The Horticulture Innovation Partnership (HIP) has published a new Ornamental and Landscape Horticulture Research and Development Strategy. This ambitious innovative strategy seeks to open up new markets and develop new products to improve the health and wellbeing, environmental and societal benefits of plants.
This strategy is fully aligned with and supports the delivery of The Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Action Plan for 2015-20. The research strategy has been released to coincide with the parliamentary launch of the Action Plan at the Palace of Westminster.

The research aims of the strategy are mapped to key government policy areas to maximise the opportunity for government support and funding. The topics are split into four headings: health and wellbeing; communities and tourism; environmental resilience; sustainable resource use and biosecurity. The research objectives are designed to produce real-world business, environmental, health and societal benefits.

Possible research outcomes include the development of new plant ranges to cut heating bills, absorb flash floods and clean urban air and water. The opportunities of using green walls and roofs are presented, with clear case studies highlighting the potential. Future research requirements of the health benefits of horticultural activities and landscapes have been identified in this strategy that could lead to guidelines on how to improve patient health through gardening and the wider use of plants and greenspace. This could ultimately lead to a healthier and more productive workforce.

Raoul Curtis-Machin, Head of Horticulture at the Horticultural Trades Association, said “This is a great step forward for UK horticulture because it identifies new market opportunities and sets out realistic objectives to access and develop these new markets. It takes ornamental horticulture beyond pretty flowers and gardens and into the realms of long term environmental and societal benefits. It’s been a great achievement for all the organisations writing the strategy and for the 50+ consultee organisations which have helped shape our thinking.”

Industry collaboration, across the whole supply chain, has identified the lasting value of plants, gardens and landscapes. The benefits of a park, garden or avenue of trees can last for hundreds of years. The economic contribution made to UK tourism by our gardens and parks approaches £8 billion per year.

The Ornamental Steering Group responsible for developing the HIP Ornamental and Landscape Horticulture research strategy was made up of: The Horticulture Innovation Partnership; The Horticultural Trades Association; the Royal Horticultural Society; Sheffield University; The Landscape Institute; AHDB Horticulture; the British Protected Ornamentals Association; the Association of Professional Landscapers; Dove Associates; Lowaters Nursery.