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.
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.|