Knowledge, standards, 'plantology' and mentors: promoting excellence in horticulture for everyone




Sibbaldia & PlantNetwork Conference 2020, Education, Apprenticeships


The Sibbaldia & PlantNetwork Conference 2020 opened with a free session. Participants were required to register in advance and registration was open to anyone with access to the internet. 300 participants registered and 142 attended on the day. A recording of the session was available to view for six months after the event.

The format of the session was a chaired panel discussion which explored what excellence means in horticulture. Topics were shaped by participants’ entries into an online poll which collated responses to the question ‘What does excellence in horticulture mean to you?’ and a word cloud was created from these entries. The chair navigated a discussion through the ideas which were of greatest significance to participants, according to the responses given in the poll. Panellists presented their own experiences on the subjects discussed and shared how their organisations approach them. The result was a lively and informative discussion between five experts in the fields of horticulture and education which ranged particularly around the knowledge educators want to share, how standards are defined, and what institutions can do to foster excellence. The discussion moved on to how more young people can be drawn into horticulture and subsequent professional development opportunities.

Author Biography

Kate Hughes, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Horticultural Project Officer



PlantNetwork, (2020). Promoting Excellence in Horticulture for Everyone (video). Available at: (accessed April 2021)
Royal Horticultural Society, (2019). 2019 Horticulture Skills Survey Report Available at: (accessed March 2021)
Slido Audience interaction and polling app. Available at:
Susan E. Yoder (2020). Seed Your Future blog post ‘Finding a green lining in the pandemic’. Available at: (accessed March 2021)




How to Cite

Hughes, K. (2021). Knowledge, standards, ’plantology’ and mentors: promoting excellence in horticulture for everyone. Sibbaldia: The International Journal of Botanic Garden Horticulture, (20), 39–44.

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