Nick Dunn Celebrates 50 Years at Frank P Matthews


For the last 50 years, Nick Dunn has been a cornerstone of British horticulture, establishing Frank P Matthews’ reputation for exceptional British trees across the UK and beyond. Nick started aged 10 being inspired by his father’s enthusiasm for the practical work of growing trees. As a young boy he enjoyed the powerful and comforting smell of the earth floor in the packing shed of Frank Matthews’ (his grandfather’s) nursery. Together with the handling of leaves and cuttings in preparing propagation material as a very young apprentice – these early experiences certainly played their part and, after studying at Hadlow College, working throughout the UK and USA on a variety of crops, he knew he would inevitably return to the family tree nursery. In 1974, Nick joined the company aged 22 and was the 3rd generation of the family to work in the business, working alongside his father Andrew Dunn.

Nick’s approach has always been hands-on, combining traditional methods with innovative techniques to improve tree health and breed new varieties. He has been instrumental in the introduction of new tree species and cultivars, ensuring that the nursery stays at the forefront of horticulture and tree cultivation. His passion for trees and growing is second to none and his leadership extends far beyond the nursery grounds. He has been a key figure in national horticultural societies, including the RHS, HDC and NSA, supporting the gardening and top fruit sector and protecting plant health across the UK. His expertise has also taken him abroad, where he has worked internationally as President of the International Plant Propagation Society during the 1980s.

In 2010 Nick published his book ‘Trees For Your Garden’, a book that quickly became the horticultural reference book of choice for all in the tree industry. The book was developed in conjunction with the Tree Council and its foreword was written by the late, great Peter Seabrook.

In 2017 Nick was awarded the RHS Victoria Medal of Honour. The VMH is awarded to British horticulturists deserving of special honour by the RHS for horticultural excellence and personal endeavour. It’s regarded internationally as the highest distinction in horticulture. Only 63 medals are ever held at one time, Nick’s father Mr Andrew Dunn was also awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour in 2003. Nick is still very active in the Horticultural industry as well as the RHS where he is a Member of the RHS Council, Horticulture Board, Gardens Advisor and many other Committee involvements. He never passes up an opportunity to support the industry or get involved at a practical level.

As a nursery we would like to extend our thanks to Nick, for a half a century of service, dedication, commitment, innovation, and leadership.

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