Protected ornamentals body and bedding group to work together

The British Protected Ornamentals Association and the HTA bedding group have agreed to work together after meetings between their leaderships allayed concerns of competition between the groups.

BPOA president Sarah Fairhurst. Image: HW
BPOA president Sarah Fairhurst. Image: HW

BPOA president Sarah Fairhurst and HTA business development director Tim Briercliffe agreed to annual liaison meetings to help co-ordinate their efforts.

Fairhurst told HW: "I thought it was a very productive meeting and can't see any conflict when there is overlap, now that we have established good communication.

"There are areas where we will do things differently to them because we are representing the growers and the HTA is representing the growers and garden centres and maybe have different themes because of that."

The HTA group will focus on marketing and business development and its initial work will revolve around re-establishing a bedding focus conference, due to be held at Ball Colegrave on 28 October.

The BPOA annual general meeting and seminar event is due to be held at Hellidon Lakes near Daventry on 15-16 February. A marketing stream will be added to the seminar day, which in previous years had focused solely on the work of the technical committee.

Fairhurst said the decision to host a marketing stream was not related to the HTA's announcement of its bedding group. "We thought this year we should cover both aspects of the two committees so that we can recognise all their hard work and cover the widest possible gambit of issues," she said. "It was something that was mooted this year because we didn't have the time to do it."

Calls for associate membership to be made available to those involved with either group went unanswered because the issue was not discussed at the meeting.

But Fairhurst added: "We have established good communication with the HTA so I can't see it being a problem if people wanted to discuss it at a future meeting."

Growers co-operative Farplants has signed up to the HTA group and director Nick Richards welcomed the news of co-operation.

"It is definitely good news," he said. "There is no point in the two groups spinning off in different directions so strong communication and cooperation will definitely be a good thing."

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