Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Roy Perry, said: “We are delighted to welcome Roy back to where he spent so many special years learning about and documenting the plants and flowers in the Gardens.
“Roy’s knowledge of the botanical world is second to none thanks to his trips around the world, to locations such as China, Iran, and South and North America, with many adventures captured in his new book My Life with Plants.”
Roy Lancaster began his career as an apprentice with his local Parks Department in Lancashire, joining Hillier Gardens in 1962 before progressing to become curator of the Gardens, then known as Hillier Arboretum. He was the first curator when Sir Harold entrusted the Gardens to Hampshire County Council as a Charitable Trust in 1977, and now supports the Gardens as a Patron.
Councillor Perry added: “Over the last five decades, Roy’s passion for horticulture has grown, with him achieving public acclaim as former presenter of BBC’s Gardeners’ World and as Vice President of the Royal Horticultural Society. We are proud he’s returning to where it all started to unveil My Life with Plants to the public.”
My Life with Plants is published on Friday, 23 March, and Roy Lancaster will be signing copies at Hillier Gardens on Friday 7 April.
He will also be leading a free, hour-long tour of the Gardens; sharing his extensive knowledge of plants as well as bringing to life some of the stories from his time as curator.
Roy Lancaster commented: “I can’t wait to share with visitors my stories of plants, some of which I introduced as seed to the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in the last 50 years.”
The two book signings will be from 10.30am to 11.15am, and from 2.00pm to 2.45pm.
The tours will be on a first come first served basis for those who have purchased a copy of the book on the day, running at 11.30am to 12.30pm and 3.00pm to 4.00pm.