The Society showed off from 9 to 18 May with a wonderful exhibition, Botanical Garden, in the newly refurbished gallery area at Westminster Central Hall. It was slightly later in the year than usual when London was full of the joys of spring and the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show followed soon after.
The theme of ‘Botanical Garden’ was very broad, encompassing the world’s gardens: tropical or hothouses, orchards, wetlands, wastelands, vegetables, herbaceous borders, the arboretum, rose gardens, hanging gardens, alpine slopes, desert plants, from oceans to ponds, wild flowers, prairies and grasslands, rock gardens, woods and forests, to name a few. It was a chance for artists to portray, and visitors to understand, the many sites where different plants can be seen.
At the official opening Dr Nigel Dunnett, who was responsible for planting the Olympic gardens in 2012, told visitors that it was very gratifying that the London Olympics had become remembered not for the buildings but for the wonderful planting. He urged visitors to read the signage beside the pictures because he had learned a lot in a very short time. Artists had submitted their own research which was enlightening and often personal.
As part of the educational requirement of the Society’s charitable status, just over 650 works were shown, including miniatures and three-dimensional work. Members demonstrated their various media and techniques daily. A selection of work by students from both the UK and worldwide participating in the Distance Learning Diploma Course, now in its 11th successful year, was shown. Four members conducted their ‘top ten’ tours, explaining why they had chosen the ten works in the show which most appealed to them. Entry to the exhibition was free although visitors can still purchase a beautifully illustrated catalogue as a guide. All work was for sale with the addition of top quality greetings cards, limited edition prints, members’ books. New for this year were mugs and tea towels featuring the exhibition image kindly donated by Angeline de Meester SBA and Botanical Beginnings, a selection of 30 coloured pencils as a starter kit especially chosen by Susan Christopher-Coulson VPSBA.
Awards at Botanical Garden 2014
- The President’s Award for work in other media
Cash prize for work in media other than watercolour
Winner: Jacqueline Allwood SBA for Book of Judges (acid-etched and engraved glass panels).
- The Joyce Cuming Presentation Award
A legacy from Joyce Cuming – a sterling silver Almoner’s plate. The winner receives a certificate.
Winner: Sue Wickison SBA for Arisaema proboscideum.
Susan Dalton SBA for Carpinus betulus;
Margaret Eccles AssocSBA for Black Tulip;
Gillian Martin DipSBA(Dist) for Nelumbo nucifera;
Kate Nuttall DipSBA(Dist) SBA for Banksia menziesii;
Mary O’Neil for Pelargonium sp. Cumbanita series;
Christiana Webb for Castanea sativa;
Julie Small SBA for Sarracenia purpurea;
and Claire Kathleen Ward DipSBA(Dist) SBA for A Year in a Welsh Oak Wood of the Rheidol Valley.
- The Margaret Granger Memorial Silver Bowl
In memory of Margaret for the best picture by a member elected in the last two years.
Winner: Sarah Wood DipSBA(Dist) SBA for the body of work
- Great Art Award
For an outstanding exhibit. The winner chooses £500.00 of materials from the Great Art catalogue
Winner: Amber Halsall SBA for the body of work
- Derwent Award
For an outstanding work in a pencil medium. The winner receives chooses £200.00 of materials from the Derwent catalogue
Winner: Elizabeth M H Coventry for the body of work
- St Cuthberts Mill Award
The St Cuthberts Mill Award of paper for good use of watercolour paper
Winner: Victoria Braithwaite AssocSBA for the body of work
- Suzanne Lucas Memorial Award
In memory of Founder President Suzanne Lucas
Winner: Billy Showell SBA for the body of work
- Certificates of Botanical Merit
Selected by independent judge Dr. Brent Elliott.
Norma Gregory SBA for Sprouting Potato;
Alena Lang Phillips DipSBA Lophophora diffusa var. koehresii;
Angela Martin DipSBA(Dist) for Primula vulgaris;
Sarah Morrish for A View Inside: Echinacea purpurea;
Janet Pope DipSBA(Dist) SBA for Crocus ‘Romance’;
Akiko Sato AssocSBA for Japanese Ginseng;
Chris Taylor DipSBA(Dist) for Scots Pine;
Sue Wickison SBA for Tacca chantrieri seed;
Susan Christopher-Coulson SBA for Magnolia Seed-heads
- The People’s Choice
An anonymous donation of £100 for the favourite picture in the exhibition as voted for by visitors
Winner: Billy Showell SBA for South Facing Wall