The Council comprises the President, Treasurer, 15 members (all of whom are elected by the RHS membership) and up to two co-opted members (appointed by Council).

All Council members are Trustees of the RHS and the Society’s Charter provides for the President and Treasurer to serve as officers of the Society. Both of these office holders are elected annually by the membership at the Annual General Meeting and serve on the Council of the RHS as trustees. The President also acts as the Chairman of Council.

President & Treasurer

Chairman: Sir Nicholas Bacon Bt, OBE, DLPresident: Sir Nicholas Bacon Bt, OBE, DL
(Treasurer 2008-13; elected as President at the AGM in 2013)

As RHS President, Sir Nicholas plays an active role in the governance of the RHS and is the Chairman of the Horticulture Board. He is also an ex-officio member of: the People and Remuneration Committee, Audit and Risk Committee, Investments Committee, Nominations, Appointments and Governance Committee and the Commercial Board.

Sir Nicholas owns and runs the Raveningham Estate in Norfolk; the family garden is open for 125 days a year and specialises in Galanthus and Agapanthus.

Sir Nicholas is Vice Chair of the Prince’s Council, Lord Warden of the Stannaries for the Duchy of Cornwall and Chairman of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association.

Treasurer: Matthew Lindsey-Clark

Treasurer: Matthew Lindsey-Clark
(Elected to Council in 2016; elected as Treasurer at the AGM in 2019)

Matthew is Chairman of the Commercial Board, Investments Committee and the People and Remuneration Committee. He is an ex-officio member of: Horticulture Board, Council KIPs Group, Audit and Risk Committee, Nominations, Appointments and Governance Committee and the Council Technology Group.

He is a Senior Managing Director in Evercore's European Financial Institutions Group based in London. He has more than 30 years' investment banking experience, specialising in advising financial services companies. He is also the Chief Operating Officer of Evercore’s European Advisory business.

Matthew takes great pleasure in gardens and gardening and has been a member of the RHS for many years.

Ordinary Members of Council

Member of Council: James Alexander-SinclairJames Alexander-Sinclair
(Elected to Council in 2011. Re-elected in 2016; to retire at the AGM in 2021)

James is a member of the Horticulture Board. He is also Chairman of: Gardens Committee and the RHS/Three Counties Agricultural Society Joint Committee. He is an RHS Judge and sits on the Shows Advisory Group.

He is a garden designer working all over the country and writes for several magazines, newspapers and websites. He lectures at garden shows and clubs and is occasionally let loose on television. James has recently taken on a new garden in Oxfordshire.

Member of Council: Professor Mick Crawley FRSProfessor Mick Crawley FRS
(Elected to Council in 2015; to retire at the AGM in 2020)

Mick is a member of the RHS Science Committee and Woody Plant Committee. He is Professor of Plant Ecology at Imperial College London and a member of the RHS since 1979. Mick is Chair of the Science Committee of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, Royal Society representative on the Advisory Committee of Chelsea Physic Garden, and has twice been a Trustee of Kew Gardens.

Mick’s horticultural specialities are trees and daffodils, and his research interests lie in the ecology of gardens: in the competitive relationships between crops and weeds, in the symbiotic effects of pollinators and mycorrhizal fungi, and in the relations between plants and their pests and diseases.

Member of Council: Nick DunnNick Dunn
(Elected to Council in 2019; to retire at the AGM in 2024)

Nick is a member of the Gardens Committee and Fruit, Vegetable and Herb Committee. He was Chairman of the Fruit, Vegetable and Herb Committee from 2014 to 2018 and sat on Horticulture Board during the same period.  

He has also been an RHS judge and contributed to RHS fruit trials. In 2018 he was presented the Society's highest award, the Victoria Medal of Honour.

Nick is a passionate fruit and ornamental tree nurseryman and runs a successful family horticultural business. His research in hardy nursery stock propagation for more than 40 years offers valuable practical experience to the RHS Council.

Member of Council: Sarah EberleSarah Eberle
(Elected to Council in 2018; to retire at the AGM in 2023)

Sarah is a member of the Horticulture Board and the Nominations, Appointments and Governance Committee. She has actively worked in the industry for 37 years on top of five years of full-time training. As a Garden Designer, Sarah has practical experience of projects both large and small and has a keen interest in plant health, engagement with young people and RHS Shows.

Member of Council: Dennis EspleyDennis Espley
(Elected to Council in 2011. Re-elected in 2016; to retire at the AGM in 2021)

Dennis is a member of the: Commercial Board, Horticulture Board, Nominations, Appointments and Governance Committee, People and Remuneration Committee, Investments Committee and Tender Ornamental Plant Committee. He is Chairman of the Awards Committee.

