Horticulture Week's Matthew Appleby wins News Story of the Year Award at Garden Media Guild event

Horticulture Week deputy editor Matthew Appleby has won the Garden Media Guild's News Story of the Year Award for his investigation into RHS-backed Valentines' Day bouquets sold by Interflora.

His report followed an angry response on Twitter from British growers not impressed that the supposedly British-grown cut flowers used in the £195 ‘Ultimate Love Bouquet’ bouquets were actually unlikely to be available in the UK.

Interflora was forced to remove Union Jack icons from its marketing when the issue came to light and it was unable to guarantee the source of the flowers.

Appleby, who is Horticulture Week’s garden retail and ornamental expert, said: "I’m really happy to win. This was a really important issue – the idea of the bouquets was to help the British flower growers but they didn’t, it caused outrage. The story was picked up all over the place – national newspapers, TV, radio, all sorts.

"When you’re embedded in your industry or audience you can spot when issues of concern come up on Twitter and follow them up using traditional journalism methods. Then you can write a proper story that will make a difference."

Two other Horticulture Week writers were also shortlisted for awards. Master gardener and writer Alan Sargent was shortlisted in the David Hessayon Garden Columnist of the Year category for his Sargent's Solutions column in Horticulture Week, while landscape correspondent Sarah Cosgrove was shortlisted for three major reports during the year.

Winners at the event included Christopher Brickell who picked up the Lifetime Achievement award, Gardens Illustrated which won the consumer Garden Publication of the Year award, and Graham Rice who scooped the Garden Blog of the Year title. 

Alan Titchmarsh won The David Hessayon Garden Columnist of the Year award, the RHS won website of the year and Andy Vernon won Reference book of the Year for his Plant Lover's Guide to Dahlias.

The event which was held at The Savoy, London, was hosted by James Alexander-Sinclair and supported by Briggs & Stratton, the HTA, Stihl, MiracleGro, Thompson & Morgan, Hartley Botanic and Westland.

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