Welcome to the Horticulture Week Custodian Awards 2017, celebrating the best of parks, gardens, grounds and tree management. These awards give in-house gardens and green space managers, working to ensure the best possible future for all kinds of green spaces, the chance to showcase their achievements, reward team efforts and highlight to stakeholders the vital role they play.
This year in response to demand we have expanded the awards with new categories recognising the best individual sites. Best Heritage Park and Best Neighbourhood Park will celebrate local authority green space achievements, while two new categories for Best Gardens or Arboretum (1-5 staff and 6+ staff) will recognise the best in their respective sectors. Finally Best Grounds honours the achievements of custodians of school, college and university estates, local sports facilities and other grounds used for recreation.
Horticulture Week launched the inaugural Custodian Awards earlier this year and our team was overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of entries from across the UK.
We already knew those working in the sector, from innovative local authority parks managers and expert arboriculturists to skilled school grounds teams and dedicated professional gardeners, were doing an amazing job as custodians of our nation’s exceptional green heritage.
Which was why we wanted to create a very special awards programme to honour their achievements and to ensure recognition of the crucial importance of those achievements within the wider world.
At a time when many custodians are working with challenging budgets, and grappling with the twin pressures of climate change and regulatory developments, shining a spotlight on those green spaces and those who look after them is more crucial than ever. Let's celebrate the fantastic work being done by UK horticulture’s caring and creative custodians of our parks, gardens, arboreta, grounds and woodlands.
Good luck from all of us at Horticulture Week.
Sarah Cosgrove, Assistant Editor, Horticulture Week
The awards will take place on Wednesday 28th June 2017