The Prince Edward Award for Excellence in Horticultural Career Development is intended to highlight real excellence in the field of horticulture. It focuses largely, but not exclusively, on Horticultural Education and Career Development in the widest sense and is given to an individual who through their outstanding influence on the art, craft and science of horticulture has inspired others to enter, study, progress and develop their careers in the field.
His Royal Highness Prince Edward (HRH the Duke of Edinburgh) agreed that each year a carefully researched candidate would be presented to him, with supporting rationale, to be considered for this prestigious award. Generally such candidates will be individuals or enterprises which offer innovative and effective ways of motivating people to take up horticulture as a career. They will facilitate the advancement of individuals in their chosen horticulture fields, provide excellence in career development or simply be seen as inspirational.
2023 – Tony Kirkham MBE VMH. Throughout his long career in the profession Tony Kirkham inspired generations of horticulturists sharing his unrivalled knowledge and expertise in all matters to do with trees. Recently retired as Head of Arboretum, Gardens and Horticultural Services at RBG Kew, where he had enjoyed a 43 year career, his work and influence continues in a range of professional and voluntary roles.
2022 – Award held over in aftermath of Covid pandemic.
2021 – Roy Lancaster CBE VMH. Broadcaster, journalist, author and lecturer whose career took him from his native Lancashire to the Harold Hillier Arboretum to a regular slot on TV and Radio programmes and extensive books and articles. His range of knowledge of garden plants is unmatched, and perhaps will never be matched; but most of all, he has communicated and shared his knowledge of plants, their variety, their cultivation, their wonder and the joy they bring, to gardeners, in particular those in or training for a career in the profession.
2020 - Lord (Michael) Heseltine, politician, businessman, garden owner and publisher of Horticulture Week. Known for his political career holding high office in the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major during which he pioneered garden festivals. Lord Heseltine created a 70-acre arboretum with more than 4,000 different types of trees and shrubs at Thenford in Northamptonshire with more than 500 named varieties of snowdrops, using satellite technology for recording. As founder of the publishing house Haymarket, the industry’s leading trade magazine Horticulture Week thrived under his support.
2019 - Peter Seabrook MBE VMH, horticulturist, broadcaster and journalist. As gardening editor for the Sun Newspaper for over 40 years, broadcaster for BBC radio and television in the UK and PBS in the United States, and through his books, he has reached millions, and especially has encouraged children to get involved with gardening.2018 - David Domoney, English celebrity gardener and broadcaster, best known for co-presenting Love Your Garden and for being a resident gardening expert on ITV's This Morning. David also writes weekly for the national Sunday newspaper, the Sunday Mirror and for every issue of Grow Your Own magazine. He founded the Young Gardeners of the Year competition (in association with the Prince’s Foundation) and has designed many show gardens. Through these activities he has brought horticulture to the attention of millions.
2017 - Millennium Seed Bank Project, coordinated by Kew Botanic Gardens. This institution of horticultural excellence, opened in 2000 and located in Wakehurst, West Sussex, is an international conservation project which aims to save plants world-wide with an emphasis on those most at risk and most useful for the future. When it started the aim was to store seeds from all the UK’s native plant species, which had (2017) been achieved with a few exceptions. Britain is the first country to have harvested and preserved its botanical heritage.
2016 - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the multi-award-winning writer and broadcaster widely known for his uncompromising commitment to seasonal, ethically produced food. Through his River Cottage TV series and books, as well as many campaigns, he has inspired and informed people on the relationship of good cultivation to wellbeing.
2015 - Raymond Blanc, the driving force behind the development of the world-renowned restaurant “Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons” in Oxfordshire, who dedicated huge resources to the development of natural and organic gardens there, training budding growers and chefs which provides stimulation, excitement and a different vision for many who might never consider this route to horticulture.
2014 - Jody Scheckter, (former Formula 1 World Champion) and his wife Claire of Laverstoke Park, Hampshire. They created a farming, vegetable, fruit and food production centre that focuses on natural growth and a connection with the environment in order to produce a sustainable model of horticultural production, and have brought education to thousands of youngsters though the educational centre in the park.