Changes the sector wants to see within five years include promotion of garden tourism through an international garden expo, reduced dependence on imports, more horticultural apprenticeships, and a review of the Sunday Trading Act to exempt garden centres.
Other ideas include making gardening a treatment on the NHS, promoting the use of UK plants by public bodies and in publicly-funded projects.
The Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Action Plan is the result of six months of meetings – facilitated by Defra – between the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, Grow Careers, the Horticultural Development Company, the Horticulture Innovations Partnership, Landex, the Horticultural Trades Association, Lantra, the National Farmers Union, the RHS and YoungHort.
RHS director-general Sue Biggs said the launch of the plan was "truly historic" for the sector, which employs 300,000 people in the UK.
"If we hadn’t come together to develop this plan, the likelihood is that we would be fighting on many different fronts, with varying degrees of success, to highlight our relevance and justify our existence. Now we are united, focused and more determined than ever to ensure that the 12-point action plan is adopted, and that the benefits of a growing ornamental horticulture sector are enjoyed by generations to come."
Biggs was joined at the launch by HTA chief executive Carol Paris and RHS vice president Lord Heseltine.
Read more in the 29 May edition of Horticulture Week.