Council comprises the President, Treasurer, 15 members – all of whom are elected by the RHS membership - and up to two co-opted members.

The Society’s Charter provides for the President and Treasurer to serve as officers of the Society. Both of these office holders are elected annually by the membership at the Annual General Meeting and serve on the Council of the RHS as trustees. The President also acts as the Chairman of Council.

Trustees

Chairman: Sir Nicholas Bacon Bt, OBE, DL
(Treasurer 2008-13; elected as President at the AGM in 2013)

As RHS President, Sir Nicholas plays an active role in the governance of the RHS, and is the Chairman of the Horticulture Board. He is also an Ex-officio member of the Pensions and Remuneration Committee; the Audit and Risk Committee; the Investments Committee; the Nominations, Appointments and Governance Committee; and the Commercial Board.

Sir Nicholas owns and runs the Raveningham Estate in Norfolk; the family garden is open for 80 days a year and specialises in Galanthus, Euphorbias and Agapanthus. Sir Nicholas is Vice Chair of the Prince’s Council, Lord Warden of the Stannaries for the Duchy of Cornwall and Chairman of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association.


Treasurer: Sandy Muirhead
(Re-elected to Council 2009; elected as Treasurer at the AGM in 2013)

Sandy is Chairman of the Pensions and Remuneration Committee, Investments Committee and Commercial Board; and Ex-officio Member of: Horticulture Board; Audit and Risk Committee; and the Nominations, Appointments and Governance Committee.

In his professional career, Sandy is a chartered accountant and a founder partner of a leading private equity firm, Phoenix, which provides capital to support the growth and development of medium-sized UK companies. Sandy is passionate about gardening and, with his wife, spent 16 years creating an eight-acre garden from scratch.
 

Ordinary Members of Council

James Alexander-Sinclair
(Elected to Council in 2011; to retire at the AGM in 2016)

James is a member of the Horticulture Board, the Gardens Committee, the Herbaceous Plant Committee and the RHS/Three Counties Agricultural Society Joint Committee. He is also an RHS Judge.

He is a garden designer working all over the country, and writes for several magazines, newspapers and websites. He lectures at garden shows and clubs and is occasionally let loose on television. James' garden in Northamptonshire has featured widely in the garden press and he regularly presents on gardening for the BBC.


George Anderson MBE
(Re-elected to Council in 2011; to retire at the AGM in 2016)

George is Chairman of both the Education Committee and the Qualifications Advisory Group, and a member of the Horticulture Board and the Bursaries Committee. He is also an RHS Judge.

As a plantsman and avid horticulturist, George has been involved in gardening and horticulture all his life. He is a keen practical gardener and allotment holder and is concerned with the need for practical skills to be passed on to the next generation of gardeners.

He is also a senior RHS examiner and guest presenter on BBC2 Scotland's The Beechgrove Garden. George is a past president of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society.


Christopher Blundell
(Re-elected to Council in 2014; to retire at the AGM in 2019)

Christopher is a member of the Commercial Board, the Gardens Committee, and the Pensions and Remuneration Committee.

He is a strong supporter of RHS Garden Harlow Carr and has been appointed Garden Advisor. He has considerable knowledge and experience both of marketing and fundraising, which he shares to support the Society’s education programme.



Professor Mick Crawley FRS
(Elected to Council in 2015; to retire at the AGM in 2020)

Mick is Professor of Plant Ecology at Imperial College London and a member of the RHS since 1979. He is Chair of the Science Committee of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, Royal Society representative on the Advisory Committee of Chelsea Physic Garden, and has twice been a Trustee of Kew Gardens.

Mick’s horticultural specialities are trees and daffodils, and his research interests lie in the ecology of gardens: in the competitive relationships between crops and weeds, in the symbiotic effects of pollinators and mycorrhizal fungi, and in the relations between plants and their pests and diseases.


Mark Fane
(Re-elected to Council in 2014; to retire at the AGM in 2019)

Mark is a member of the Commercial Board and the Investments Committee. He is also an RHS Judge.

Using his extensive knowledge in commercial growing and retailing, Mark helped establish Crocus.co.uk, which is now the UK’s leading gardening internet business. He has built 17 show gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show; 14 received Gold medals and six won Best in Show awards.


Dennis Espley
(Elected to Council 2011; to retire at the AGM in 2016)

Dennis is a member of the Commercial Board, the Pensions and Remuneration Committee and the Tender Ornamental Plant Committee. He is also a Trustee of the Royal Horticultural Society 1974 Pension Scheme.

Dennis was Chairman of the UK Garden Centre Association in 2011, and is a member of The Worshipful Company of Gardeners.

A student of horticulture at Pershore College, Dennis has spent 40 years in horticulture, mostly in garden centres. During the past 25 years, he has worked at Squire’s Garden Centres, where he is now Managing Director.


Professor Peter Gregory
(Re-elected to Council in 2015; to retire at the AGM in 2020)

Peter is Chairman of the Science Committee and a member of the Horticulture Board. He is a soil scientist by profession, with particular interests in how plant roots interact with soils, and obtain water and nutrients.

