Graham Hutchins (1930-2012)
Graham spent his whole life working with plants. He enjoyed helping his father grow vegetables aged 11.
He left school at 14 and worked on arable farms and in glasshouses growing fruit and vegetables. He was called up for National Service at 18. He volunteered to grow vegetables for the regiment on four acres of land. After National Service he worked in a local nursery, and then with a landscaping firm before becoming a freelance gardener and landscaper.
He married in 1955 and bought the bungalow at Hornchurch in Essex, with half an acre of land, which became County Park Nursery.
Working with Hebes and reading ‘New Zealand Plants and their Story’ by L. Cockayne and the illustrated ‘New Zealand Alpine plants’ by Mark and Adams, fired his enthusiasm for NZ plants and led to his first trip to NZ in January 1977. There he collected seeds and plants and met many people who subsequently gave Graham gave him many more plants, which became a large collection with many rare species not in general cultivation. That year he also won his first RHS Gold Medal at the Chelsea Flower Show.
Three more visits to Australia, Tasmania and NZ followed in 1981, 1985 and 1990, when he collected over 1000 plants new to the UK. At RHS shows he won a total of 26 Gold Medals. He also raised many new plants crossing Corokia, Podocarpus, Sp Clematis, Olearia, Coprosma, Pittosporum and Callistemon, to name but a few. He selected good types suited to the UK climate.