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THE YORKSHIRE Gardens Trust is holding a special event on Saturday 17 April to celebrate the life of the plantsman Jim Russell, who died in 1996. Russell was invalided out of the Army just before the end of the Second World War and took over the famous Sunningdale Nurseries at Windlesham. For the 25 years that he owned it, the nursery was the first choice for anyone interested in old shrub roses, unusual trees and perennials. His second career started after his "retirement" when he moved to Yorkshire and became involved in developing the grounds at Castle Howard.

He planned the new plantings in Ray Wood, one of the most ambitious schemes undertaken by anyone this century. He also established an exceptional new arboretum at Castle Howard. Lord Jellicoe and Robin Compton will be among those celebrating Jim Russell's achievements in a day-long series of lectures that starts at 10.30am at the Swallow Hotel, Tadcaster Road, York. Tickets (pounds 20, to include lunch) are available from Karen Lynch, YTS, 19 Eaton Road, Ilkley, West Yorkshire LS29 9PU (01943 816747).