While some industries are always in the public eye, car manufacturing and financial services are two examples, it is easy to forget, or not even to know, that horticulture has a major influence on the UK economy.

According to the Horticultural Trades Association, £10.4bn is spent in the UK on garden products, tourism and services.

It's also a major employer with 300,000 people employed in horticulture and landscaping. 

The value of UK plant and flower production is £2bn, although £1bn worth of plants and flowers are imported.

Tourism is another factor that makes horticulture so important with a third of tourists visiting a park or garden and contributing £1.4bn to the economy.

Royal Horticultural Society continues to thrive

Following the success of the recent Hampton Court Flower Show, it's no surprise that membership of the RHS has risen quite dramatically from 90,000 to 440,000 since 2010. 

The charity is hoping to pump £100m over the next ten years into developing the next generation of horticulturalists including a Northern School. 

Their Campaign for School Gardening involves 19,000 schools while a Greening Grey Britain Campaign has a three year target to transform 6000 unloved spaces from grey to green. 

Paving slabs not plants

What isn't so encouraging is a statistic from the most recent Growing Trends Survey showing that there's now three times as many paved over front gardens as ten years ago, amounting to 25% of the total.

London, Liverpool and Birmingham are the most paved over, with Edinburgh, Plymouth and the Norwich the greenest. Most depressing is that 25% of people don't worry about the consequences of this trend including an increase in the chance of flooding, although 61% are saddened by the sight.

Now the good news

Much more upbeat is the fact that 93% of people have a garden or grow plants, including 89% of under 25s. 

Gardens are used for a variety of activities, gardening is tops with 85%, while 82% of people just use them to relax in. Over half of respondents barbecue and socialise, 42% sunbathe, and 37% watch wildlife with 51% having a specific wildlife area.

The most popular reasons for gardening are personal pleasure (71%) and the desire to create a beautiful space (62%). To attract wildlife and improve the environment comes in at 30%, and nearly as popular is that it's seen as a healthy activity.

In fact 92% think that gardening helps to relax and de-stress, a great way to lift your mood. So instead of going to the doctor when you feel low, the message is to get out into the garden.