Sarah Married Tim Mead in 1990 and moved down from the big smoke to live at Holt Farm, Blagdon. She had absolutely no clue about farming, gardening or yoghurt, having lived in London all her life and trained as a dancer. It has been a steep learning curve! Four children, five dogs and an awesome team of people later, the YVOG is thriving and is still very much at the heart of the Yeo Valley family.Sarah now splits her time between the garden and her work at Yeo Valley HQ where she oversees the Canteen and events programme. She continues to be a very enthusiastic dancer given the right conditions!
Ken Thompson is a plant biologist with a keen interest in the public understanding of science, and especially the science of gardening. He writes and lectures extensively and has written six books on gardening and popular science. A book containing his collected gardening columns from the Daily Telegraph, was published in 2015.In 2016 he was awarded the RHS Veitch Memorial Medal for his contribution to the advancement and improvement of the science and practice of horticulture.
Shortly after returning home from military service Roy became a student gardener for two years at the University of Cambridge Botanic Garden before joining the Hillier Nurseries, Winchester in 1962. In 1970, he became the first Curator of the Hillier Arboretum leaving in 1980 to pursue a freelance career.Roy’s interest in plants began when he was a schoolboy and he has become a world renowned plant collector and authority on plants from many parts of the world but especially China. He has written many books, lectures worldwide, appears regularly on TV and radio and has received countless awards from the RHS and other authorities.Roy is one of the most revered and respected horticulturists in the world. His autobiography ‘A Life of Plants’ was published in February 2017
Jekka has worked with herbs since 1985 for which she is internationally recognised. She was recently awarded the RHS ‘Victoria Medal of Honour in Horticulture’ and has many other awards. Keen to share the knowledge and her passion for herbs, she has been awarded 62 RHS Gold Medals, has written several books, appears frequently on national radio and television and advises governments, chefs and members of the public on the use of herbs. Jekka is a member of the RHS Council and sits on many committees and societies.In 1985 Jekka established Jekka’s Herb Farm and during 2013 created Jekka’s Herbetum and Herb school.
Picket Lane Nursery is a family run business where the owners propagate every single plant that is offered for sale. The nursery garden has over 1500 varieties growing so that customers can see before they buy. The apiary goes from strength to strength as the number of bee hives increase, working the local countryside, and the gardens expand year on yearHaving spent many years as a teacher and engineer, Neil Lovesey runs this busy nursery with his wife and daughter, and now offers a number of talks to gardening clubs.
Glyn has been working in horticulture professionally for 40 years, having been through a traditional style apprenticeship scheme, then finishing his Horticultural education at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.Throughout his career, Glyn has been Gardener in Charge at Tintinhull House in Somerset working alongside Penelope Hobhouse the Garden designer and writer. The next challenge was Peckover House in Cambridgeshire, working as Head Gardener and Property Manager. In 1999 Glyn took over the reins at Hidcote Manor Garden in Gloucestershire, one of the National Trusts flagship gardens. Glyn spent 17 years there, restoring missing features, improving the standards of Horticulture, and establishing environmental standards. He also initiated volunteering opportunities and establishing a garden apprenticeship scheme.Glyn joined the Shakespeare Birthplace trust as Head of Gardens in February 2016.
Panayoti is a plant explorer, gardener and public garden administrator and is Senior Curator and Director of Outreach at Denver Botanic Gardens. He has designed plantings for many of the gardens at DBG. He has introduced hundreds of native ornamentals from throughout the Western United States and Mexico to general horticulture. He has taken seven collecting trips to Southern Africa researching the high mountain flora there, as well as travels to the Andes, the Himalaya (from both Pakistan and China) and research throughout much of Europe, and Turkey. Thus far, five plants discovered by Panayoti have proved new to science.Panayoti has lectured in over 140 cities in ten countries; has won many awards; been featured regularly in television, newspaper and magazine pieces; has published widely in popular and technical horticultural journals and co-written and edited many books over the last 30 years.
After many years of dreaming through an office window Sally re-trained in horticulture at Hadlow College, Kent, as a mature student in the early ’80s. She gained a National Certificate of Horticulture (Distinction) in Nursery Practice, having first spent a mandatory year working in a family-owned garden centre in Westerham.She then worked as a propagator at Plaxtol Nurseries, Kent for 3 or 4 years before moving with her family to Somerset and opening Mill Cottage Plants in 1990.Over the past 15 years the nursery has concentrated on the Japanese Hydrangea serrata hybrids, as well as many other rare and unusual forms of Hydrangea. For the past 10 years Sally has also turned my attention to the growing genus of Epimedium.Sally has been a speaker on many gardening topics for over 25 years, not just in the south-west but also in the Channel Islands, Yorkshire, and southern Ireland. In 2007 she took a Propagation workshop at the International Hydrangea Conference in Ghent, and also addressed the CanWestHort Show on the subject of ‘Current Trends in British Horticulture’ in Vancouver, Canada, sponsored by The British Council. She is also a regular lecturer at West Dean College, Chichester.Sally has written articles on hydrangeas for ‘The Plantsman’, ‘The RHS Garden Magazine’ and several articles for ‘The English Garden’. Latterly she has written two articles for LandScape magazine, including one on epimediums in Spring 2017. There is another article in the pipeline for Gardens Illustrated, also on epimediums, for 2018.Her book, 'The Plant Lover's Guide to Epimediums' (Timber Press 2015) has been added to ‘Practical Propagation’ (Crowood Press 2008). She has also contributed items on Japanese gardens to ‘1001 Gardens to See Before you Die’ that was published in 2007.Sally has a 2½-acre garden which is planted to give them continual pleasure and is enjoyed by the 500 and more visitors welcomed each year under the National Gardens Scheme.
Author Tim Foster is an organic gardener, who teaches and works mainly in Bristol and the South West. A graduate in horticultural science and a qualified teacher, his in-depth experience and professional skills make him well equipped for encouraging others to engage in organic growing.He wrote and illustrated a book ‘Good Earth Growing, a friendly guide to growing vegetables organically’ in 2013.Tim practises what he preaches and tends a small garden at home in Bishopston and allotments near his home, on which he grows a range of veg that supplies his family for most of the year. The plots are also home to a whopping 35 varieties of apple, concentrating on "old" types which he says are "richer in flavour and more aromatic than modern apples" which are "poor by comparison".Tim is also a monthly columnist for the Bristol Evening Post and an allotment judge.
Tim joined the Staff of The University of Oxford Botanic Garden 1980 as a trainee gardener and in 1988 became the Horti Praefectus (Director) a post that he held for 26 years until July 2014 Tim is now lecturer in Plant Science at Somerville College, Oxford. In May 2011 he presented a BBC4 series on the history of botany. He has visited North Yorkshire, Ireland, Sweden, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Turkey, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, Australia, Seychelles, South Africa, Canada and America in search of plants. His particular interests are euphorbias, plant conservation and explaining why plants are fascinating and important.