Mark Flanagan obituary

Mark Flanagan, Keeper of the Gardens at Windsor, who died peacefully, aged 56 on Saturday October 24 after a number of weeks in hospital, was widely recognised as one of the country's leading horticulturists.

Mark Flanagan
Mark Flanagan

Paul Sedgwick, deputy ranger of Windsor Great Park, said: "It is with great sadness that we bid farewell to one of the most central members of our team. Mark was a highly-valued friend and colleague to all who knew and worked with him. Although he will be sorely missed his achievements will stand as constant reminders of his great contributions to the Windsor Estate and to horticulture."


The Crown Estate’s Keeper of the Gardens in Windsor Great Park for nearly 20 years, he was responsible for the management of the world-renowned Savill and Valley Gardens as well as the private garden at Frogmore House. During this time he raised the profile of the public gardens and adjacent parts of Windsor Great Park by improving the visitor experience and increasing understanding of the horticulture, heritage and conservation in the area. He was the driving force behind in the development of the Savill Building, and subsequently the new Visitor Pavilion at Virginia Water, both of which were nationally recognised with awards.


He gained an Honours Diploma in Horticulture from the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh and a Master of Horticulture from the Royal Horticultural Society. Prior to joining The Crown Estate he spent over 10 years working for the Royal Botanic Garden Kew, primarily based at Wakehurst Place.


He travelled extensively in search of hardy plants, with visits to Turkey, various countries in eastern Asia - Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Russia and China - as well as the United States and western Canada. He lectured widely and contributed regular articles to horticultural journals and jointly authored two books on plant collecting.


He was chair of the RHS Woody Plant Committee, a trustee of the Chelsea Physic Garden and a member of the Gardens Panel of the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Arboretum.


His dedication, energy and enthusiasm for the Royal Gardens at Windsor was well known at every level, and it was fitting that Her Majesty the Queen awarded Mark the MVO on Thursday 24th September, whilst he was being cared for in Harefield Hospital.


His family have set up a Just Giving page in his memory on which they ask those who knew Mark to leave a personal message with their memories, with proceeds going to Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Charity.

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