A past student at Pershore College, Dennis worked in horticulture for 40 years, 30 of which with Squire’s Garden Centres, where he became Managing Director. He is now non-executive chairman of the Horticulture Buying Group.

Dennis was Chairman of the UK Garden Centre Association in 2011, is Vice Chairman of Greenfingers, and is a member of The Worshipful Company of Gardeners.

Member of Council: Professor Peter GregoryProfessor Peter Gregory
(Elected to Council in 2010. Re-elected in 2015; to retire at the AGM in 2020)

Peter is a soil scientist by profession, with a particular interest in how plant roots interact with soils and obtain water and nutrients.

Sharing his knowledge in science, Peter is on a wide range of scientific advisory committees. He is Chairman of the Advisory Committee for Novel Foods and Process for the Food Standards Agency, and of the Recommended List Board for the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research, Germany and the Board of NIAB EMR.

Peter is a keen practical gardener who gets great pleasure from growing plants.

Member of Council: Kate LampardKate Lampard
(Elected to Council in 2018 having been co-opted from 2017–2018; to retire at the AGM in 2023)

Kate Lampard is a member of the People and Remuneration Committee. She is also Chair of the Responsible Gambling Trust, a trustee of the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and an established Verita associate.
She has served on our Nominations, Appointments and Governance Committee and sits on our Audit and Risk Committee. She was also Director of RHS Enterprises from 2008 to 2011.
Kate is experienced in a wide range of sectors having been chair of Kent and Medway and Southeast Strategic Health Authorities, vice chair of the Financial Ombudsman Service, chair of the Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody, and a non-executive of the Royal Horticultural Society.
Her high-profile projects include leading the NHS investigations into Jimmy Savile by quality assuring 34 independent investigations and producing an oversight report for the secretary of state for health. Earlier this year Serco published the report she produced alongside Verita’s managing partner following their review of the culture and treatment of detainees at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre.
Kate’s work with Verita covers governance, organisational and system management, board and director development, investigations into organisational culture and management and service delivery.

Member of Council: Neil Lucas MI Hort

Neil Lucas MI Hort
(Elected to Council in 2012. Re-elected in 2017; to retire at the AGM in 2022)

Neil is a member of: Horticulture Board and sits on the Shows Advisory Group and the Judging Review Group. He is also an RHS Judge.

He is a leading ornamental grass specialist, the owner of Dorset-based Knoll Gardens, an author and holder of 10 consecutive Gold medals at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. He is founder and trustee of the Knoll Gardens Foundation, a charity which aims to promote garden practices to create sustainable, wildlife-friendly and aesthetically pleasing gardens.

Known for his work with grasses, Neil published his first book in 2011, Designing with Grasses. He does, however, retain a deep interest in trees and shrubs, which is one of the reasons why he bought Knoll Gardens.

Member of Council: Lorna Parker

Lorna Parker
(Elected to Council in 2014; to retire at AGM 2019)

Lorna is Chairman of the Nominations, Appointments and Governance Committee and a member of the Remuneration Committee, the Commercial Board and the Investments Committee.

An RHS member since her mid-20s, Lorna has been a keen amateur hands-on gardener since this time and has developed and maintained a small Central London garden and a larger garden in southwest France.

Lorna’s career has been largely spent in top-level executive search with Spencer Stuart, advising the boards of companies, small and large, private and public, on organisation structure, succession, recruitment and governance. Since retiring from full-time work, she has gained experience as a non-executive director (of Indivior plc), trustee, school governor, FTSE 100 board effectiveness consultant and an active fundraiser. She is based at CVC Capital Partners, a leading private equity firm, where she is a senior advisor.

Member of Council: Mark PorterMark Porter
(Elected to Council in 2012. Re-elected in 2017; to retire at the AGM in 2022)

Mark is Chairman of the Audit and Risk Committee and the Council Technology Group and is a member of the Commercial Board. He is also one of the nominated Council members advising Community Outreach and Online. Following a long and successful career in IT, he acts as an external advisor to the RHS on IT projects.

Mark is the Hampshire County Organiser for the National Gardens Scheme. He has opened his own garden and vineyard under the scheme for the past eight years. He is Chairman of the Itchen Valley Garden Society, Hampshire and gives lectures on designing winter gardens, establishing vineyards and winemaking.

Mark has been a member of the RHS for many years. He developed a passion for gardening since he grew vegetables on his first allotment in the 1970s.

