Elizabeth Banks

More RHS Honours for British gardening women

Hip, Hip, Hooray

 The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has announced the recipients of its prestigious awards for outstanding contribution to horticulture. This year there are four recipients for the Victoria Medal of Honour (VMH). This is the highest accolade the Society awards. Only 63 horticulturists hold the VMH at one time, marking the length of Queen Victoria's reign. This year, the awards were given to three men and Viscountess of Merton, Alice Boyd from Cornwall who receives the award for the following citation: 

'As an Honorary Fellow of the RHS Lady Boyd has given exemplary service to the charity for many years. She has served on a number of committees and was on the RHS Council for 10 years. She was also President of the Cornwall Gardens Society between 2007 and 2009.'

"I am delighted to announce the recipients of the Victoria Medal of Honour which was established in 1897 in remembrance of Queen Victoria," says Elizabeth Banks, RHS President. "These are very special people and their contribution to horticulture has been outstanding. Their work has been wide-ranging and impacts on most aspects of gardening and is an inspiration to everyone."

The charity has also announced the Veitch Memorial Awardees This Award is given to those who it is felt have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of the art, science and practice of horticulture. There are five recipients this year. They include Susyn Andrews from Richmond, Surrey. 

Andrews, recently of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is a world-leading horticultural taxonomist and was the co-founder and Chairman of the Horticultural Taxonomy Group. She has published over 150 scientific papers and articles, was the senior editor of Taxonomy of Cultivated Plants (1999), has sat on the ISHS Commission for Nomenclature and Registration, is an Honorary Research Associate at Kew, and currently serves on several scientific and horticultural committees. An enthusiastic gardener, her main interests are temperate and subtropical woody plants and her passion for lavenders stretches back 15 years.

Many congratulations to them both. 



More women get RHS top jobs

Yesterday I wrote about the appointment of Elizabeth Banks as the new President of the RHS and it was lovely to see her on the BBC's coverage of the Hampton Court Flower Show last night with Joe Swift. But it shouldn't go unrecorded that two other top jobs at the RHS have also recently gone to women.

Sue Biggs will become the RHS's Director General from September.  Sue brings thirty years' experience in the leisure industry to the RHS as well as a passion for gardening.

And up at Harlow Carr, the RHS's garden in the North, Elizabeth Balmforth becomes not only the first female in the society's history to hold such a post, but at 34, also the youngest. Elizabeth trained at Hadlow College, in Kent and has been at Harlow Carr since 2003. Among other things, Elizabeth aims to promote the longevity of planting schemes, and to create new reflective bodies of water to ensure the garden can cope with flash flooding.

Horray for the RHS as first woman president is announced

RHS has their new first women President - Elizabeth Banks

I'm not often full of praise for the RHS with its rather wonky reputation for encouraging women so it's a delight to see that Elizabeth Banks has been appointed the new President of the RHS effective from 1 July.

Elizabeth Banks has run a highly successful landscape architecture practice for many years and was involved, among many other projects, with the development of the RHS's garden, Rosemoor, in Devon. I'm down in Devon this weekend speaking at the Ways with Words Literary Festival  at Dartington Hall. No time to visit Rosemoor I'm afraid but I'll definitely raise a cheer for Elizabeth Banks, the first RHS President in its almost two hundred year history.