A SPARKLING event celebrated the anniversary of one of Hampshire's oldest firms.
Hillier Nurseries and Garden Centres celebrated 150 years of gardening with 130 guests at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens including broadcaster, author and former curator of the gardens Roy Lancaster CBE VMH and current curator Wolfgang Bopp.
During the event Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, Dame Mary Fagan DVCO JP planted a tree, marking the occasion.
The company, which emplys 400, was founded by Edwin Hillier in Winchester in 1864.
Since then it has achieved global recognition for its trees and hardy plants, winning gold awards at the Chelsea Flower Show for 69 consecutive years.
The firm has stayed in the Hillier family and is now run by chairman Robert Hillier, grandson of Sir Harold Hillier whose private collection of plants and trees became the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens near Romsey.
As part of a year of celebrations, Robert's wife Jean has written a book, Hillier: The Plants, The People, The Passion, which charts the firm through the ages.
Andrew Mcindoe, Hillier managing director said: "It is marvellous to be celebrating 150 years of Hillier with an amazing crowd of the leading lights of British horticulture and so many people who have been associated with Hillier over the years."