Two Beautiful Scotland stalwarts recognised by The Caley

Last night (Tuesday 6 March), The Caley (Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society) awarded two of our long-standing Beautiful Scotland supporters - Stan da Prato and Bill Ronald - for their achievements in horticulture.

Every year, The Caley Society issues prestigious awards, medals and certificates of merit in recognition of the achievements of professional horticulturalists, nurserymen, gardeners and amateur gardeners. Last nights' award ceremony was held at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.

Stan was presented with 'The Dr Andrew Duncan Medal'. This was introduced in 2003 for distinguished service to horticulture by an educationalist, advisor or administrator.  Stan grew up in North Berwick and still lives in East Lothian. He learned his practical horticulture from his father, a professional gardener of the old school, before taking up a career in education. Stan’s interests are wide ranging; he is a volunteer judge for Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Beautiful Scotland campaign, a former secretary of the Scottish Begonia Society, an active member of the Scottish Rock Garden Club, and a former Council member and Vice President of The Caley. He has been Editor of the Caley’s journal - The Caledonian Gardener - since 2005 and also edits the SOC journal, Scottish Birds. Stan is a natural educator with wit and humour and he provides help and support to a number of gardening clubs in East Lothian and across Scotland.

His horticultural and environmental work for North Berwick in Bloom led to him receiving an RHS Community Champion award in 2012. But Stan’s interest in plants and his contribution to the environment and to gardening and horticulture in Scotland goes much wider. Stan is always willing to encourage others and to share his knowledge. His expertise, wit, humour, and willingness to share, has led to him assisting Keep Scotland Beautiful develop judges training, visiting Beautiful Scotland entrants to pass on his knowledge, helping develop and deliver Guidance and Advice sessions for entrants, and presenting biodiversity guidance at national seminars. He frequently gives talks on gardening, alpines, wildflowers and birds, and gives talks on his travels including to Borneo, India and South America. Perhaps Stan’s greatest passion (other than birds) is for Alpine Plants. He is a regular, and successful, exhibitor at Scottish Rock Garden Shows, and has been an integral part of the Scottish Rock Garden Club's stunning displays at Gardening Scotland.


Bill was awarded The Scottish Horticultural Medal (SHM).  This award was first introduced in 1950 to mark the 150th anniversary of the Society. The award is strictly limited to a maximum of 50 recipients at any one time and is awarded to anyone, anywhere, who has made an outstanding service, by a professional or amateur to Scottish Horticulture.

Born in Elgin, Bill’s horticultural experience began when he worked at a market garden in his home town growing a full range of flowers, veg and some soft fruit for Scottish markets. An apprenticeship at the National Trust for Scotland gardens at Crathes Castle was followed by two years training at the Trust’s gardening college at Threave. Jack Drake’s Alpine Nursery near Aviemore was next, and Bill completed his formal training at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh between 1969 and 1972.

In 1972 Bill joined Aberdeen City Council as a Horticultural Assistant and was involved in the multi-award winning bloom campaigns in the city. During his time in Aberdeen he worked under the 'master' of bloom campaigns, the late David Welch.  In 1975 he moved to Edinburgh City Council as a technical assistant with the Leisure and Recreation Department, designing floral displays, carpet bedding – including the Floral Clock in Princes Street Gardens - and project managing environmental improvements. Bill moved to Perth and Kinross Council in 1978, where he steadily climbed the career ladder to become Head of Outdoor and Support Services.

In 1990, Bill was one of the founder members of the multi-award winning Perth in Bloom Group (he volunteered for 16 years with the group) and the successful Take a Pride in Perthshire Association in 1998. On retirement, Bill joined his local bloom group, Coupar Angus Pride of Place, which has now twice won Gold in Britain in Bloom and won its category in Beautiful Scotland numerous times.

Bill was awarded an RHS Community Champion award in 2015, has experience of judging for the Beautiful Scotland and Beautiful Fife campaigns, and now has the honour of being a UK judge for the RHS Britain in Bloom Finals.

Our congratulations to both Stan and Bill on their well-deserved awards.

05 March 2018


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