On a very cold Friday morning, Genevieve headed into London to attend the award ceremony for the Plant Conservation Officer’s graduation as a Master of Horticulture – also known as “Mercy’s coronation”.
The Master of Horticulture Award is the Royal Horticultural Society’s most prestigious professional qualification – the assessment process is rigorous and calls for a high standard of knowledge, experience, practical competence and proficiency. Assessments consist of examinations, projects, critiques, practical assessments and a dissertation.
Over her three years of study, aspects of Mercy’s work have found their way into her modules such as Plant Heritage’s climate change policy and a review of the standards of other international organisations involved in plant conservation (which became her dissertation).
Coincidentally, a fellow graduand with a Plant Heritage link was present – Martin Perry – who is a member of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight PH committee, responsible for organising the nurseries who attend Hampshire’s plant fairs.
The ceremony was held in the Lecture Theatre at the Conference Centre, Horticultural Halls near Vincent Square and presentations were made by Sue Biggs, Director General of the RHS.
For those of you who have seen Sue being interviewed on television at Chelsea or Hampton Court, in person she is as friendly and genuine as she appears. In her short address before she started presenting the awards, Sue admitted that she would have probably started an MHort, had she not got the job as Director General. She certainly found it hard to hand over some of the fabulous horticultural books that were presented to winners of various prizes and awards!
Mercy was rather taken aback by the size of the framed certificate presented to her and thanked her lucky stars that she hadn’t biked to the station from home.
After a sumptuous buffet, there were tons of photos ending with a shot on the front steps of the RHS, taken by the official photographer. It was a rather like a glamour shot – everyone was positioned first and then the order came for “coats off”. The public passing by the front door were left very bemused, as everyone tried to smile in the cold.
Congratulations to Miss Mercy Morris MHort (RHS)!