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!
Jeff Bates (Co Vice Chairman)
Jeff’s career in horticulture began in 1970 as an apprentice gardener in the Royal Gardens at Windsor Castle and in the Savill and Valley Gardens in Windsor Great Park, training at the Berkshire College of Agriculture and Askham Bryan College before working in landscape design and construction in Yorkshire and then a period of over twenty years as a senior lecturer in horticulture in Derbyshire. For the past twenty years he has been a judge for East Midlands in Bloom, and is also currently chairman of EMiB. He holds the RHS Master of Horticulture qualification.
He is a freelance lecturer, consultant and examiner in horticulture, a busy garden designer, and has a particular interest in historic gardens.
OTHER: Jeff’s garden is full of fruit and veg and the standout feature is an ‘avalanche of Tulameen raspberries, Pax gooseberries.’
A big music fan, Jeff loves late 1960’s and early 1970’s blues / rock (like Jimi Hendrix), he also likes Vaughan Williams, Elgar and has a particular fondness for Scandinavian music like Grieg and Sibelius.
His interest in gardening stemmed from collecting cacti at 4 years old. He is a Stoke City season-ticket and has been a supporter since 1960.
Martyn began his horticultural career as a school leaver on the local parks department in his native East Midlands. After attending Askham Bryan College near York, he worked at Borde Hill Gardens in Sussex and Levens Hall in Cumbria. He finally returned to Sussex to work as Head Gardener at The High Beeches for eleven years.
For the past nine years he has been self-employed working for the individuals on private gardens. In his spare time he gives talks to local groups following two plant-collecting trips to China and New Zealand.
Since 1996 he has been writing a weekly gardening column for his local paper. Martyn first got involved in the ‘In Bloom’ campaign as a local judge for Crawley, and has more recently helped steer the town to success both at regional and national level. Since 2002 he has judged at regional level for South and South East in Bloom.
OTHER: Martyn has a great love of Rhodedenrum from China and the Himalayas. His garden is full of Chinese plants like ginger lilies and primulas. Martyn loves to travel and meet new people and has been to Easter Island, Cuba, New Zealand and went on a seed-picking tour of China.
His most memorable moment on tour was during a judging trip in Cardiff Bay – there was an enormous dog-turd right in the middle of a display! On the same tour – his minibus vanished!