Expert gardener Arthur departs having sown seeds of joy

July 30 2020

Arthur Brice with Alexia Gardner at the 2019 Westbury-on-Trym Village Show

Arthur Brice with Alexia Gardner at the 2019 Westbury-on-Trym Village Show

ARTHUR Brice, an avid supporter of Westbury-on-Trym Village Show, being the Plant and Vegetable Judge for many years, died at the age of 82 in July after a long illness.
Horticultural expert Arthur was a member of the Westbury-on-Trym Society for 40 years and Chair of the Allotments Association for twelve years. He was the man behind the stunning floral displays in Westbury-on-Trym for which he was awarded the Lord Mayor’s Medal in 2015.
Arthur Brice lived and breathed horticulture in all its forms since training at Dartington College in his native Devon, and worked for the Parks and Gardens Departments at Portsmouth and Bristol.
He was the brains behind the installation of flower pots in and around Westbury village in the early 1980s and maintained them regularly with Roger Smith, former chairman of the Westbury-on-Trym Society.
Roger said: “Arthur was very much into gardening, plant life and the well being of Westbury as a whole. His knowledge of plants, trees and all things green has been very useful to the village.
“We became involved in maintaining the ‘Pack Horse Triangle’ at the base of Chock Lane. The Westbury-on-Trym Society (WoTSoc) took over the area and landscaped it with the help of youngsters.
“He was a very good friend to me and the community at large. For anything green, Arthur was your man.”
His partnership with Sue Boyd and the Westbury-in-Bloom sub group of the Society covered many other corners of the village and contributed towards 10 years of winning trophies for Westbury.
This enthusiasm to spread gardening science led him to being an adviser to the Methodist Church in Westbury and to the Village Hall Management Committee. He led work on the churchyard at the Parish Church, at the Packhorse Garden, on flower beds and pots for the library and in tree planting for various commemorations.
He was a judge at Westbury’s annual Flower Show and a speaker for countless organisations on any aspect of gardening.
Arthur Brice died in his sleep with his family around him at John Wills House, Westbury Fields, where, they say, he received magnificent care in his last months and made many new friends.
Hilary Long, chair of WoTSoc said: “AB - as we knew him, had been ill for several years, but had borne his pain with amazing courage and kept his life going among us all in a most astonishing way.
“He became a legend in his long life in Bristol and particularly in his beloved Westbury.
"Gardener extraordinaire and eminent horticulturist, he was also a writer - always generously sharing his knowledge and thoughts on gardens, plants, trees, and their care with us all, both in print and in person.
“He was a universal friend - all whom he met,  judged in competitions, taught and cared for, loved and  respected him. His passing leaves us all with a great hole in our hearts - he is irreplaceable.”
A service for family and friends was held at Canford Crematorium on July 27.
There are plans for a memorial service and celebration of his life to be held in Westbury-on-Trym at a later point.