After a speech by former Disability Matters chief executive Dr Stephen Duckworth on dealing with challenges that he related to current pressures on the amenity industry, Roy Lancaster took guests through a historical tour of plants to be found in the Coles catalogues.
His plant choices included Rhododendron yakushima-num 'Koichiro Wada', Sequoiadendron giganteum, Philadelphus 'Belle Etoile', Prunus 'Tai-Haku', Lupinus Russell hybrids, Metasequoia glyptostroboides, Hosta 'Halcyon', Hedera colchica 'Sulphur Heart', Choisya 'Aztec Pearl', Betula utilis var. jacquemontii and Cornus kousa var. chinensis.
For the next decade, Lancaster tipped the Wollemi pine or Wollemia nobilis.
Coles managing director James Coles closed the evening with a raffle raising money for horticulture charity Perennial, the nursery's charity of the year, that raised £650. This brought the total raised by Coles this year to more than £1,200.
"When my great-great-grandfather moved to Leicester (to set up the nursery) I bet he didn't think his grandson would one day be celebrating the nursery's centenary," said Coles. "Here's to the next hundred years."