Gardiner, Bailes and McColl awarded RHS Victoria Medal of Honour

Jim Gardiner, Christopher Bailes and Jim McColl are recipients of the most prestigious award. The Victoria Medal of Honour

Jim McColl

Twelve RHS accolades were awarded to those who have demonstrated horticultural excellence, personal endeavour and industry passion throughout their careers. 

The most prestigious RHS accolade, The Victoria Medal of Honour, was awarded to three distinguished British horticulturists Jim Gardiner, Christopher Bailes and Jim McColl. 

Jim Gardiner, RHS Vice President, formerly RHS Director of Horticulture and Curator of RHS Garden Wisley, has devoted his career to promoting the horticultural industry as well as the Society. In addition to serving on two RHS Committees, Jim has also written a wealth of horticulture books.

President of the Alpine Garden Society and former Curator of RHS Garden Rosemoor, Christopher Bailes has brought passion and expertise to numerous horticultural organisations and now shares his extensive plant knowledge with the wider community. He is an RHS judge and sits on the RHS Bursaries Committee.

Jim McColl is one of TV’s most celebrated gardeners owing to his involvement with BBC Scotland’s much-loved gardening programme The Beechgrove Garden since its inception in 1978. He has previously been awarded the Scottish Horticultural Medal (1982), an MBE (1996), and the RHS Veitch Memorial Medal (1999).

Christopher Brookes, Peter Sandwell and Keith Wiley were awarded the RHS Associate of Honour, an award presented to British citizens for their distinguished services to horticulture.

Christopher Brookes has dedicated a career spanning five decades to working at Bridgemere Nursery, Cheshire, budding and grafting hardy nursery stock and imparting his industry wisdom to students and staff alike.

Peter Sandwell is a leader and manager who championed horticulture and the environment whilst working for Dundee City Council, transforming the lives of communities through projects such as Beautiful Scotland and the Dundee Flower Show.

During his 25 years as Head Gardener at The Garden House, Devon, Keith Wiley has worked endlessly to extend, remodel and create a thriving garden and pioneered nearby garden and nursery Wildside in 2003.

The Veitch Memorial Medal, an international award honouring individuals for their exceptional involvement in the advancement of the science, art and practice of horticulture, was awarded to John Anderson, Ian Young, Owen Johnson, Rosie (Maryrose) Peddle and Derek Spicer.

In his esteemed role as Keeper of Gardens at Windsor Great Park, John Anderson has furthered the careers of many through sharing his expert plant knowledge, in addition to serving on the RHS Woody Plant Committee since 2007, formerly as Vice Chairman.

Alpine bulb expert Ian Young is a longstanding member of the Scottish Rock Garden Club (SRGC) committed to raising the profile of alpine and rock garden plants. He was previously a member of the RHS Joint Rock Garden Plant Committee until 2018.

Owen Johnson, Registrar of the Tree Register for Britain and Ireland has dedicated his career to expanding the tree database, recording more than 100,000 tree measurements. He is also the highly regarded author of a number of books on trees.

Rosie Peddle is Curator and Plant Records Officer of the Barrocal Botanic Garden, Portugal, and has contributed significantly to the promotion of plant and habitat conservation. Her achievements include working with Plant Heritage and being a founding member of the Mediterranean Gardening Association of Portugal. 

It is with great sadness that we report that Derek Spicer, recipient of the Veitch Memorial Medal, has recently passed away. Derek dedicated his life to the practice of horticulture promoting conifer growing and was the proud owner of Kilworth Conifers nursery which lists more than 2,000 species and cultivars. He will be greatly missed by the community.

The Harlow Carr Medal, honouring significant contributions to horticulture in the North of England, was awarded to David Rose, longstanding commercial tomato producer, for his dedication to the industry in various roles; as a staff member at Myerscough College, and a Trustee, Director and strong supporter of the Southport Flower Show.

Recognising rising stars in horticulture who have already made an exceptional contribution to the practice, science and promotion of horticulture, The Roy Lancaster Award this year goes to Harry Baldwin, a Horticultural Taxonomist in the arboretum at Kew Gardens.

RHS President Sir Nicholas Bacon said: “I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to the distinguished recipients of these accolades which celebrate outstanding work within the horticultural industry. It is with pride that the RHS recognises and honours the dedicated work of those who have and continue to further the development of horticulture and of the Society.  Whilst we are unable to hold the annual awards ceremony this year it is important that we recognise and celebrate the significant contribution these individuals have made to the industry.”

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