The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) yesterday announced the recipients of its esteemed annual awards for contributions to horticulture. Presented at a ceremony in London’s Lindley Hall on 25 February 2016, the RHS Awards recognise both horticultural excellence and personal endeavour and are regarded internationally as being among the highest accolades in horticulture.
The top award the RHS bestows, the Victoria Medal of Honour (VMH), was awarded to Mr Johan Hermans and, posthumously, to Mr Mark Flanagan. Established in 1897, the VMH is awarded to British horticulturists deserving of special honour by the Society. Only 63 medals may be held at any one time in recognition of the duration in years of Queen Victoria’s reign.
Johan Hermans is a respected horticulturist, highly regarded throughout the world as an orchid scientist and taxonomist. He is a member and former chairman of the RHS Orchid Committee and is an experienced RHS judge. He has gained more than 100 RHS plant awards and several more for his displays of plants and photographs. Johan has described more than 75 new orchid species and two genera, and has a particular interest in the orchids of Africa and Madagascar.
Mark Flanagan receives this award posthumously. Mark was a highly knowledgeable plantsman and the Crown Estate’s Keeper of the Gardens in Windsor Great Park, The Savill Garden, The Valley Gardens and the private garden at Frogmore House. He travelled extensively in search of hardy plants, was an author and lectured widely. He joined the RHS Woody Plant Committee in 1994, becoming chairman in 2014, and was a trustee of the Chelsea Physic Garden. He died on 24 October 2015.
The Veitch Memorial Medal was awarded to Mrs Sarah Carey, Mrs Diana Grenfell, Mr Marco Polo Stufano, Dr Ken Thompson and Mr Ernst van Jaarsveld, recognised for their outstanding contribution to the advancement of the science and practice of horticulture. All recipients have had an exceptional impact in their area of expertise.
The Associate of Honour was awarded to Mr John Watkins and Mr Nicholas Wray. Established in 1930, the Associate of Honour is conferred on persons of British nationality who have rendered distinguished service to horticulture in the course of their working life.
Other awards, such as those associated with the prestigious RHS Shows, include the Williams Memorial Medal for a group of plants and/or cut blooms which show excellence in cultivation. The Williams Memorial Medal this year went to Brookfield Plants for its exhibit of hostas at the 2015 RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.
Following this, the Lawrence Medal, which is awarded annually for the best exhibit shown to the Society during the year is awarded to R. & A. Scamp Quality Daffodils for its exhibit of modern & historical daffodils at the RHS Flower Show Cardiff 2015. The nine nominees for the Medal included Birmingham City Council, Drointon Nurseries, Eric Young Orchid Foundation, Medwyn’s of Anglesey, R. & A. Scamp Quality Daffodils, Southfield Nurseries, Trewidden Nursery, Vacherot & Lecoufle and W.S. Warmenhoven.
Other awards include the Harlow Carr Medal, Wigan Cup, Eric Young Orchid Trophy and Stanley Lord Bowl. Please find a full list of all the awards and the winners below.
RHS President Sir Nicholas Bacon said: “I would like to offer my congratulations to everyone receiving an award. It is an honour to be able to recognise the extraordinary contribution that these individuals and organisations have made to horticulture.”