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

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.


Chairman: 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: 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: Sandy Muirhead
(Re-elected to Council 2009; elected as Treasurer at the AGM in 2013)

Sandy is Chairman of: the Remuneration Committee and the Commercial Board. He is an ex-officio member of: Horticulture Board, Investments Committee, Audit and Risk Committee and Nominations, Appointments and Governance Committee.

In his professional career, Sandy qualified as a chartered accountant and is a founder partner of a leading private equity firm, Phoenix, which provides capital to support the growth and development of medium-sized UK companies. Sandy is passionate about gardening and, with his wife, has spent more than 20 years creating a nine-acre garden from scratch.


Ordinary Members of Council

James Alexander-Sinclair
(Re-elected to Council in 2016; to retire at the AGM in 2021)

James is a member of the Horticulture Board. He is also Chairman of: Gardens Committee, Herbaceous Plant Committee and RHS/Three Counties Agricultural Society Joint Committee. He is an RHS Judge.

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 Oxforshire.

Christopher Blundell
(Re-elected to Council in 2014; to retire at the AGM in 2019)

Christopher is a member of: Commercial Board and Gardens.

He is a strong supporter of RHS Garden Harlow Carr and has been appointed Garden Advisor. He has considerable knowledge and experience both of marketing and fundraising, which he shares to support the Society’s education programme.

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

Mick is a member of the RHS Science 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.

Mark Fane
(Re-elected to Council in 2014; to retire at the AGM in 2019)

Mark is Chairman of the Investments Committee and a member of the Commercial Board. He is also an RHS Judge.

Using his extensive knowledge in commercial growing and retailing, Mark helped establish, which is now the UK’s leading gardening internet business. He has built 17 show gardens at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show; 14 received Gold medals and six won Best in Show awards.

Dennis Espley
(Re-elected to Council 2016; to retire at the AGM in 2021)

Dennis is a member of: Commercial Board, Horticulture Board, Nominations, Appointments and Governance Committee, Remuneration 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 and non-executive Director of Clifton Nurseries.

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.

Professor Peter Gregory
(Re-elected to Council in 2015; to retire at the AGM in 2020)

Peter is Chairman of the Science Committee and a member of the Horticulture Board.

He is a soil scientist by profession, with 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: Advisory Committee for Novel Foods and Process for the Food Standards Agency, Recommended List Board for the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and a member of the Council of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture.

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

Dame Mary Keegan
(Elected to Council 2016; will retire at the AGM in 2021)

Mary has been a member of the Audit and Risk Committee since 2009, and is now its Chairman.

A Chartered Accountant, her career was spent providing a range of accounting, governance and financial risk management advice to larger companies and latterly in central government.

Since retiring from full-time work, she has been a university governor and a non-executive director (currently of the Met Office).

A member of the RHS for more than 20 years, she is a keen amateur gardener, now in East Devon.

Matthew Lindsey-Clark
(Elected to Council 2016; will retire at the AGM in 2021)

Matthew has been a member of the Commercial Board since 2014 and is now also a member of the Audit and Risk Committee.

Matthew is a Senior Managing Director in Evercore's European Financial Institutions Group based in London.

He has more than 25 years' investment banking experience, and has specialised in advising financial services companies since 1995.

He has advised on a wide range of M&A and capital markets transactions across a number of sectors within the wider financial services market, including banking, finance companies, property and casualty insurance and reinsurance, insurance broking and asset management.

Neil Lucas MI Hort
(Elected to Council 2012; to retire at the AGM in 2017)

Neil is a member of: Nominations, Appointments and Governance Committee, Audit and Risk Committee and Horticulture Board. 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.

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

Lorna is Chairman of the Nominations, Appointments and Governance Committee and a member of the Remuneration 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, advising the boards of companies, small and large, private and public, on organisation structure, succession, recruitment and governance. Since retiring, she has gained experience as a non-executive director, trustee, school governor and active fundraiser.

Mark Porter
(Elected to Council 2012; to retire at the AGM in 2017)

Mark is a member of: Commercial Board, Audit and Risk Committee and Fruit, Vegetable and Herb Committee. 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.

Dr. David Rae OBE FRSE
(Elected to Council in 2015; to retire at the AGM in 2020)

David is Chairman of the Bursaries Committee, and a member of the Nominations, Appointments and Governance Committee, the Science Committee and the Awards Committee. He is the Director of the Stanley Smith (UK) Horticultural 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 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.

Dr Sarah Raven
(Elected to Council 2016; will 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.

Jon Wheatley
(Elected to Council 2012; will retire at the AGM in 2017)

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 is 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.

Lady (Xa) Tollemache
(Elected to Council 2013; to retire at AGM 2018)

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.

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