Member of Council: Dr David Rae OBE FRSEDr David Rae OBE FRSE
(Elected to Council in 2015; to retire at the AGM in 2020)

David is Chairman of the Science Committee and the Bursaries Committee, and a member of the Nominations, Appointments and Governance Committee, the Science Committee, the Horticulture Board and the Awards Committee. He is the Director of the Stanley Smith (UK) Horticultural Trust and Chairman of the Sibbald Trust. He sits on the Boards of: National Tropical Botanical Garden, Hawaii, St Andrews Botanic Garden and Mount Stuart Trust, Isle of Bute. He also sits on advisory committees for the University of Dundee Botanic Garden, Little Sparta Trust and Borde Hill.

He graduated with a BSc in Horticulture from the University of Bath in 1978 and joined the staff of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh as a lecturer, becoming Director of Horticulture and Learning 2000 – 2014.

David is a frequent conference speaker. He has undertaken fieldwork or projects in more than 20 countries and has published more than 50 papers. In 2008 he was awarded the Scottish Horticultural Medal and in 2014 elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and awarded an OBE.

Member of Council: Dr Sarah RavenDr Sarah Raven
(Elected to Council in 2016; to retire at the AGM in 2021)

Sarah has a degree in History and trained as a Doctor at the University of London. She has written numerous books including The Cutting Garden, The Bold and the Brilliant Garden, The Great Vegetable Plot and Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook which was named Cookery Book of the Year by the Guild of Food Writers in 2008.

In 2011, she published a book on Wild Flowers, which led to a BBC2 television series that she presented called Bees, Butterflies and Blooms, focusing on the national decline in pollinating insects and championing nectar-rich flowers as a way of saving them.

Sarah runs a cookery and gardening school at Perch Hill as well as a successful mail-order business in seeds and plants.

Member of Council: Jon Wheatley

Jon Wheatley
(Elected to Council in 2012. Re-elected in 2017; to retire at the AGM in 2022)

Jon is a member of: Horticultural Board, Education Committee, Tender Ornamental Plant Committee and Awards Committee.
He is committed to promoting gardening and UK horticulture in all its aspects and values.  As Chairman of RHS South West in Bloom, he leads a valued and expansive Community Horticultural initiative aimed at improving the Environment and Volunteering with more than 600 groups in the South West.  

Judging and showing are high on Jon’s list of interests and he has been involved in designing and building many successful exhibits at RHS Chelsea Flower Show and RHS shows over the years.

Jon’s career started in commercial horticulture and, after training at RHS Garden Wisley, focused on urban parks, landscape design and management. He now runs a nursery and landscape management company. Jon feels that horticulture really matters and is committed to RHS values and the involvement of the widest community, particularly children and young people in the industry.

Member of Council: Ruth WilmottRuth Willmott
(Elected to Council in 2019; to retire at the AGM in 2024)

Ruth has been a member of the Commercial Board since 2015. She studied Business Studies in Nottingham and a Masters in Management at Cambridge University before spending more than a decade in management consultancy. During this time she gained valuable skills relevant across a wide range of disciplines as well as serving as a non-exec director for a small charity.

In 2008 after careful consideration, Ruth left consulting and followed her passion for gardening and design to train with the English Gardening School. She set up her garden design business in 2010 and has exhibited four gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, winning an RHS Gold medal and has twice won the People’s Choice Award for Best Fresh Garden.

Ruth’s design portfolio covers residential, commercial and community spaces with extensive experience in managing small to very large-scale projects. In 2018 HRH The Duchess of Cambridge visited community projects Ruth and her practice colleagues designed for Westminster City Council and Sayers Croft forest school. These were ‘nature’ spaces created for inner-city school children and they have informed The Duchess of Cambridge's work on nature and the Early Years Agenda.

Member of Council: Lady (Xa) TollemacheLady (Xa) Tollemache
(Elected to Council in 2013. Re-elected in 2018; to retire at the AGM in 2023)

Xa is a member of: Horticulture Board, Gardens Committee and Herbaceous Plant Committee. She is an RHS Judge and Garden Advisor for RHS Garden Hyde Hall.

Xa set up her own garden design business in 1996 and won a Gold Medal at Chelsea in 1997 for the Evening Standard garden and Silver Gilt medals in 2001 and 2003.

She lectures on garden design at institutes around the world where she can share her passion with the next generation of gardeners and horticulturists.

RHS Membership

I enjoy a refreshing walk… my membership gives me free family days out as often as I like.

Mrs Giddings, RHS member

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.