The EBTS was deeply saddened to learn of the death on October 31st of its Founder and first Chairman, Mark Braimbridge at the age of 92. Mark, a leading heart surgeon, one of the pioneers of open heart surgery, turned his attention to helping his wife, Elizabeth, on his retirement and so became involved in horticulture.
Having found that there was a dearth of box varieties for their garden in the UK, Elizabeth had started her own boxwood nursery, Langley Boxwood Nursery, Hampshire, in 1983. Having discovered that all the new and interesting work on Buxus cultivars, was coming from the USA, a visit to Washington followed. There, inspired by the American Boxwood Society (ABS), Mark came up with the idea of starting a similar society in Europe.
By a piece of great good fortune, Véronique Goblet d’Alviella, who was living in England at the time, was looking for some guidance on boxwood for her garden at Château Court St. Etienne in Belgium. When she arrived at the Langley Nursery, Mark immediately saw that she would be the ideal person to launch a European boxwood and topiary society with him.
His plan was that the EBTS would cover – not only the horticultural aspects like the ABS – but would also promote and explore the culture and history of topiary, aim to preserve the traditional skills, encourage new research and to conserve endangered boxwood species.
In later years, Mark and Elizabeth went on plant expeditions in Cuba with Professor Kohler, of Humboldt University, and Dr. Angela Leiva of National Botanic Garden in Cuba. They helped to provide transport and funding to create a valuable collection of rare, native tropical boxwood.
Mark Braimbridge, leaves behind his wife, Elizabeth, four children, ten grandchildren, three step-children and two step-grandchildren. The EBTS will continue to strive to preserve their part in his valuable legacy. The most charming and erudite of men, Mark will be hugely missed by all who knew him.