Clarence Elliott (a famous English alpine nurseryman) in his greenhouse, as photographed by Valerie Finnis (1924-2006), from her book Garden People: The Photographs of Valerie Finnis (2007). Ms. Finnis traveled the British countryside during the latter half of the 20th Century, photographing dedicated gardeners tending their roses, clipping topiaries, or inspecting their greenhouses. Some of her subjects were well known, like Tolkien and Roald Dahl, while others were nurserymen or plant enthusiasts. She used a Rolleiflex camera, a gift from a friend. Valerie Finnis was awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour in 1975 by the Royal Horticultural Society. According to RHS rules, only 63 horticulturists can hold the award at any given time, in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s 63-year-reign. The award was established in 1897. 02/18/2013 UPDATE: Thank you to the editor at Thames & Hudson (London) for clarifying that the gentleman in the photo is Clarence Elliott - not J.R.R. Tolkien as previously identified. (This photograph is floating around on numerous internet sites with Tolkien’s name attached to it, however, that is not correct.) 

Clarence Elliott (a famous English alpine nurseryman) in his greenhouse, as photographed by Valerie Finnis (1924-2006), from her book Garden People: The Photographs of Valerie Finnis (2007). Ms. Finnis traveled the British countryside during the latter half of the 20th Century, photographing dedicated gardeners tending their roses, clipping topiaries, or inspecting their greenhouses. Some of her subjects were well known, like Tolkien and Roald Dahl, while others were nurserymen or plant enthusiasts. She used a Rolleiflex camera, a gift from a friend. Valerie Finnis was awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour in 1975 by the Royal Horticultural Society. According to RHS rules, only 63 horticulturists can hold the award at any given time, in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s 63-year-reign. The award was established in 1897. 

02/18/2013 UPDATE: Thank you to the editor at Thames & Hudson (London) for clarifying that the gentleman in the photo is Clarence Elliott - not J.R.R. Tolkien as previously identified. (This photograph is floating around on numerous internet sites with Tolkien’s name attached to it, however, that is not correct.)