A definite calm had fallen on the marquee by 9 o’clock this morning. Plants were in place, final requests for labels had been made and the lunch had arrived. Gradually ties and frocks were donned and by 11 a crowd had arrived to witness the opening of the 2011 Plant Heritage Marquee by our President Alan Titchmarsh.
However our first celebration was the conferring of the Brickell Award, Plant Heritage’s most prestigious honour, on Margaret Easter for her work on the genus Thymus. Margaret’s work has researched the nomenclature of thyme down to the DNA level and she has written a monograph on her work.
Mike Alder, our chairman, then introduced Alan Titchmarsh with some friendly banter only a longstanding friend can get away with. Alan told us how he had greatly admired our past president Robin Compton and why Plant Heritage is like “The Devil Wears Prada”. But the most pertinent comment was about specialisation leading to extinction which is true unless you are talking about Plant Heritage, where it leads to conservation.
Alan was on a tight schedule, so he was wisked around the marquee to meet some of the Collection Holders.
Vicky Fox from Plantagogo with her Heuchera.
Barry Clarke from Hilliers talking about their display
Jim Marshal and his Malmaison Carnations.
Alan meets Lady Corinna Hamilton, Lady Jennifer Butler, and Sheila Alder.
Finally Alan lined up with the staff for a photo.