In a special ceremony held in London, the President of the Royal Horticultural Society, Mrs Elizabeth Banks, presented the Anthony Huxley Trophy to Robert Cantley, Managing Director of Sri Lankan company Borneo Exotics. This coveted trophy is ranked amongst the top three horticultural awards in the world and is for the best exhibit of ornamental plants shown in all shows judged by the Royal Horticultural Society during 2011. It was awarded to Borneo Exotics for their exhibit at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show in May 2011, for which they won their fourth consecutive Gold Medal with a perfect judging score. This is the second time Borneo Exotics has been awarded the Anthony Huxley Trophy, the last occasion being in 2007.
Robert Cantley and Diana Williams, Borneo Exotics’ Directors chose Sri Lanka to set up their business in 1997 after exhaustively checking suitable countries to establish what has become probably the most unique plant nursery in the world. “We decided to set up in Sri Lanka, partly because of the tropical climate of course, but most of all for the people and because of the friends we made here,” says Mr. Cantley. “It’s our wonderful staff, who give their very best, with supreme dedication, every single day, in order to grow the finest and most unique plants the world has ever seen. Many of them are unique varieties and hybrids which have been bred in Sri Lanka.”
“Several Government Departments have given professional and invaluable assistance over the years and we particularly wish to thank the Departments of Agriculture and Wildlife, the BOI, Customs and other Departments and individuals too numerous to mention,” added Mr. Cantley. “We tell everyone we meet that they should look to Sri Lanka, not only as a prime vacation destination but as a place to consider investing in too.”
After winning a Silver Medal at the World Orchid Conference in Singapore last November as well as a Gold Medal at the 2011 Chelsea Flower Show in May, Borneo Exotics is taking a rest from the stressful process of shipping live plants around the world for exhibitions and has declined invitations to exhibit anywhere in 2012.
Borneo Exotics recently submitted the winning bid to supply carnivorous plants to Singapore’s multi-billion dollar Gardens by the Bay project due to open in June this year. “Several thousand of our best specimen plants will take pride of place in the world’s largest greenhouse, surrounding the top of the world’s highest indoor waterfall and will be viewed by millions of people,” says Mr. Cantley. “That’s one pinnacle we really hadn’t expected to achieve when we first came to Sri Lanka with a few suitcases all those years ago.”
Robert Cantley and Diana Williams are currently working with broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough on a 3-D documentary, featuring some of the unique plants which were bred and raised by Borneo Exotics in Sri Lanka.