The stars of UK production horticulture were celebrated at the Grower of the Year Awards 2013 last week.
Dianthus specialist Whetman Pinks and salad grower F and T Shembri emerged as the biggest winners at the ceremony, which was held at the Lancaster London and presented by comedian Fred MacAulay.
Defra minister David Heath MP, former agriculture minister Sir Jim Paice MP and newly appointed groceries code adjudicator Christine Tacon were among 400 guests at the awards, held in conjunction with lead sponsor the NFU.
Addressing the event, NFU deputy president Meurig Raymond said the industry is still dealing with the impact of the wettest year in 100 years but growers are still well-placed to give the consumer the best produce.
"The great British consumer wants to know what they're eating and that means great British food produced by great British growers." Raymond added that horticulture "never had a better opportunity to build supply chain relations".
Thanking this year's entrants, HW editor Kate Lowe acknowledged the "incredible challenges" last year's growing conditions had posed for everyone.
Judges for this year were Sarah Dawson, John Adlam, Adam Pasco, Graham Ward, Neville Stein and Sally Drury.
Production horticulture - Winners revealed in this year's awards
Martin Riggall, former chief executive of the British Growers Association, won the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Whetman Pinks scored a hat-trick during the night, winning Best New Variety: Bedding, Protected Ornamental Grower of the Year and, finally, the Gold Award for overall Ornamental Grower of the Year Award.
F and T Schembri was named edible grower of the year and salad grower of the year.
Young grower of the year was James Smith of Loddington Farms. Other hotly contested prizes included those for best new edible variety, won by JR Breach for Cheerfull Gold apples.
See photo gallery of Grower of the Year 2013 awards winners on the night.