TV horticulturist Domoney said in tribute after the news of the Europlants' founder's death: "Last week delivered some incredibly sad news, the passing of my dear friend Renato Canale. We first met in 1989 in a plant compound at the side of Stuart Lows Ltd in Enfield; he wanted to show me the super-sized plants from Italy which he truly believed there was a demand for in the UK.
"Shortly after that he put his own money into setting up a small company near Hatfield importing plants from Vanucci Nursery in Pistoia. Thirty years later, his company Europlants has become one of the most successful nursery supply companies in Britain and also paved the way for others. Many have followed his lead in carving out a whole new market in nursery plant supply specialising in not only a wider range of more exotic plants but also in size and splendour.
"For me, Renato’s genuine warmth, kind eyes and sincere handshake set him apart. Having seen him first-hand welcoming visitors to his open days over three decades, he saw many of his clients from garden retail, landscaping, and garden design businesses as friends as well as customers.
"But make no mistake, his astute business mind, and the way he treated his team as family, and of course the relationship with the Vanucci family were the cornerstones to his success. The emotional loss of Renato will be felt across the horticultural industry, both here and in Italy.
"Without a doubt, Renato has left such a positive mark on horticulture. Not only by pioneering and firmly establishing a whole new market for large and sculptured plants, or by showing such compassion and generosity with many charities, but also by propagating the warmth and friendship between many of us in the horticultural industry.
"I will miss you old friend."