Obituary: KiIworth Conifers' Derek Spicer

We are saddened to learn that Derek Spicer, of Leicestershire-based Kilworth Conifers, passed away on March 30 from complications following surgery for oesophageal cancer.

Derek Spicer
Derek Spicer

Derek has been running wholesale supplier Kilworth Conifers with wife Carole for over 40 years. He was the author (with Aris Auders) of the two-volume RHS Encyclopedia of Conifers (2012), as covered in Horticulture Week in 2012.  He had been chairman of the British Conifer Society since 2003, and was also a member of the RHS Woody Plant Committee.

He was recipient of the RHS Veitch Memorial Medal in 2020 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.

Derek started running the nursery under his own name in 1969, and changed the name to Kilworth Conifers a few years ago. He trained as a botanist, completing a botany degree at the University of Leicester in 1964, and was later awarded an MSC in taxonomy. Before setting up his business, he worked in a foundry and was a scrap-metal buyer.

His 2012 RHS Encyclopedia of Conifers included all 615 species and 8,000 cultivars on 1,500 pages, with 5,000 photographs.

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