Tribute to Harry Kitchener – September 1940 to January 2024

After college Harry was employed by the then NAAS as a trainee Horticultural adviser, NAAS then morphed into ADAS and Harry moved into the new advisory service. As with all advisers, there were a series of moves to different offices and Harry was seconded to the Channel Island Advisory service- this was a common arrangement at the peak of the ADAS business and the importance of the Channel Island Horticulture industry.

On return from the spell in the Channel Islands Harry was working as a Horticultural advisor out of the Lea Valley EHS, before finally transferring his ADAS career to Boxworth, near Cambridge. By the time Harry had developed his lifetime interest in Pot plants and for many years was the Secretary to the Pot Plant Association which was later joined into the Bedding groups to form the Bedding and Pot Plant Association. Harry was still a member of the BOA technical committee at the time of his death. His contribution to meetings and visits over the years was always challenging but inspiring. In the pot plant world, he had been involved in many groups, especially Pot mums, begonia, hydrangea and poinsettia.

Harry always loved travel, both independently and with groups of Growers and Advisors – he went to China to see what the industry was like in 1984. They have never recovered!!!!!

Harry was instrumental and supportive of many trips: West and East Coast of the States, Canada, Norway, Poland, Denmark, Germany, France, Belgium, Italy and Holland to mention just a few. He was well known by the local researchers, Growers and Breeders and maintained the contact network always,

On many of the trips he was often referred to as Col Mainwaring- and the party would get in line behind him and whistle the famous tune- much to his pretend annoyance.

Harry’s particular interest in the last years had been focused on Pest and Disease control and the use of modern lighting techniques such as UVC as control the issues especially as there were fewer and fewer chemical controls being approved. Right up until the last week Harry was arranging a TEAMs meeting with Dutch researchers to look at the use of LED lights and UV outputs to control pests.

Outside work, Harry had been a very keen squash player and for many years was part of the Cambridge Morris men troop. Harry was also an avid collector of antiques and foliar editions of books and of course, he was regarded as a serious wine buff – he was always very critical of the wines we brought to the table!!

Many of you will remember the arrival of the orange MGB GT at your nurseries or businesses as being the clear indication that Harry had arrived, and you were likely to be abused- in the best of good taste. He was to so many positively a friend and a guide to which you will all emphasise with and be thankful for. He did not suffer fools but would always be willing to help those who listened.

Our memories will be many and perhaps we could come together on a suitable date and place for an industry memorial service- maybe this year’s Poinsettia Day could be dedicated to Harry’s memory.