National Judges’ Profiles

Judges’ Biographies

 Meet the two National Judges who will be arriving in Exeter on Sunday 31 July and judging the City/University Entry on Monday 1 August.

 We know everyone will make them feel very welcome to our lovely City.

Nigel Bishop Nigel Bishop

“My favourite plant….

I have no strong favourite, although spring is always the best time of year for me. Plants that highlight spring is on its way and that the cold winter is behind us are a plus. The simple snowdrop (Galanthus) and snowflake (Leucojum) fulfil that role, with their many different and interesting varieties.

 Colour combinations that keep me awake at night….

Experimenting with colour is always a good thing, although what suits one person may not another – there are some combinations that I would never use again!”

Nigel has spent the majority of his horticultural career working within the public sector, but began as an apprentice gardener for the late Princess Royal at Harewood House in Yorkshire. He trained at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and then the Institute of Park and Recreation Administration.

Nigel retired in 2009, finishing 20 years as Head of Parks for Warwick District Council (WDC). During his time with WDC he notes his major achievement as being the £4.3million restoration of the Grade II listed Jephson Gardens in Royal Leamington Spa, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The park’s renewal included the addition of a contemporary sub-tropical glasshouse, a restaurant and a teaching studio. The park was awarded Best Park in Britain by RHS Britain in Bloom in 2004.

Nigel has been involved with Britain in Bloom for many years in both professional and personal capacities, serving as Chairman of two Bloom committees.

He is currently a National Horticultural Trade Judge and Chairman of the Guild of Horticultural Trade and Display Judges. He is also Horticultural Advisor to the Shropshire Horticultural Society and the Shrewsbury Flower Show.

This year Nigel received Associate of Honour from the RHS in recognition of his distinguished service to horticulture, an award that he has greatly appreciated.

In his free time he enjoys growing vegetables and soft fruit in his garden, this year his challenges are finding something more inventive to do with the inevitable glut of courgettes and finally getting a successful crop of spring onions!

Brendan MowforthBrendan Mowforth  

My Favourite plant…..

This changes according to the season but I do like winter-flowering trees and shrubs.

I’d like to meet…..        

David Douglas, the plant collector who introduced the Douglas fir amongst many other plants new to the country in the early 1800’s

Brendan started his horticultural career at the Royal Gardens Windsor and Windsor Great Park. This was followed with a period of time at Lancashire College of Agriculture, before completing a Diploma course at Royal Botanical Gardens Kew.

He then started work for a local authority in West Yorkshire, holding a range of posts all connected to parks and the wider environment. During this time he oversaw the restoration of three major parks as well as being involved in the restoration of a canal.

Before retirement he was head of service, for a number of service areas, including parks, countryside and street cleaning. During this time he also instigated the use of perennial planting to replace some areas of traditional bedding.

His involvement with Bloom included working with colleagues to help a large number of groups that entered Yorkshire and Britain in Bloom.  He is currently Chairman of Yorkshire in Bloom, having been a judge and member of the executive board.

Current occupations include looking after his garden in the Pennines, a range of voluntary work for the charity Perennial, and acting as a member of the RHS Bursaries Committee and a trustee of the Kew Guild. He also assists his local civic society with essential tasks, such as litter picking.