Our Finest Achievement – The Holford Medal
The Holford Medal is an annual award made by the RHS for the best exhibit of plants or flowers staged during the year by an amateur, or group of amateurs, at one of the RHS shows.
As part of our Society’s programme to raise its profile and create more public awareness we now regularly create floral displays at major horticultural events. These are often judged for medal awards and we now have many Gold Medals to our credit. The judging is on a point system with the totals determining the standard of medal (In theory, everyone could win Gold, or no-one could). There is an additional award for the best society stand in each show - we have won this award on previous occasions.
The RHS have a further system whereby the best stands in the show are judged against the best stands from all the other RHS shows, including Chelsea. I am very pleased to announce that our Gold Medal winning stand at Malvern in 2017 was put forward to be judged for this competition and we were declared the winners. Jane and I were invited to attend the RHS Awards Ceremony to receive the Holford Medal at their Hall in Westminster. This was a wonderful event with a champagne reception and a splendid lunch. It was very exciting rubbing shoulders with many horticultural dignitaries, especially Carol Klein (who was being awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour), as she had done a television presentation from the stand that won our award!
There are reports in other parts of this annual about the stand at Malvern but I feel that because of its achievement, a little more detail is deserved.
Preparation was effectively started twelve months earlier at the previous Malvern exhibition in 2016 when we engaged in dialogue with the organisers to discuss a 2017 exhibit. As there were no sweet pea stands in the main marquee it was agreed that in 2017 we could be located there. Plans were made with John Macefield, Roger Parsons, & Gerry Strydom to grow under glass or polythene to ensure early blooms in time for the show and to incorporate as many types, varieties and species as possible. Dave Rollinson and Jim Hill (who both live relatively local to the show) were contacted to assist with preparation and storage if needed. Members were circulated with a request to help and a number of volunteers pledged their support. This made a very strong and large team of enthusiastic members who contributed to our success.
I would therefore like to personally thank (in no particular order) – Caroline Ball, Roger Parsons, John Macefield, Gerry Strydom, Odette Sullivan, Peter Matthewman, Sarah Haisley, Elaine Parkinson, Kris Bland, Jim Hill, Alan & Mavis Duxbury, Jane Atherton, Carole Tate, Dave Rollinson, Megan Clay, John & Phillippa Cooper, Jenny & Lewis Morgan and Geoffrey Allen. Also, a special word of thanks to Malvern organisers, Nina Acton and Jane Edwards.