Tuesday, 29 March 2011

RHS awards for American friends

An enjoyable day at the RHS show today was further enhanced by the surprise discovery that two American friends were getting awards. Kathryn Andersen, from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, was the 100th recipient of the Peter Barr Memorial Cup, awarded for meritorious work with daffodils. Kathy was Secretary of the American Daffodil Society for many years, and is also well known for her interests in lilies and clivias. I first got to know her when she and her husband Marvin (who was also in London) came on an Alpine Garden Society Tour I led to East Africa in 1997. I dragged them up Mt Kenya and Kilimanjaro, where they reached higher altitudes (4750 m, 14,480') than most of the group who were much younger than they. Not put off by this experience, they joined a tour to the Drakensberg in 2002. Indomitable is a word invented for Kathy: she came to London from Spain, where she had been seeking wild daffodils.

Harold Koopowitz is also known for his work with Clivia and

daffodils, as well as being a noted expert on Asian slipper-orchids (Paphiopedilum), received the Ralph B White Medal for breeding Narcissus 'Itsy Bitsy Splitsy'. This is is a dwarf split-corona daffodil that, it has to be said, is not at all to my taste - images and information are available at DaffSeek.Org It was good to have chance to catch up with Harold, seen here receiving his award from the President, Elizabeth Banks.

Numerous other eminent plantspeople were given awards, mostly for their exhibits at RHS shows over the past year, but some for long-standing contributions in their fields. For once it was an effective ceremony on the dais in the Lawrence Hall, giving them the public recognition deserved.

And yes, there were some nice plants there too...

Iris sari subsp. manissadjianii, shown in the AGS show by Joy Bishop

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