Gardening celebrities join anniversary event

Jim Buttress. Jean Griffin and Tom Hart Dyke. Picture by Brian Keating SUS-150311-164449001
Jim Buttress. Jean Griffin and Tom Hart Dyke. Picture by Brian Keating SUS-150311-164449001

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Horsham in Bloom, two celebrities from the gardening world were invited to meet local gardeners and plant enthusiasts in an evening of information and fun in the Capitol Theatre Studio in Horsham.

Jim Buttress has had many years of experience as a Britain In Bloom judge and as a judge in The Big Allotment Challenge. Jim remembered judging Horsham Town in the National Finals of Britain in Bloom.

Jim thrives in an outdoor environment; and is extremely knowledgeable about plants and growing. His dedication has seen him judging competitions all over the world and sharing his knowledge with the public is his greatest passion.

The other celebrity was Tom Hart Dyke creator of the World Garden Lullingstone Castle. Kent. A special garden based on Tom’s knowledge and experience of plants from around the world.

Jim had heard about this project whilst on a Horticultural visit to Bahrain and he went to visit Tom at Lullingstone. Tom had been working on plans to create the garden since his release from captivity in Colombia where he had been snatched by guerrillas when plant hunting in the forbidden area of the Darién Gap on the Panamanian and Colombian border.

Jim was very keen to offer support and advice. He was described in Toms book as a ‘horticultural angel’.

He advised Tom on some aspects of the construction of the World Garden and helped to select some of the plants. All of the seven continents are represented by plants from around the world.

The creation of the garden is now ‘a major tourist attraction and centre for plant enthusiasts’.

The Simply Gardening event was hosted by Jean Griffin of BBC Sussex, Surrey and Kent who managed to control the interaction and banter between the two panellists whose enthusiasm showed no bounds even though they were passing on sound gardening advice.

The HIB Chairman, Sue Brundish, ended the evening by thanking the three Gardeners on the stage and the audience for making the evening a resounding success.

Details of Tom Hart Dyke‘s World Garden can be found at

Report contributed by Liz Timmer, Horsham in Bloom. Picture by Brian Keating.