Held at the stunning Woburn Abbey Sculpture Gallery yesterday afternoon, award winning teams stretching across the UK - and beyond - came together for a joyful celebration and presentation.
The event saw awards presented by Lord Michael Heseltine to a diverse group of winners ranging from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Thiepval gardening team to the National Trust's Croome and Bodnant teams and a parks partnership between Watford City Council and Veolia.
Addressing guests, Lord Heseltine, described himself as "a manic gardener" and said his garden had been a great relief from the stresses of life as a cabinet minister.
He also spoke passionately about the importance of gardens and green space, and how they could transform disadvantaged communities.
The awards were judged by independent panel of judges including Tony Arnold, chair of the Professional Gardeners Guild, Sally Drury, technical editor of Horticulture Week, Sue Ireland former open spaces director of the City of London, gardens consultant Alan Sargent and arboriculture expert Dave Lofthouse.
Estates gardens manager for the Bedford Estates, Martin Towsey, won the prestigious Horticulture Week Custodian Award and his 15-strong gardens team also picked up the award for Best Gardens or Arboretum Team.
He said: "I can’t believe it, I didn’t even know I was in for the award." He said he absolutely loved his 33-year career so far, which he started aged 15 as an apprentice for Nottingham City Council.
"Horticulture has given me the ability to get out of bed in the morning. I’ve never had a day when I’ve thought ‘I don’t want to go to work.
Towsey said the Custodian Awards were a wonderful celebration of horticultural talent right across the sectors. "It’s something we have been missing in the industry."
Lady Lousie Bedford, who also attended the ceremony, said Towsey’s win "was totally well-deserved".
"Martin is fantastic to work with, very good at any project you give him." she said. "He leads a very good team and they have very good team work. We are very proud of him."
Industry charity Perennial was this year's charity partner for the event. Hedges Direct was sponsor of this year's event.
Full write ups of all winning projects will be published shortly at HorticultureWeek.co.uk and appear in the next edition of Horticulture Week magazine published on Friday 7th July.
Winners in Full
Horticulture Week Custodian Award
Horticulture Week Custodian Award - Best community health initiative:
- Winner - Countess of Chester Country Park, The Land Trust
- Highly Commended - Horatio's Garden Scotland
Horticulture Week Custodian Award - Best community/volunteer initiative:
Horticulture Week Custodian Award - Best food-growing initiative:
- Winner - Edible Gardening project, RBG Edinburgh
- Highly Commended- National Trust Chartwell Kitchen Garden
Horticulture Week Custodian Award - Best parks partnership - third sector:
- Winner - Northumberlandia, the Land Trust
- Highly Commended - Islington Borough Council and The Garden Classroom
- Highly Commended - Scottish Councils and Greenspace Scotland for Park Managers' Forum
Horticulture Week Custodian Award - Best gardens or arboretum initiative:
- Winner - a new vision for Nene Park, Nene Park Trust
- Highly Commended - Glasgow City Council Tollcross Rose Trials
Horticulture Week Custodian Award - Best urban parks team:
Horticulture Week Custodian Award - Best tree team:
Horticulture Week Custodian Award - Best gardens or arboretum (six-plus staff):
- Winner - Trentham Gardens, St Modwen
- Highly Commended - English Heritage Brodsworth Hall
Horticulture Week Custodian Award - Best urban tree initiative:
Horticulture Week Custodian Award - Best parks restoration/development project:
Horticulture Week Custodian Award - Best gardens or arboretum team:
Horticulture Week Custodian Award - Best heritage park:
Horticulture Week Custodian Award - Best gardens restoration/development project:
Horticulture Week Custodian Award - Visitor Engagement Event:
- Winner - National Trust – Brown at Work
- Highly Commended - Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Thiepval for Thiepval Somme 100 Event
Horticulture Week Custodian Award - Parks Partnership Commercial:
The Shortlist in Full
- Arun District Council/ISS
- Audley End (English Heritage)
- Batsford Arboretum
- Benmore Botanic Garden
- Bodnant Garden (National Trust) x2
- Brodsworth Hall (English Heritage)
- Cassiobury Park (Watford Borough Council)
- Chartwell (National Trust)
- Compton Verney House Trust
- Countess of Chester Country Park (The Land Trust)
- Croome (National Trust) x3
- Dawyck Botanic Garden
- Emmetts Garden
- Glasgow Botanic Gardens
- Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park (The Land Trust)
- Hardwick Hall (National Trust) x2Horatio's Garden Scotland
- Howletts Wild Animal Trust
- Islington London Borough Council x3
- Leighton-Linslade Town Council
- Logan Botanic Garden
- Nene Park Trust
- Northumberlandia (Land Trust)
- Observatree (The Woodland Trust)
- Osborne (English Heritage)
- Aberdeen City Council and Park Managers' Forum (Scotland)
- Quarry Bank (National Trust)
- Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
- Seven Lochs Wetland Park
- St Aubyn Estates
- Thiepval (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) x2
- Tollcross Rose Trials (Glasgow City Council)
- Trentham Gardens
- Walmer Castle Gardens (English Heritage)
- Watford Borough Council/Veolia
- Wildlife Garden (Westway Trust)
- Woburn Abbey & Gardens x2
- Wormholt Park
SEE ALL CUSTODIAN AWARDS 2017 WINNERS