Larkcom is gardening's cream of the crop

Joy Larkcom has won the prestigious Garden Writers’ Guild lifetime achievement award.

Larkcom started her career more than 30 years ago as a garden news columnist. In 2001, she won two Guild writing awards for journalist of the year and practical journalist of the year. Following the publication of her book Oriental Vegetables in 1991, the author and columnist was credited with making Chinese vegetables popular in the UK.

The result of the secret ballot of Guild members was announced to a packed house of creative professionals from horticultural publishing and broadcasting at the Garden Writers’ Guild Awards Lunch at the Savoy by the master of ceremonies, Joe Swift.

Larkcom’s lifetime achievement award presentation was the finale of the Guild’s 15 annual multimedia awards, which included Mirabel Osler (journalist of the year), BBC Bristol’s How to be a Gardener 2 (television broadcast of the year), Stephen Anderton’s History of Rock Gardens for BBC Radio 4 (radio broadcast of the year) and Gardens Illustrated (magazine of the year).

Geoff Hodge, chairman of the Garden Writers’ Guild, said the entries had been of a high standard.

“The judges were impressed by the overall creative and technical standards of this year’s nominations.

Criticisms were few and far between, although the judges did feel there was scope for technical improvement in one or two television gardening programmes.

They also hoped the cult of the celebrity gardener had reached its peak in the magazine world.”

Full details of the 2003 awards can be found at www.gardenwriters.co.uk.

The winners in full were: Lifetime achievement award: Joy Larkcom.

Television broadcast of the year: How to be a Gardener 2, produced by Kath Moore for BBC Bristol.

Radio broadcast of the year: History of Rock Gardens, presented by Stephen Anderton for BBC Radio 4.

Website of the year: How to be a Gardener 2 (www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/ htbg2) edited by Ceri Thomas.

Photographer of the year: Derek St Romaine.

Features photographer of the year: Sandra Lousada for her work in London’s Parks & Gardens by Jill Billington (Frances Lincoln, £30).

Photographers’ choice award: Jacqui Hurst for her photograph entitled “Cedars at West Dean, Chichester, Sussex”.

Enthusiasts’ book of the year: Digging Deeper by Paul Williams (Conran Octopus, £20).

Practical book of the year: Organic Gardening by Christine and Michael Lavelle (Anness Publishing, £16.99).

Reference Book of the year: Trees for your Garden by Allen Paterson (Frances Lincoln, £30).

Magazine of the year: Gardens Illustrated, edited by Clare Foster.

Journalist of the year: Mirabel Osler for “Beauteous bark” in Country Homes & Interiors.

Practical journalist of the year: Andi Clevely for “On stony ground’ in The Garden.

News journalist of the year: Marc Rosenberg for “Tommy and Charlie banned from helping sick kids” in Amateur Gardening.

Trade journalist of the year: Chris Young for “Czech mate” in Garden Design Journal.

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