Britain in Bloom judging is happening over the next 2 weeks with the judges working in teams of 2 and visiting the 76 finalists. So let’s meet the teams!
Roger Burnett (Chairman)
Roger has been involved in the various Regional and National “In Bloom” campaigns for a number of years and is now in his forth year as chairman of the National judges panel leading a small but dedicated team of Horticulture and Community experts from around the Country judging the best of the best in the National Finals of RHS Britain in Bloom.
In his day job he is the Community Environment Officer for Scarborough Borough Council heading up a small team working with community groups to develop volunteer opportunities along the east coast of Yorkshire.
He began his horticultural career as an apprentice working in the Council Nurseries at Scarborough before attending Askham Bryan College in York and has held various posts within the Authority since. Roger is a Yorkshire in Bloom judge Green Flag Judge and a Fellow of the Institute of Horticulture.
In his previous post as Head of Scarborough Parks and Countryside Unit he led the team to gain four consecutive gold medals at Tatton Park Flower show and has helped his local in Bloom group achieve two Gold medals and a Silver Gilt in the National Britain in Bloom Finals.
He is a great advocate of the importance of community horticulture in helping to maintain public spaces to a high standard enjoyed by all, and works hard to empower Bloom and Friends groups to take on the upkeep of their own environment, working in partnership with the local Authority.
OTHER: Roger’s favourite flowers are old fashioned bedding geraniums from the Victorian era. He is a big Country Music fan. His interest in horticulture started as a child (he grew up on a farm) – he was fascinated by the idea you can take a small part of a plant and grow another plant from it. His wonderment never ceased and he was further inspired when he realized you could sell what you grew! Roger is an avid collector of vintage lawnmowers and has over 1000!
When judging in a park in Aberdeen, Roger and a fellow judge were in a horse-drawn carriage. Suddenly the horse bolted. Mothers with prams, kids, dogs etc. leapt out the way as the carriage hurtled through the park at a horrifying speed.
Nigel has recently retired having spent his horticultural career, working mainly in the public sector, but started his profession as an apprentice gardener for the late Princess Mary at Harewood House in Yorkshire. He trained at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and the then Institute of Park and Recreation Administration.
For the last twenty years Nigel was Head of Parks for Warwick District Council managing the parks and public open space including bereavement services in the three main towns of Royal Leamington Spa, Kenilworth and Warwick. The council received a 3* rating in the Best Value Review for Outdoor Recreation by the Audit Commission the best authority, in the country at the time.
A major achievement for him was the £4.3 million restoration and renewal of the famous ‘Jephson Garden’ a Grade ll listed garden with Heritage Lottery Money. This included a new contemporary sub-tropical glasshouse a restaurant and teaching studio, to extend the horticultural excellence of the garden and introduce facilities for horticultural education. This received the ‘Best Park in Britain’ Award from the RHS in 2004.
Nigel has been a major player in the Britain in Bloom competition for many years and been chairman of two bloom committees.
Nigel is a well known national horticultural judge and Vice 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.
OTHER: Nigel is a big alpine fan but doesn’t have a favourite – he appreciates all plants, in the right location. He is a fitness-fanatic and gym-goer who lectures and talks all over the world. He loves travelling and has been to China, Spain, America and most recently – Italy. Nigel also sings in a silver band!