Bee Leaf Privilege Club

Charles Notcutt



Charles Notcutt

Charles Notcutt passed away on 1st July 2015 aged 81.  Charles was instrumental in the growth of Notcutts, founded in 1897 by his grandfather Roger Crompton Notcutt. He was an inspirational and energetic leader of the horticultural community, establishing and developing many trade bodies, as well as education and research in the field.  Charles pioneered horticultural excellence and during his leadership, Notcutts had much medal winning success at The RHS Chelsea Flower Show for the magnificent displays of trees, shrubs and flowers.

Charles was a member of the RHS Council for ten years and also was heavily involved with the HTA (Horticultural Trades Association).  When a separate association was created in 1966 for Garden Centres (GCA) he was the first chairman. This representation and forum for the industry was important as garden centres expanded nationally and became ever more popular. He was also involved in the creation of The Institute of Horticulture, subsequently becoming its President. His natural ebullience was infectious and he could always be relied upon for supportive advice to his peers.


Charles was renowned for his love of trees and became chairman of the tours committee of the International Dendrology Society.  He visited all seven continents, trekked to the foot of Mount Everest and toured Chile, Cuba, Iran, Madagascar, Bhutan and Yunnan in China.

He received the prestigious Victoria Medal of Honour in 1997 (one of only 63 at any one time, being the number of years in the reign of Queen Victoria), was awarded the OBE for his services to horticulture in 1993 and received an honorary doctorate in civil law from the UEA.

Charles Notcutt was born in Ipswich in 1934, the only child of Roger Notcutt and wife Jean (nee) Macpherson and educated at Edinburgh Academy. After National Service and Pershore College he joined Notcutts in 1958, the year the first Notcutts garden centre was opened in Woodbridge, Suffolk.

Charles married Angela Morris in 1964 and they had three children – Caroline, William and Andrew. This marriage ended in divorce and he married Gill Hutchinson in 1977. He is survived by his three children, from his first marriage, and eight grandchildren.  Notcutts is still family owned and managed, with Caroline Notcutt as Vice Chairman of the Company.

Charles touched and enriched the lives of many through his passion for gardening, his charitable work and involvement in many organisations and professional bodies.   Charles was a larger than life character and will be greatly missed by family, friends, colleagues, customers and communities.

Charles Notcutt Deben Sunrise Rose


To celebrate the life Charles Notcutt OBE, Notcutts launched a new rose at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017. The ‘Deben Sunrise’ rose, is named after Charles’ favourite view over the River Deben from his garden in Woodbridge, Suffolk.

He loved the rich yellow hues of the early morning sun and the rose develops from cream to rich yellow throughout the season reflecting the changing colours of the sunrise. The repeat flowering floribunda with its wonderful and distinctive fragrance, has medium growth up to one metre and flowers from late May through to September.


A summary of Charles Notcutt’s outstanding career and achievements:




Charles Roger Macpherson Notcutt


O.B.E.       V.M.H.       Hon.O.B.L. Doctorate of Civil Law (U.E.A.)       F.I.Hort.


