Pearl, 65, dies after glittering career

Pic of Brian and Pearl Sulman who have won  the Anthony Huxley Trophy presented to the best protected  crops stand from all last year's flower shows.
Pic of Brian and Pearl Sulman who have won the Anthony Huxley Trophy presented to the best protected crops stand from all last year's flower shows.

AN AWARD-WINNING horticulturalist described as being ‘extremely talented but very modest’ has died aged 65.

Pearl Sulman was best known for the miniature pelargoniums which helped take her and husband Brian to 52 Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Gold Medals, including seven from the Chelsea Flower Show.

Mrs Sulman died at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, on March 23 after a year-long battle with leukaemia.

Born and raised in Mildenhall, she was born into the Woollard family and her father, Arthur, was well known and respected nurseryman. She and her husband would end up taking over the family business in Kingsway in 1974.

After being educated at Mildenhall Secondary School she attended Wisbech Horticultural College where she first met Brian almost 50 years ago.

The couple dedicated more than 35 years to horticulture, making their mark at prestigious flower shows including Malvern, Harrogate, Gardener’s World Live and Chelsea.

Along the way they picked up awards including the gold Anthony Huxley Trophy from the Hampton Court Flower Show in 2009.

They finally sold the business last July having taken part in their last show in 2010.

Stephanie Palmer, who knew Mrs Sulman for more than 30 years after meeting through the church, described her friend’s understated character.

“She was very quiet and private but also quite profound at times and extremely talented. She hid her light under a bushel and we always had to encourage her to share her successes at Chelsea – it’s something she could have shouted from the rooftops,” she said.

Mrs Sulman’s funeral at St Mary’s Church on Wednesday would be ‘packed’ due to how well-known and liked she was, according to Mrs Palmer.

Away from horticulture, Mrs Sulman and her husband were very keen walkers, particularly in the Lake District, one of her favourite destinations.

She leaves behind three children, Judith, Caroline and Keith, and seven grandchildren.