Brian Crosby, who did much to secure recognition for bedding plant production as an industry in its own right during the 1970s and 1980s, died in January, aged 87.
On leaving school he joined the family business, Old Laundry Nurseries in Timperley, on the outskirts of Manchester, eventually taking over from his father and was later joined by his two sons, Nigel and Martin.
“Brian used to tell me about how he earned his pocket money buying old orange boxes and making these into trays for plants for the nursery,” said Ball Colegrave marketing manager Stuart Lowen.
“He was a great friend to all and a great ambassador who tirelessly gave back to the industry.”
The nursery became part of the Quality Ornamentals group with Les Halman Nurseries but closed in 2017 and the site sold for development.
In the late 1970s, Brian was among the members of study groups in the north-west and in Essex who came together to establish the British Bedding Plant Association – now the British Protected Ornamentals Association (BPOA) – which he chaired in 1983 and served as vice-chairman for several years.
“He was a long-standing, hard-working and loyal member,” said former BPOA secretary Simon Davenport. “He was a great organiser in the early days of the association, particularly in work on promotional displays at Liverpool Garden Festival, and the Chelsea and Tatton Park flower shows.
“He was very influential to the establishment of the bedding plant sector as an industry in its own right and to be recognised as such.”
Many will remember the series of Eurogro conferences which Brian helped to organise.
Brian was also a long-standing supporter and trustee of the Colegrave Seabrook Foundation which provides scholarships to horticulture students or those in the early stages of their career. The Foundation has now set up a scholarship in his name for students from the north-west or who are studying in the area.