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AGS Award Winners 2019

November 21, 2019
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At our Annual General Meeting we present a number of awards to members who have contributed significantly to the Society or the world of alpine plants. Here are the 2019 recipients.

The Kath Dryden Award

Recipient: Ian Robertson

Ian has a long history of conjuring up showstopping plants throughout the Cyclamen flowering season, from July (his Farrer Medal-winning C. purpurascens at the 2011 AGS Summer Show Mid-West remains unsurpassed), through autumn (a veteran C. maritimum is both older and more floriferous than any other example extant) and on to spring, beginning with C. alpinum (astonishingly, he has coaxed up to 300 flowers from one exemplar). Concluding at the mid-April AGS Midland Show, this year winning the large six-pan class with an entry including excellent plants of C. repandum, C. rhodium and C. pseudibericum. 

He has encountered many Cyclamen in their Mediterranean/Turkish locales, having travelled widely in these regions.

The Ferrier Charlton Award

Recipients: Jim & Christine McGregor

Jim and Christine have developed and managed the computerisation of the Society’s various activities. Together, their effort now stretches over three decades and several incarnations of the website and membership database.

Although Christine is a member of staff, she has put in a tremendous number of additional hours as a volunteer to ensure the smooth running of all aspects of the Society’s activities. This award is to recognise her voluntary contribution alongside that of Jim’s. The importance of this work cannot be overstated: an attractive and easy-to-navigate website is vital as the Society’s shop window and first point of contact for many potential members. Christine and Jim have both been heavily involved in the painstaking process of developing the new website and the herculean effort involved in managing changes and integrating the new site with parts of the old.

The Sir William & Lady Lawrence Award

Recipient: Kit Strange

Kit studied at Capel Manor College and RHS Wisley. This provided a firm foundation for her tenure as botanical horticulturist starting in September 2001 in the Alpine Department at RBG Kew. Here, she came under the tutelage of Tony Hall and since his semi-retirement has taken over responsibility for the curation of the renowned juno Iris collection. This she has consolidated though she spends just as much time on the study and pollination of the taxa.

She has travelled to eastern Turkey, Armenia and Central Asia to study the subgenus and related Oncocyclus species, taking superb photographs of these and associated plants.

Kit has a great flair for practical demonstration. Her display skills are second to none, whether at Kew’s Davies Alpine House or at RHS Shows, where she is a mainstay of the Jacques Amand International Ltd. Gold Medal-winning exhibits. She is also Show Secretary for the AGS Early Spring Show.

Website Award

Recipient: Harry Jans

Harry has contributed more than 7,000 images of plants photographed in the wild for use in the AGS digital image library and encyclopaedia. These images were taken in many different countries and cover a huge range of alpine genera. Harry’s images constitute a tremendous resource and greatly enhance the AGS website.

Local Group Award

Recipients: John & Brenda Foster

John & Brenda have invested a tremendous amount of work and care into running the East Anglia AGS Show, doing so in a professional but friendly way. They have been unstinting in their work in their local group, presenting the public face of the AGS in East Anglia and encouraging other members to get involved and help in making the show a success.

Award of Honour

Recipient: Peter Cunnington

Peter has been active across many levels of the AGS for a long period of time. He has been Secretary of the Wirral and West Cheshire Group for 15 years. During this time, he has been the driving force behind the group’s success. Peter has organised an annual programme of speakers and co-ordinated local plant shows and fairs, garden visits, promotional stands and other activities. Membership of the group now stands at more than 60.

His infectious enthusiasm has encouraged expert growers and novices alike. At the forefront of this has been his drive to promote the role of the AGS as the parent body, encouraging main Society membership among the group and at open events. Nationally, he has been an AGS judge, served on the Trustee Board and various committees, taken part in AGS expeditions (including Sikkim 1983 and ACE 1994), led a number of our tours and lectured to local groups.

Lyttel Trophy

Recipients: Martin & Anna-Liisa Sheader

The Lyttel Trophy is the Society’s highest honour. The recipient is kept top secret and is announced at the AGM. This year, we are delighted to award it to Martin & Anna Sheader.

Martin and Anna have built up a considerable expertise in the cultivation and study of alpine plants over the last 40 years. They have focused in particular on the flora of mostly montane, dryland Andean habitats, from Chile and Argentina to the Patagonian steppe and more recently, Peru.

Among their skills includes inventive hybridisation. Martin also gives regular lectures, including at international conferences. He is also co-author of the AGS publication Flowers of the Patagonian MountainsAnna’s research has been indispensable in supporting this work. They have written frequent, informative articles for the AGS journal, act as judges at our shows and are seasoned tour leaders. Their exceptional photography of wild flora is both inspiring and educational.

While Andean plants have been their focus, Martin & Anna have grown a range of other alpines to high standards, from Rhinopetalum fritillarias to South African Hermannia and Aptosimum procumbens. With such far-reaching efforts and activities, they have been instrumental in generating enthusiasm for alpine plants.

Unfortunately, Martin and Anna couldn’t attend this year’s conference as originally planned. They were, however, delighted when we informed them they had received this honour.

Literary Awards

These awards are given to outstanding articles published in the AGS journal.

The Clarence Elliott Memorial Award

Recipient: Kok van Herk and Kees Jan van Zwienen

Article: Discovering the orchids of Patagonia (September 2018)

The Lionel & Joyce Bacon Award

Recipient: Büsra Darama KaÇar

Article: Rebuilding a pioneering crevice garden in Turkey (June 2018)

The Christopher Grey-Wilson Award

Recipient: Liz Knowles

Article: Floral treasures in an El Niño year (December 2018)