Stacks Image 396
Stacks Image 411
The Barbara Everard Trust for Orchid Conservation (BETOC) has its main objective as conserving cultivated orchids, both species and hybrids, in particular old hybrids. It frequently supports National Collection holders wishing to increase their stock of cultivated species, but for many years has not had any request for conserving (old) hybrids. Subsidiary aims have been education and research, so it has supported the OSGB Journal and offered to support other orchid journals (but with no applicants so far). One of its other aspirations was to set up a National Collection under the control of the OSGB, but this never proved viable, although it was attempted.

Barbara Everard was a talented painter, and in 1989 wrote about the setting up of the trust in the OSGB Journal – an article that was reprinted in the 50th anniversary edition of the OSGBJ. She was on the OSGB Conservation Committee and had been much upset by hearing that on the death of a well-known orchid grower his gardener had been told to ‘turn the heating off’ and all the plants had died. She provided the initial funding for the trust, but its income of £3,000 a year is insufficient for her wider vision. Her longer term aim was for the OSGB to have ‘A house with a plot of land (not too large) but room for, say two or three greenhouses – cool, intermediate, hot; a small laboratory space for propagation etc, and a sales area, where things can be sold in aid of the trust; a vehicle suitable of collecting the orchids and perhaps a curator and later on a student (or students) to learn how to grow orchids and help with the great work involved.’

At the time (1989) she hoped for a benefactor to give £500,000 to fund this, but today the capital required to buy the land and glasshouses would be at least this, and an endowment of another £2 million would be needed to cover the running and staffing costs from income. We are a long way from ever realising this dream. If we did, it would provide an administrative base for our society and a permanent home for our library as well realising some at least of Barbara Everard’s conservation aims.

Unless we receive such a substantial legacy, the trustees will try to place plants that are no longer required, often because of the death of the grower, by sending commoner plants for sale at OSGB meetings, and placing rare and unusual plants with National Collection holders or specialist growers. Any money raised is put into the BETOC funds, so if you have plants that you wish to be looked after, BETOC can help find them homes.

The year 2010 marked the centenary of Barbara Everard’s birth and a website celebrating her life has been created by her son, Martin. The website address is www.barbara-everard.com/ and there is also a Wikipedia entry, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Everard

The current trustees are: Dr Henry Oakeley (Chairman), Mrs Val Micklewright (Secretary), Mrs Sally Mill (Treasurer), Mr Roy White, Dr Michael McIllmurray, Mr David McLaughlin (RHS Garden Wisley) and Mr Christopher Ryan (RBG Kew).

Click here to download an application form for a BETOC grant, or for more information, contact:

Mrs Val Micklewright
103 North Road, Three Bridges, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 1SQ
Tel: 01293 528615
E-mail: val@micklewright.com