The man behind the annual beautiful blooming of crocuses in Halifax’s Savile Park has passed away at the age of 84."
Any Other Topics: Brian Halliwell
Started by: Doreen MearGo to latest contribution by Margaret Young, 08 April 2014, 22:23. Go to bottom of this page.
Many plantspeople in New Zealand are sorry to learn of the passing last month of Brian Halliwell at the age of 84 as he spent three years in New Zealand in the early 1960s as propagator in the horticultural section at Lincoln College, Canterbury. During that time he was a stalwart supporter of the Canterbury Alpine Garden Society (which was later to become the New Zealand Alpine Garden Society), lecturing, writing many articles for its Bulletin and in 1963 establishing the Society’s seed exchange. The Society expressed its appreciation of his efforts by awarding him Life Membership.
When Brian returned to the UK, he became not only a mainstay of the national Alpine Garden Society, lecturing, writing and judging at shows, but also his local West Yorkshire Group which I joined in the 1980s. A typical bluff Yorkshireman, he called a spade a spade, and we novices trembled if he came to critique our plant or our attempts at a piece of writing for the local newsletter which he edited. On the other hand you knew that a rare compliment from him was really worth something.
His interest in New Zealand and Australasian plants continued for the rest of his life, and he made several return visits here. He keenly followed the development of our Society, taking the time to write a long letter of congratulation on its reaching its 50th birthday in 2010. We owe a great debt of thanks to Brian and extend our sympathy to his family in their loss.
Many thanks for your tribute to Brian, Doreen. As you say he was a real character at the shows; at the West Yorkshire local group and at our own East Lancashire local group when he visited us to present some of his fascinating lectures. He inspired me to try to grow more Southern Hemisphere species, imparting his knowledge and experience as we wandered between the show benches together. He could be irascible and kindly in a single sentence, but totally unique. We have missed his presence at the shows in recent years, but memories of dear Brian will linger long.
Thanks once again for raising this tribute (all the way from New Zealand) on the site of the Society that gained so much from this lovely man. Such a shame that it has taken so many days after his passing for anything to appear on these pages.
The following appeared on the forum of the SRGC on 1st April:-
Brian Halliwell, the well-known plantsman, author and plant hunter passed away on 22nd March 2014.
The announcement, published in the Halifax Courier on 28th March 2014 reads:
BRIAN HALLIWELL : On 22nd March 2014, Brian aged 84 years passed away peacefully at Overgate Hospice.
He will be sadly missed by friends and family. Brian's career involved a world wide travel in his search for wild plants, particularly alpines which Brian was a highly respected expert. He met many interesting people who have remained loyal friends. The Funeral Service will be held at St Jude's Church, Savile park, Halifax on Monday 7th April at 10.00am. Followed by committal at Park Wood Crematorium, Elland. Family flowers only please, but donations if so desired to Overgate Hospice c/o Lawrence Funeral Service, Bell Hall, Halifax. Tel 354094.
Already respects have been paid to the newspaper site by former students of Brian's at Kew.
I have posted this message to the site:
The world of plants is saddened by the news of Brian's death- those of us in the Scottish Rock Garden Club held him in great esteem.
His knowledge was shared by his teaching and his books and this will be his legacy to us all.
Our condolences to all his family.
SRGC Hon. Vice President
After all the support that Brian gave to the Society in its early years, we couldn't let his passing go unacknowledged. Even though his stay here was a long time ago and he outlived a good many of the friends he made, we have a lot to thank him for.
From the Halifax Courier on 6th April - a tribute to Brian Halliwell -
"Savile Park’s crocus creator and Kew Royal Botanic Gardens curator, dies aged 84 -
The article can be seen here: