/forum. A second Flower Show Forum will take place on Thursday 15 September at Castle Gardens, where those who have attended will be invited back to share how they have implemented some of the ideas discussed.
Photo: Flower Show Forum panel (L-R) Dennis Hewitson from Dorset Judges Guild and National Vegetable Society, Tom Crabbe from Motcombe Gardening Club, Ron Benfield, national prize winner for Chrysanthemums from Iwerne Minster Horticultural Society, Aly Pinnock from Charing Garden Society in Kent and Susie Corr from the Royal Horticultural Society’s Affiliated Societies team.