Sharing his knowledge in science, Peter is on a wide range of scientific advisory committees. He is currently Chief Executive at East Malling Research; Chairman of the Advisory Committee for Novel Foods and Processes for the Food Standards Agency; and a member of the Council of the Institute of Horticulture.

Peter is a keen practical gardener who gets great pleasure from growing plants.


David Haselgrove
(Re-elected to Council 2013; to retire at the AGM in 2018)

David is Chairman of the Audit and Risk Committee, and a member of the Gardens Committee, the Joint Rock Garden Plant Committee, the Nominations, Appointments and Governance Committee and the Horticulture Board. He is also Garden Advisor for RHS Garden Hyde Hall, a Trustee of the Royal Horticultural Society 1974 Pension Scheme and an RHS Judge.

Since 1985, David has created a 3½ acre garden on a bare-field site in Hertfordshire (but has since moved to Wiltshire). He practised as a solicitor for 36 years in northeast London until his retirement, and served as publications manager for the Alpine Garden Society for 25 years. He currently serves on its Committee.


Neil Lucas MI Hort
(Elected to Council 2012; to retire at the AGM in 2017)

Neil is a member of the Herbaceous Plant Committee, an observer of the Horticulture Board and an RHS Judge. He is the UK's leading ornamental grass specialist, the owner of Dorset-based Knoll Gardens, an author and holder of 10 consecutive Gold medals at RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

He is Chairman of Trustees for a recently launched charity, The Knoll Gardens Foundation, which aims to promote garden practices to create sustainable, wildlife-friendly and aesthetically pleasing gardens.

Known for his work with grasses, Neil published his first book in 2011, Designing with Grasses. He does, however, retain a deep interest in trees and shrubs, which is one of the reasons why he bought Knoll Gardens.

As an accomplished and enthusiastic writer and speaker, Neil is also in demand on the media circuit and has made numerous television appearances. He runs regular master classes and demonstrations from Knoll Gardens and lectures in both the UK and overseas.


David Morrison
(Re-elected to Council 2013; to retire at the AGM in 2016)

David is Chairman of the Nominations, Appointments and Governance Committee and a member of the Commercial Board.

In his professional career, David has been involved in Investment Management. Financing and developing companies in a range of industrial sectors has provided him with a wealth of experience in issues related to business and financial management, corporate governance and strategic direction.


Lorna Parker
(Elected to Council 2014; to retire at AGM 2019)

Lorna has been a Member of the Nominations, Appointments and Governance Committee since 2011.

An RHS member since her mid 20s, Lorna has been a keen amateur hands-on gardener since this time and has developed and maintained a small Central London garden and a larger garden in southwest France.

Lorna’s career has been largely spent in top level executive search, advising the boards of companies, small and large, private and public, on organisation structure, succession, recruitment and governance. Since retiring, she has gained experience as a trustee, school governor and active fundraiser. 


Mark Porter
(Re-elected to Council 2012; to retire at the AGM in 2017)

Mark is a member of the Commercial Board and the Fruit, Vegetable and Herb Committee. Following a long and successful career in IT, he also acts as an external advisor to the RHS on IT projects.

As Chairman of the Itchen Valley Garden Society in Hampshire, Mark conducts lectures on designing of winter gardens, vineyards and winemaking. The garden he has created at his home now opens to the public under the National Gardens Scheme.

Mark has been a member of the RHS for many years, having developed a real passion for gardening since growing vegetables on his first allotment way back in the 1970s.


Dr. David Rae OBE FRSE
(Elected to Council in 2015; to retire at the AGM in 2020)

David is the Director of the Stanley Smith (UK) Horticultural Trust, Honorary President of PlantNetwork – the Plant Collections Network of Britain and Ireland – and sits on the Boards of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Hawaii and St Andrews Botanic Garden. He graduated with a BSc in Horticulture from the University of Bath in 1978, joining RBGE as a lecturer Garden’s Conservation before becoming Director of Horticulture and Learning. During this time David also completed an MSc and PhD by part-time research.

David frequently speaks at conferences and has published more than 50 papers. In 2008 he was awarded the Scottish Horticultural Medal and in 2014 elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and awarded an OBE.


Jon Wheatley
(Elected to Council 2012; will retire at the AGM in 2017)

Jon is a member of the Tender Ornamental Plant Committee and the Fruit, Vegetable and Herb Committee.

Having trained at RHS Garden Wisley and then the Institute of Parks Administration, Jon initially worked in amenity and leisure management. This was followed by a 30-year career in local government in parks and recreation management. In 2000, he returned to plant production and growing, followed quickly by exhibiting at RHS Flower Shows.

He is an Observer of the Horticulture Board and is heavily involved in RHS Britain in Bloom, as well as South West in Bloom and a range of horticultural societies.


Lady (Xa) Tollemache
(Elected to Council 2013; to retire at AGM 2018)

Xa is a member of the Gardens Committee, Herbaceous Plant Committee and an RHS Judge. Xa is also the Garden Advisor for RHS Garden Hyde Hall.

Xa set up her own garden design business in 1996 and won a Gold medal at Chelsea in 1997 for the Evening Standard garden and Silver Gilt medals in 2001 and 2003. She also lectures on garden design at institutes around the world where she can share her passion with the next generation of gardeners and horticulturists.
 

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