this month's flower
Edgworth and District Horticultural Society

Roy Lancaster OBE

Roy LancasterThe Barlow Memorial Institute (since re-named The Barlow) celebrated its Centenary in 2009 and the Society played its part in their programme by arranging our first celebrity speaker talk. The evening was a ticket only sell-out and proved very popular and as a result of this success further celebrity speakers have subsequently been invited.

Roy Lancaster, radio & TV celebrity and well-known plant hunter, was brought up in Bolton and as a schoolboy he helped compile a flora of the district. After leaving school he joined the local parks department, and then went on to work at the University of Cambridge Botanic Gardens and the Hillier Nurseries in Hampshire. In 1970 he was appointed the first curator of the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Arboretum. He became a freelance writer, lecturer and broadcaster in 1980. Roy is enthusiastically supportive of the north west of England - the Bolton area in particular and, amongst other things, is President of the Hardy Plant Society.

An avid plant collector and veteran of many far-flung expeditions, Roy's own 1/3 of an acre garden in Hampshire (which was the subject of his talk ‘A Plantsman’s Garden’) is filled with plants of all kinds for year-round effect and the walls of his house are densely planted with both climbers and shrubs, some of which he talked about when he visited us.

Before the meeting he had planted a tree (Liquidambar styraciflua ‘Worplesdon’) near the Children’s Play area behind The Barlow, to mark the centenary. The border spade used to plant the tree was later raffled.

The evening was enjoyed immensely by the capacity audience who responded to Roy's engaging humour and his vast knowledge about his chosen subject and plants in general. After the meeting he took time to talk to any members who approached him; he is a thoroughly charming and personable individual.

Roy also found it ‘an enjoyable experience’ and subsequently wrote to say “It was a warm welcome you gave me and I was so thrilled to meet everyone including several friends from the past. I enjoyed planting the tree too …. I do hope it is allowed to thrive and show its rich colours in Autumn.”

Photo Gallery

Roy Lancaster's Plant Recommendations