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The Splendour of Ornamental Cherries led by Christopher Sanders

The Splendour of Ornamental Cherries led by Christopher Sanders

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The Splendour of Ornamental Cherries 

Led by Christopher Sanders
Chief Consultant, National Collection of Ornamental Cherries at Keele University

Thursday 2nd April


Ornamental cherries are one of the most important and widely planted groups of plants in the UK landscape. With a rich history of cultivation, they are also one the most diverse, with cultivars varying greatly in blossom, growth habit, and growing requirements. Join us for a very focused masterclass as ornamental cherry specialist Chris Sanders talks us through the spectrum of cultivars available, highlighting their distinctive characteristics and uses.


Christopher Sanders was brought up in Worcestershire and studied at the local Pershore College of Horticulture in the early 1960s, subsequently gaining an RHS Master of Horticulture degree.

His experience of production horticulture is extensive. In 1966 he joined John Hill and Sons of Spot Acre Nurseries in North Staffordshire, at that time one of the largest nurseries in the country at 400 acres, ultimately progressing to General Manager and Director. In 1982 he left Hills to take up the role of Production Manager at Bridgemere Nurseries in Cheshire, another very large and successful wholesale nursery of the time, and also one of the largest garden centres in Europe.

Since retiring in 2002 he has remained active in horticultural circles, publishing articles on woody plants, regularly giving lectures at home and abroad, and lecturing part time at Keele University.

Chris has travelled extensively as a plantsman, including visits to the Himalayan region, China, Tibet, Japan and South Africa, and is considered one of the foremost plantsmen in the UK for woody plants, and for flowering cherries in particular.

It was at Chris’s suggestion that the establishment of a collection of ornamental flowering cherries was started at Keele University. Since then he has acted as chief consultant and advisor for the maintenance and expansion of the collection leading to its achievement of National Collection status in 2011.

Chris is currently a long-standing member of the RHS Woody Plants Committee, a member of several Woody Trials panels and a member of the Advisory Panel on Nomenclature and Taxonomy(NATAG). He was made an Associate of Honour by the Royal Horticultural Society in 1999, and in 2014 was awarded their highest honour, the Victoria Medal of Honour (VMH), an accolade only a maximum of 63 recipients may hold at any one time.


We will gather for coffee in the Visitor Advice Centre at 9:45 for a planned10am start (the nursery is open from 8:30 so please feel free to arrive earlier). Chris will present first, and then we will get some fresh air with a walk out on the nursery to view cherry cultivars in blossom, returning to the visitor centre at approximately1pm for a light lunch and departing at leisure.

Organised by: Majestic Trees of Majestic Trees

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