Kewite E-Mail, June 2019

Dear Kewites and Friends, Although it may not be too evident that your Guild has changed very much in the last year there has been much behind the scenes activity from the Trustees. In my last newsletter I mentioned that we are almost in place with the final CIO changeover. Next month will see that process complete and I will inform you when this has happed. The Trustees have now met five times since the last AGM and we have established a much more streamlined process in the way that we deal with the Guild matters – all carried out with good diligence, professionalism and in some cases a sense a sense of humour! The services of our Charity Lawyer have also been retained to provide us with the last few bits of charity law advice and which has helped us enormously.

Awards and Grants

We are proposing a new grant award to schools which we will trialling shortly this year once we have the details in place. This ties in very much with the current educational work of the RHS and is a fine example of the way that the Guild is extending its charitable activities in line with our new constitution. Just to remind us all the new constitution makes specific reference to “The encouragement and advancement of horticulture and botanical education for the benefit of the public, in particular at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, including (without limitation) by the provision of awards, prizes and grants to schools and students”. Tony Overland has agreed to pursue this new initiative on our behalf with the help of a sub-committee.

Under the direction of Chris Kidd, the Award Scheme committee have awarded a total of £13,012 to eight successful applications. One of these awards will be reapplied for in July. In another initiative we are also working with our new Honorary Fellow Mike Fitt in the possibility of involvement with a new horticultural masterclass award – so watch this space.


The website has benefited from a recent makeover by our hard-worked editor Sparkle Ward assisted by Richard Ward and our new archivist Janette Ames, so please try out the improved user-friendly website. Any comments on the content of the web site or your experiences in accessing the site would be gratefully received by the Trustees. Please email Sara or me direct with any comments.

Kew Diploma Students

We have a good relationship with the first-year students and Jean Griffin continues to provide invaluable support for the students at the Kew Mutual Society events. We are working towards a closer relationship with the School of Horticulture and my own involvement as external examiner will assist this process. As your President I have been invited to attend the Directors lunch at the Diploma students’ presentation in September.


The membership for 2019 is a total of 372 members and of these 54 are Kew Students.

We are now seeing new applications for membership from outside of Kew and this is encouraging.

The Trustees are assessing these applications very carefully to ensure that the aims and objectives of the Guild are maintained to the highest standards in line with our constitution. To assist in this matter, we have completely reworked the application form, and this will soon be uploaded to the website. Our acting membership secretary Sara Arnold will also be happy to email you a copy. Once again, I can confirm that the membership fees remain fixed for 2019 and for your peace of mind and to comply with current legislation I can also confirm that we have a Privacy Policy in place.

Events 2019

Our events programme continues apace and to date we have held very successful events.

In April we visited the Rockcliffe and Highgrove gardens in April where we were shown around by the Highgrove head gardener Debs Goodenough and the Rockcliffe owner, Emma Keswick. We were privileged to have a behind the scenes tour of Highgrove.

Hertfordshire Gardens in June. A superb weekend organized by Bob Ivison where we had three wonderful gardens and estates to view with a well-attended dinner.

And not forgetting… the visit to Buckingham Palace Royal Garden Party in May, attended by your President, Jean Griffith, Allan Hart and our treasurer Linda Baharier. A joyous assemblage of hats!

In May we held our very successful Annual Dinner. A full report and photos of the event have been compiled by vice president Graham Heywood and this can be seen on the website. The meal was magnificently organised by Tony Overland. Past president Jean Griffin, with great aplomb, was our ‘Mistress of Events’. Many remarked that it was one of the best dinners that they had attended so my personal thanks to all those who contributed to make this event so special. My thanks also to the Diploma Students who organised a wonderful raffle with nearly 50 prizes. Course 55 student Daniel Le Cornu single-handily managed the whole raffle on the evening. Our guest speaker was Helen Tranter vice president of the Landscape Institute. I would like to establish closer links with the Institute as there is a parity with some of the work they cover. Bio security is one area for example.

We have several more events planned for the year organised with the valuable assistance of Brian Philipps.

6/7 July. Downe House, Ashdown, Wakehurst. Visit to Darwin’s Down House together with Ashdown Forest and the Millennium Seed bank, all well organised by Brian and Sylvia Phillips. The event is now fully booked, and we look forward to a great weekend.

7 September. We are organising a number of events around the AGM and we will keep you posted.

We will continue to provide you with full details of any future events, and you can be sure they there will be plenty more in the 12 months ahead. For those members who have not yet participated in the events I would urge you once again to join us as I am sure that you will not be disappointed.

A date to put in your diaries is the next Annual Dinner which next year will be held on Thursday 21 My 2020 at Cambridge Cottage, Kew and again organised by our dinner champion Tony Overland… so don’t miss it!

Details of future and recent events can also be viewed on the website. Details of any future events that members wish us to consider can be submitted to Sara ( or directly to me (

CIO Trustees

We have informed you that as part of our new constitution we will have a rotation of Trustees serving for a three-year period with one third retiring at every AGM. To facilitate the smooth running of the Guild we have elected to retain the current Trustees in place for a further year.

The positions of President and Vice President are appointed from the Board of Trustees.

This year we are required to appoint one new Trustee at the AGM and I would ask the members for nominations. Please send nominations to Sara before 1st August 2019 in order for the paperwork to be organised ready to send out mid-August. Nominations will be considered at the AGM on 7th September.

Details of the Trustees appointments and service arrangements can be viewed on page 260 of the 2018 Kew Guild Journal.

Kew Guild Journal

The editor of the Journal, Sparkle Ward, has given a deadline for Events of 2019 Journal copy as 31st January 2020. Plenty of time then to submit your news, articles and contributions to We are also keen to receive comments and ideas from the membership which can be sent in the first instance to the Sara

Please also email any ‘News of Kewites’ and any photos to Pamela Holt at

Finally, I would like to thank all the Trustees and Advisors for giving me their continued unstinting support.

I wish you all every happiness and prosperity for the summer, particularly to our oversees friends, and I look forward to seeing many of you at the AGM in September.

Best wishes, Peter Styles. Floreat Kew