Speaking at a joint West Sussex Growers Association/HTA dinner in Chichester ahead of the GroSouth exhibition this week, he said:
"Our plants, gardens, parks, trees, landscapes, golf courses and green infrastructure deliver the greatest return in environmental and health and wellbeing terms, compared to any other UK industry.
"We need a dedicated landscape and horticulture team in government to recognise this and help us deliver more of these benefits.
He told attendees:
"This position follows the advice we received from policymakers after a really successful HTA-sponsored APPGHG House of Lords dinner on 24 October, to which the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee were invited and four members attended.
"We spoke about Brexit, labour needs, tree planting issues, strategic R&D needs and skills."
Also, at the dinner, attended by 90 industry figures, Plants for Europe's Graham Spencer spoke about new ways to market plants. He stressed that it was not always about the new plants – new gardeners often needed a new way of looking at existing plants to inspire them to give gardening a go.
He showed examples of this from edibles and ornamentals, including Vitacress marketing of simple culinary herbs and sempervivums as collectibles.