Charles Valin at Thompson & Morgan’s plant breeding grounds near Ipswich

Charles Valin, Thompson & Morgan’s plant breeder has been awarded the 2013 Reginald Cory Memorial Cup by the Royal Horticultural Society.

This prestigious award is given to encourage and reward the production of new garden hardy hybrids. Since 2005 it has been presented to a plant breeder whose work in the hybridisation of a particular species has resulted in the introduction and general availability of exciting new hardy hybrid varieties.

Buddleja ‘Buzz’™

Charles’ most fabulous – and now famous – creation to date is the foxglove, ‘Illumination Pink’, which won the 2012 RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year award. Thanks to Charles’ work, Thompson & Morgan will be launching further colours in the ‘Illumination’ range this year, including an apricot version named ‘Chelsea Gold’ to mark the centenary of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Originally from France, Charles has been breeding plants at Thompson & Morgan for nine years and is responsible for creating some of the company’s most impressive new plant varieties.

Foxglove ‘Illumination Pink’

His achievements include the hugely successful dwarf, branching buddleja, ‘Buzz’™, which now comes in 5 colours, and the highly popular fuchsia ‘Lady in Black’ which is renowned for its ‘flower power’ and which can be used as a climber. Charles was also the first breeder to create an F1 hybrid laurentia and is also well-known for his work with hollyhocks, hellebores, fuchsias and begonias.

Charles says that he feels very lucky to have a job that he enjoys so much and that he finds it both fun and exciting to see what he can create through his work. Thompson & Morgan’s managing director, Paul Hansord, commented “We are very proud of Charles and pleased that his work has been recognised by the RHS”.

Find out more about Charles’ work in plant breeding at home, there’s a reward if you discover a new variety too!

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