Ken Crowther, former HTA president and a trustee of the charity Perennial, said last week: "I'm not asking for money, I'm asking you to be the eyes and ears of Perennial, to look out for and hear about horticulturists past and present."
He added: "They may be in need or maybe it's their families in trouble. They may no longer be reading the trade press, seeing our adverts or going to shows."
Perennial, the former Gardeners' Royal Benevolent Society, offers grants and help with benefits and tax credits, Crowther told a garden design conference last week.
A former landscape gardener, forced by illness to take early retirement, struggled to pay a loan for a new boiler. A Perennial caseworker cut through bureaucracy and found that he was entitled to a grant.