1934 Born in Ipswich, brought up in “The Old House” on the Nursery, now Notcutts Head Office.
1938 Moved to Scotland with mother after father died this year.
1943 – 1952 Attended Edinburgh Academy.
1952 – 1954 National Service as 2nd Lieutenant Royal Artillery in Hong Kong and Germany.
1954 – 1956 Trainee at Jackmans Nursery, Woking, Surrey.
1956 – 1957 Pershore Institute of Horticulture, Worcester. Obtained NCH, NDH and passed the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Intermediate Exam.
1957 Trainee with a landscape design and construction company in Dundee, Scotland.
1958 Trainee at Moerheim Nurseries, Dedemsvaart, Holland.
1958 Joined family business of Notcutts, Woodbridge as Assistant to the Nursery Production Director.
1959 – 1971 Member of the Council of the Horticultural Trades Association.
1961 Appointed as a Director of Notcutts.
1963 Urwick Orr six weeks Management Course, Slough, Bucks.
1964 Appointed Managing Director of Notcutts.
1966 – 1968 Chairman of Founding Committee of HTA Garden Centre Group, which later became The Garden Centre Association.
1966 – 1987 Member of National Farmers Union Nursery Stock Committee.
1968 – 1970 Chairman of first Joint Working Party Reviewing Research and Experimental Priorities in Hardy Nursery Stock.
1970/80s Member of Governing Body of East Malling Research Station for 13 years.
1970 – 1973 Member of Governing Body of John Innes Research Institute.
1970 – 1981 Member of Governing Body of Glasshouse Crops Research Institute, Littlehampton, Sussex.
1973 – 1988 Member of National Farmers Union (NFU) Horticultural Development and Education Committee.
1974 Appointed Chairman of Notcutts
1974 – 1979 Member of MAFF Joint Consultative Organisation Hardy Ornamentals and Bulbs Committee (reviewing research and experimental priorities
1974 – 1987 Member of Joint NFU/Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) Nursery Stock Committee.
1976 – 1980 Chairman of Joint NFU/HTA Nursery Stock Committee.
1976 – 1980 Member of the Tree Council
1976 – 1984 Member of British Standards Committee on Trees in Relation to Construction.
1977 Awarded the Horticultural Trades Association Pearson Memorial Medal (Awarded for outstanding service to horticulture).
1979 Awarded membership of Ipswich Guild of Freemen
1980 – 1984 First Chairman of Joint Liaison Committee on Plant Supply and Establishment (JLCPS) (Member until 1989).
1980 – 1991 Instigator of founding and first Chairman of Abbeyfield Deben Extra Care Society (providing care for 24 frail elderly at Highlands, Woodbridge).
1982 – 1984 Member of steering Committee for formation of the Institute of Horticulture.
1982 – 1987 Member of British Hardy Plants (marketing co-operative)
1984 – 1987 Treasurer of Institute of Horticulture.
1985 – 1986 Chairman NFU Working Group Reviewing Horticultural Graduates in commercial Horticulture.
1987 – 1988 President Elect of Institute of Horticulture.
1988 – 1989 President of Institute of Horticulture.
1989 – 1999 Member of Council of Royal Horticultural Society.
1990 ongoing Member of Worshipful Company of Gardeners.
1991 – 1998 Instigator of founding and initial Chairman, and then member of Abbeyfield Orwell Extra Care Society.
1992 – 1998 Governor of English Speaking Union
1993 Awarded OBE for Services to Horticulture in Queen’s Birthday Honours in June.
1993 – 2005 Member of Governing Body of Otley College
1994 – 1995 President of Woodbridge Rotary Club
1997 President of Suffolk Agricultural Association.
1997 Awarded Victoria Medal of Honour by Royal Horticultural Society (limited to 63 at any one time, being the number of years in the reign of Queen Victoria).
1997 – 2004 Member of Audit Committee of Royal Horticultural Society.
1998 – 2007 Member of Governing Body of Writtle College.
2009 Appointed Honorary Fellow of Writtle College.
1999 Retired as Managing Director of Notcutts (continued as Chairman).
1999 – 2009 Member of Council of Suffolk Agricultural Association.
2000 Member of Working Party on the Governance of the Royal Horticultural Society.
2000 – 2004 Chairman of Audit Committee of Royal Horticultural Society.
2000 - 2014 Member of Committee of Farmers Club, London.
2001 Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law from UEA.
2002 – 2008 Chairman of the Tours Committee of International Dendrology Society.
2002 - 2014 Member of Council of International Dendrology Society.
2003 – 2007 Member of the Board of The Gardeners Royal Benevolent Society. (Now renamed Perennial)
2003 – 2011 Trustee of Perennial
2004 Became a “Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International”. (Awarded by Rotary International, to Rotarians, in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.)
2007 – 2011 Vice Chairman of Perennial and Chairman of Marketing Committee.
2008 Appointed President of Notcutts
2009 – 2015 Councillor on Woodbridge Town Council. Chairman of the Amenities Committee and Chairman of Whisstocks Riverside Development Committee.
2012 – 2013 Mayor of Woodbridge.
2013 Central person to the gift of Fullers Mill Garden in Suffolk from the owner, Bernard Tickner, to the charity Perennial. The opening of the garden to the public will raise funds for the charity.