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Arboricultural Association at RHS Hampton Court

Author:  Stephen Hodsman
Last Updated:  21/07/2022

Putting the tree care profession in the spotlight

Steve Hodsman, Marketing Manager

Hampton Court Palace
John Parker delivering his ‘The Wonder of Trees’ talk on the Get Growing stage.

John Parker delivering his ‘The Wonder of Trees’ talk on the Get Growing stage.

Day one of the RHS Hampton Court Show

Day one of the RHS Hampton Court Show.

John Parker on the ’Get Growing’ stage with Arit Anderson

John Parker on the ’Get Growing’ stage with Arit Anderson.

John Parker delivers a tree walk on the Hampton Court grounds.

John Parker delivers a tree walk on the Hampton Court grounds.

The Association received an invitation from our partners at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to attend the Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival from 4–9 July. This was an extraordinary chance for arboriculture to be part of the world’s largest flower show and undoubtedly one of the biggest opportunities to engage with the public in the Association’s history, with more than 100,000 visitors flocking through the historic gates.

Fittingly, the first real heatwave of the summer began in time for a show packed full of colour, in one of the most spectacular settings possible. A combination of dedicated staff and members, who kindly volunteered their time, were on hand over six tiring but thoroughly worthwhile days. These efforts bought overwhelmingly positive feedback and hundreds, if not thousands, of meaningful interactions with members of the public.

Our presence at the event centred on a stand providing expert tree advice and a mixture of specially tailored, public-focused resources, led by the new Introductory Guide to Young Tree Establishment and a ‘Best of’ ARB Magazine compilation. Included as part of the official garden festival programme were talks and daily tree walks led by our CEO John Parker, who somehow found the energy to deliver 11 presentations and tree walks in six days, as well as providing technical expertise on the stand each day. His Wednesday talk on the RHS Get Growing stage was inspiring and very well received by a large crowd, with BBC Gardener’s World presenter Arit Anderson even inviting John to share the stage and answer tree-related questions from the audience after one of her sessions.

Enormous thanks must go to the volunteers who were on hand to provide expert advice to showgoers, led from the front by Chair of the Association Michelle Ryan on three of the days, along with her fellow trustee Paul Barton, Registered Consultants Jonathan Fulcher and Steve Cox on the Wednesday, and trustee Keith Sacre on the Thursday. All of the team of staff and volunteers showed unwavering enthusiasm on long days and in sweltering heat, proving themselves to be outstanding ambassadors for the industry. The vast majority of questions were either tree establishment or tree health related, and thanks to the suite of arboricultural resources developed in recent years there is now a detailed document or resource on hand to support answers to most questions and provide visitors with a lasting message.

This undertaking was somewhat of a step into the unknown because the Association had not had a presence at an event of this magnitude for many years. As we all know, too small a proportion of the public are aware of arboriculture but when given the right messages and resources, they soon realise its importance. This was first-hand confirmation that we must redouble our efforts to take advantage of the ever-growing public appreciation of trees, ensuring everyone is aware of the critical role arboriculture has in protecting, caring for and establishing them.

Finally, the Association is incredibly grateful to our friends at the RHS for giving us this platform to promote the value of arboriculture.

The Association team

Fran, Sarah and Andrew, three members of our amazing staff team.

Jonathan Fulcher, AA Registered Consultant, gives showgoers expert tree advice

Jonathan Fulcher, AA Registered Consultant, gives showgoers expert tree advice.

Steve Cox, AA Registered Consultant, also dispenses his expert tree advice

Steve Cox, AA Registered Consultant, also dispenses his expert tree advice.

New Association team member

New Association team member!