2014 RHS Awards for Exceptional Contributions to Horticulture Announced

Monday 27 January 2014

Society honours those who have excelled in their field

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the UK’s foremost gardening charity, today announced the recipients of its prestigious annual awards for contributions to horticulture. The RHS awards recognise both horticultural excellence and personal endeavour and are regarded internationally as being among the highest distinctions in horticulture.

The highest accolade the RHS bestows, the Victoria Medal of Honour (VMH) was awarded to Chris Sanders. The VMH is awarded to British horticulturists deserving of special honour by the Society. 

Chris Sanders, who was made an RHS Associate of Honour in 1999, is a respected plantsman, propagator and author who has travelled extensively, particularly in the Himalayan region, to further his knowledge. An expert on ornamental cherries, he was instrumental in setting up a National Plant Collection at Keele University, Staffordshire, has also built a collection of Deutzia originally bred by Victor Lemoine and was behind the introduction of a range of garden favourites including Cornus alba ‘Aurea’ and Aster x frikartii ‘Monch’. He is Vice-Chair of the RHS Woody Plant Committee, Chair of the Woody Trials Assessment Forum and a member of the Nomenclature and Taxonomy Advisory Group. Chris has worked at several commercial nurseries, and when he retired in 2002 was Production Director for Bridgemere Nurseries, Cheshire.

Mark Chase, Martin Gardner, Gianfranco Giustina, Antonio de Almeida Monteiro and Philip Baulk were all awarded the Veitch Memorial Medal for their outstanding contribution to the advancement of the art, science or practice of horticulture. All recipients have had an exceptional impact in their area of expertise. Mark Chase is one of the most distinguished scientists working in the field of plant classification and evolution; Martin Gardner has made an outstanding contribution to conifer conservation; and Philip Baulk, who with Ashwood Nursery has won 50 consecutive RHS Flower Show Gold medals, has played a significant role in establishing Ashwood’s worldwide reputation for quality and innovation.

Ian Butterfield and David Stone were awarded the RHS Associate of Honour, which is presented to British citizens who have rendered distinguished service to the practice of horticulture either as employers or employees throughout their career.

The Harlow Carr Medal, given to honour those who have made a significant contribution to horticulture in the North of England, was awarded to Peter Cartmell. Peter founded the Westmorland Damson Association, which has increased the popularity of damson growing in Cumbria’s Lyth and Winster valleys.

Horticulturists will also be recognised during the graduation ceremony of the Master of Horticulture in April, which is the Society’s most prestigious professional horticultural qualification. This year’s graduates are Catherine Corneille, Michele Coe-O’Brien, Jane Cosh, Grainne Ring, Oliver Wilkins and Branka Gaberscik.
Tom Galligan, from New Mills School Business & Enterprise College in Derbyshire, was named Young School Gardener of the Year.

Other awards bestowed included those associated with RHS Flower Shows. Dave Parkinson of Dave Parkinson Plants from East Yorkshire was awarded the Williams Memorial Medal for exhibiting plants of excellent cultivation while Helen Bainbridge from Fir Trees Pelargonium Nursery, Middlesbrough won the Lawrence Medal for creating the best floral exhibit at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in 2013.
RHS President Sir Nicholas Bacon said: “The RHS awards are a most important part of the work of the RHS by recognising the remarkable efforts that individuals have made to the furtherance of horticulture in its widest sense.”

For further information please contact Erin O’Connor: erinoccononnor@rhs.org.uk / 020 7821 3364


Notes to editors

Fir Trees Pelargoniums (Helen Bainbridge) Anthony Huxley Trophy Cleveland
Ian Butterfield Associate of Honour Buckinghamshire
David Stone Associate of Honour Hampshire
W S Warmenhoven (Peter Warmenhoven) E H Trophy Netherlands
Dave Parkinson Plants (Dave Parkinson) Eric Young Orchid Trophy East Yorkshire
Tale Valley Nursery (Chris & Lorraine Birchall) Farrer Trophy Devon
Medwyns of Anglesey (Medwyn Williams MBE ) Gordon Lennox Trophy Wales
Peter Cartmell Harlow Carr Medal Cumbria
Federation of British Bonsai Societies (Reg Bolton) Holford Medal Trophy West Midlands
Fir Trees Pelargoniums (Helen Bainbridge) Lawrence Medal Cleveland
Catherine Corneille Master of Horticulture Kent
Michele Coe-O’Brien Master of Horticulture Surrey
Jane Cosh Master of Horticulture Essex
Grainne Ring Master of Horticulture Co. Dublin, Ireland
Oliver Wilkins Master of Horticulture Surrey
Branka Gaberscik Master of Horticulture Co. Galway, Ireland
Dave Parkinson Mrs F E Rivis Prize East Yorkshire
Ronald Scamp Peter Barr Memorial Cup Cornwall
Chris Purver Reginald Cory Memorial Cup Jersey
Writhlington School (Simon Pugh Jones) RHS Orchid Trophy Somerset
Professor Mark Chase Veitch Surrey
Martin Gardner Veitch Edinburgh
Gianfranco Giustina Veitch Italy
Professor Dr Antonio de Almeida Veitch Portugal
Philip Baulk Veitch Staffordshire
Chris Sanders Victoria Medal of Honour Staffordshire
Birmingham City Council Wigan Cup Birmingham
Dave Parkinson Plants (Dave Parkinson) Williams Memorial Medal East Yorkshire
Tom Galligan Young School Gardener of The Year Derbyshire

Images of the 2013 RHS Flower Shows are available to download at www.photoshelter.com. If you would like to sign up to have access to images, please email the RHS Press Office at showspr@rhs.org.uk and we will instruct you on how to create an account.

To apply for a media accreditation pass and for more information on the show, please visit http://press.rhs.org.uk   

About the RHS:
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood for the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture. We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity.

Today the RHS is committed to providing a voice for all gardeners. We are driven by a simple love of plants and a belief that gardeners make the world a better place. 209 years on we continue to safeguard and advance the science, art and practice of horticulture, creating displays that inspire people to garden. In all aspects of our work we help gardeners develop by sharing our knowledge of plants, gardens and the environment.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a
healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk/join

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262


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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262