Botanist and author

Brian's interest in horticulture initially developed from working on a small patch in his father's garden. While working for a neighbour, a well-known horticulturist who bred Lewisia, Brian decided to pursue a career in horticulture. He met the nursery owner of Ingwersen Nursery in Sussex and worked there for three years. It was when he left this job that he started at RHS Garden Wisley.

He doesn’t remember why he chose Wisley, except that it seemed the natural place to go and he had visited it a few times before. Brian was a ‘mature’ student of 23 at the time, as were most of his fellow trainees. What he enjoyed most about the course was the plantsmanship - the plant identification tests really captured his imagination and were a challenge. His favourite area to work in was the Rock Garden, but he found himself more drawn to the botanical side of gardening.

The course was valuable as it made him realise that he wanted to see plants growing in the wild. A group of his fellow students got together and raised some money to buy a Land Rover. They drove to Iran and spent six months there, sending specimens to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. After the expedition Brian worked at Wisley as foreman on the Rock Garden before eventually ending up at Kew where he stayed for 25 years.

Brian is a successful author, writing Dwarf Bulbs and many botanical papers. His contribution to horticulture has been recognised with an MBE and a VMH (Victoria Medal of Honour).


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