The Gardeners’ Company has links with many horticultural organisations. But it was noted in 2015 that there was no affiliation with any branch of the Armed Forces, as happens with the majority of City Livery Companies.
It was suggested that The Commonwealth War Graves Commission would be an ideal partner in recognition of the shared horticultural heritage.
The Commission, one of the world’s largest and most recognised horticultural organisations, employs more than 850 gardeners worldwide, with many subcontractors. Its eternal remit is to care for the graves and memorials of the 1.7 million Commonwealth men and women who died in the two World Wars. There are 23,000 locations in 150 countries. In the UK alone, there are over 13,000.
To this end, in 2019 The Gardeners’ Company and The Commission launched a new Award, The UK Award for Horticultural Innovation to be awarded to one member of The Commission’s UK staff each year.
The Award recognises staff who have applied their knowledge and craft skills to bring a practical and innovative solution to horticultural operation.
To date, four Awards have been made to CWGC employees: Richard Bailey, SW England; Richard Lockwood, East Region; Jonathan Reeve, East Region; and Robert Thomson, Brookwood Surrey. Below is a photo of Robert Thomson after receiving his award in 2023 and standing with the Master of the Gardeners’ Company.
David Richardson, Liveryman, is the Horticultural Director of The Commonwealth War Graves Commission. We are grateful for his support and guidance in establishing this joint Award.
In past years The Commission has also provided a study placement for a horticulturist nominated by The Gardeners.