Yesterday brought the startling, and humbling, announcement - and I’m honoured to receive the 2021 Garden Media Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Garden Media Guild is the British professional organisation for garden writers and photographers, bloggers, TV and radio presenters and producers – any communicator who specialises in plants, gardens and gardening.
I thank my peers in the Guild for this recognition of a life of writing about plants and gardens – starting in The Irish Gardener, and what was then Practical Self Sufficiency magazine, almost exactly forty years ago.
I’m humbled to find myself in the company, as a Garden Media Guild Lifetime Achievement Award winner, of such greats as Christopher Lloyd, with whom I wrote a book twenty years ago; Peter Seabrook who, since his own Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993, has done enough to receive another; Fred Whitsey and Graham Stuart-Thomas, from a very different generation, as well as Beth Chatto, Joy Larkcom, Roy Lancaster, Alan Titchmarsh, Anna Pavord and the other deserving recipients.
None of this would have happened without the legendary Geoff Hamilton. He hired me to my first trainee writer job on Practical Gardening magazine – on condition that I cut off my ponytail which, he insisted, would frighten the readers. I was then allowed on the front cover (above).
Thank you, too, to all but one of the many editors I’ve worked with over the years. It’s been fun, challenging, satisfying (and occasionally exasperating), but never a dull moment. The one exception is the section editor who fired me with a letter - which contained just one line: “You have written your last column for The Observer”. Needless to say: he’d replaced the editor who hired me and who’d long since been promoted. He, himself, was soon replaced!
Finally, I’d to thank all the many many people who’ve helped me along the way: gardeners and plantspeople, propagators and plant breeders, academics and field botanists - as well, of course, as friends, readers and other writers - who’ve generously shared their knowledge, wisdom, and experience over the years. Thank you for helping me ensure that my work has been as accurate and helpful as possible. It was up to me to make it all a good read.
• Please check out all the other winners at the 2021 Garden Media Guild Awards.
You’ll also find me regularly in Gardeners’ World magazine, Horticulture Week and The Plant Review, in many issues of Amateur Gardening magazine and Garden News, in the December 2021 issue of The Garden in the 9 December edition of the RHS Podcast - and elsewhere.
You can also check out my folk music radio show The Wagonload of Monkeys.
Videos will be in the next post.