The Brickell award recognises the plant conservation work achieved by many National Collection Holders and is awarded to those considered to have demonstrated excellence in this field. In line with Plant Heritage’s new Conservation Strategy, the award criteria have been reviewed this year to place more emphasis on the work undertaken by Collection Holders to secure plants in cultivation, for example through the rediscovery and propagation of lost taxa.
Margaret McKendrick has held her National Collection of Japanese Anemone since 1982. A horticultural botanist and teacher at Hadlow College, where back-up plants for the collection are still grown, she has undertaken an "extraordinary" amount of research on the genus. Through collaboration with growers in many countries, she has brought back to cultivation several cultivars of Japanese Anemone thought to be lost such as ‘Loreley’, ‘Serenade’ and ‘Lady Gilmour’. In 1999 her collection was awarded Scientific status, in recognition for her contribution to the knowledge of Japanese Anemone and her many publications.
Judy Barker has held a collection of Hardy Chrysanthemum on her allotment plots since 2004. An amateur grower, she was invited to join the RHS Chrysanthemum Committee, where she became involved in extensive trials of the genus. She has a keen interest in understanding the tolerance of Chrysanthemum to cold conditions, particularly in relation to breeding. She has created a network to exchange knowledge and plant material with growers in many countries. To guarantee the long-term safety of her plants for the future, she decided in 2014 to establish a Dispersed National Collection with two partner growers in the UK.
She said: "There is so much more to do and learn but these plants have taken me on an amazing journey."
Plant Heritage Plant Conservation Officer Sophie Leguil said: "I am absolutely delighted that Margaret McKendrick and Judy Barker have won the 2016 Brickell Award. Both of them have made significant contributions to horticulture by undertaking crucial research and sharing their knowledge to many audiences, often across the borders, with an incredible passion and enthusiasm. The relentless work they have carried out to ensure plants do not get lost from cultivation embodies the raison d’etre of Plant Heritage."