He qualified as a cactus judge in 1972 and soon after, began to assemble his collection of documented plants. His specific interest has always been South American cacti and he has written many articles about these plants that have been published in various journals. He is enthusiastic about practical conservation, reducing the demand for field collected plants by growing seedlings from documented seed and propagating plants with provenance already in culture.
He has given about 1000 talks at BCSS branch meetings and conventions in Britain as well as at events in mainland Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. He has made more than 20 visits to South America to study the plants in their natural habitat. For his contribution to the hobby, the CSSA made Graham a Fellow of their Society in 2005.
His first book ‘Copiapoa’ was published in 1998 and he has since co-authored ‘Cacti in Brazil’ with a group of enthusiasts from Germany and the Netherlands. There followed a book titled ‘Cacti and Succulents’ about the hobby in general and intended for beginners and those wanting to progress their interest. Graham then served as a member of the editorial group for the New Cactus Lexicon, contributing many photographs to the picture volume. The completion of this book about Gymnocalycium was the result of three years research including visits to Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia. The next book project will be about Matucana due for publication in 2021.
Graham has organised an annual residential meeting since 2005 for cactophiles looking to expand their interest and knowledge. Known as the Cactus Explorers Weekend, it features talks about more unusual plants and places. Its journal, The Cactus Explorer, was launched in August 2011. It was the first free on-line journal in English for cactus and succulent enthusiasts and has achieved a large world-wide readership.
Graham met his wife Elisabeth at a cactus meeting and, for more than 35 years, they and their plant collections have shared a large glasshouse at their home in Rutland, near the historic town of Stamford, England.