Past Speakers 2019
18th November SPECIAL LECTURE
Adam Frost - Adam’s Journey
Award-winning garden designer Adam Frost has created gardens across the world. His infectious passion, flair for designing timeless spaces and appetite to share his knowledge has made him a popular television presenter, writer and lecturer.
Adam was introduced to gardening at an early age by his Grandparents. In 1991 he started working for Geoff Hamilton at Barnsdale in Rutland. Geoff gave Adam the opportunity to train in garden design and to create many of the gardens that can be found at Barnsdale.
In 1996 Adam established his own design and landscaping business and built show gardens. His first solo Chelsea garden and gold medal came in 2007 and since then he has won a further six Chelsea gold medals.
Adam has been a regular presenter on Gardeners’ World for more than 2 years and also appears on BBC coverage of RHS Flower Shows. His 5-acre garden regularly features on the programme as he continues to redevelop it.
21st October 2019 Barnsdale after Geoff 1996 – present day Nick Hamilton
Nick Hamilton developed his passion for gardening, aged 9, when his father purchased a derelict garden centre in Kettering. He worked with his dad at weekends and during school holidays.
He trained at Writtle College in commercial horticulture and his sandwich year placement was at Darby Nursery Stock in Norfolk where he later worked and at other nurseries until his father purchased a piece of land, adjacent to Barnsdale, in 1989. This land formed the nursery and ultimately part of Barnsdale Gardens and Nick worked closely with his father in the family business.
Nick took over the running of Barnsdale Gardens when Geoff died and has developed it into the inspirational garden that it is today. These inspirational gardens are still run using organic and peat-free. You will find Nick at Barnsdale on most days, occupying the “hands on” role he so enjoys.
Over the years Nick has also managed to fit in appearances on Gardeners’ World, writing books, being a regular contributor to gardening magazines, talking to gardening groups, W.I’s, etc, contributing to the various Talks Stages at major flower shows, as well as tutoring most of the courses being run at Barnsdale. On top of all this he is still creating Gold Medal winning displays in the Great Pavilion at The Chelsea Flower Show and in the Floral Marquee at the Gardeners’ World Live Show. Nick is also the President of The Cottage Garden Society, a position he took up in 2007.
16th September Life on a Gardening Magazine Tamsin Westhorpe
Tamsin Westhorpe is well known as an editor, garden writer and lecturer. However, she prefers to be known as a gardener. Throughout her 25 year horticultural career she has focused on the practicalities of gardening. She is proud to say that she’s been a parks gardener and green keeper and is very at home at the potting bench.
Her written work has been featured in many national publications including Gardeners’ World, Gardens Illustrated, Amateur Gardening and The Telegraph. She was previously Editor of The English Garden magazine and lecturer at Kingston Maurwood College in Dorset.
She started her gardening career at the age of 16 working for her great uncle John Treasure of Burford House Gardens in Worcestershire. Alongside her freelance work and being a mother Tamsin runs Stockton Bury Gardens in Herefordshire with her Uncles and is currently training to be an RHS judge.
Her passion is to demystify gardening and encourage people to have jolly good fun in their garden.
19th August Elizabeth Sawday What a lovely thing a rose is.
Elizabeth Sawday grows roses on the Chichester plain in a little village called Apuldram.
Elizabeth grew up just down the road in Birdham and her first love was ponies and horses. She hated school, left early and started working from 15 years old; she graduated over the years from picking tomatoes, looking after children, waitressing and even tried a spell at college attempting to become a farm secretary. Her first proper job was at ICI plant protection group as a filing clerk. Elizabeth fell into rose growing by accident. After leaving ICI to have her first child she began helping her Mother in Law who had started Apuldram Roses a few years earlier. When she retired in 1999 she gave the company to Elizabeth and Jonathan, her middle son. Over the years they have taken the roses to most of the big RHS shows, building displays to show off their roses to their best. They finally got their first gold medal in 2009 at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Whilst at the shows Elizabeth have taken part in question times or given talks, the most daunting and enjoyable of which was at RHS headquarters in Vincent Square. Apuldram Roses grow 35,000 roses incorporating 200 plus varieties. Elizabeth’s mission is to take away the mysteries of rose growing, to persuade you it’s not all hard work and to leave you feeling far more confident about planting and growing roses in your own gardens. Her father always said “find something you love to do because you’ll spend a long time doing it”, wise words.
15th July Andrew Mikolajski The March of the Women
Andrew Mikolajski has a busy career as a gardening author, lecturer and speaker.
Author of over 30 books, he was a horticultural adviser on the new edition of the RHS A–Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants and is now an RHS judge.
Other titles include The World Encyclopedia of Apples, RHS Pruning Plant by Plant and, most recently, Permaculture.
He has contributed to Gardens Illustrated, Intelligent Life and Slate.com
He has taught garden design and RHS certificate at Warwickshire College, and garden history at the English Gardening School and is a speaker for the Historic Houses Association.
When not writing or lecturing, he can be found battling an east wind and heavy clay soil in his Northamptonshire garden.
17th June 2019 Chris Watts Trees of Tyntesfield - Past Present and Future
Chris Watts has been a volunteer Estate Guide at Tyntesfield since 2006 and it didn’t take him long to realise how fascinating the trees are. He knew very little about trees when he started but is now introduced to people as the ‘Tree Man’; Tyntesfield’s very own (very amateur!) dendrologist.
Not too long after Chris started volunteering he was asked to help input details of Tyntesfield’s trees into the National Trust’s main plant database and has been doing that ever since. He also measures many of the trees and passes on the details of any potential champion trees to the Tree Register of the British Isles for inclusion in their records. The Trust is in the process of changing databases so no doubt he will be busy.
All this is a far cry from his day job of a television Director of Photography from which he be retiring in April 2019 after 50 years of making TV.
©National Trust Images / Alana Wright
20th May 2019 Toria Britten From Cutting Garden to Bouquet
Toria Britten is an enthusiastic flower grower and floral designer.
She supplies wildly beautiful flowers for weddings and events, teaching is also a passion and workshops are held throughout the growing season.
‘Leading the Flowers’ from the Farm Gold Medal winning flower team at Chelsea was an honour and highlight of 2018.
15th April 2019 Val Bourne The Living Jigsaw Explained
Val Bourne is a celebrated garden writer, photographer and lecturer. She has won multiple awards including Journalist of the Year from the Garden Media Guild.
Val is a regular contributor to The Daily Telegraph, among others, and she gardens on the wind-swept Cotswolds at Spring Cottage – high above Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire.
Val is a hands on gardener and a committed plantaholic and she manages her third of an acre garden without using any chemicals at all – something she has always believed in.
Her newest book, The Living Jigsaw published by Kew, explains how it all works. Val is an Ambassador for the Hardy Plant Society.
18th March 2019 Jack Willgoss
The Wonderful World of Hardy Perennial and Scented Violas
The talk will include their history, how to grow them, planting ideas and an overview of some of the best varieties from our collection.
Wildegoose Nursery started back in 2011 as specialist growers of hardy perennial and scented violas.
The Violas remain at the heart of our business, but our passion for plants has always extended beyond this to encompass a diverse range of flowering perennials and grasses.
Plants are propagated on site from seed, cuttings and divisions and we garden in sympathy with nature and do not use chemicals.
This talk is dedicated to the memory of Judith Codrington, a much loved Fagus member who requested it and sadly died in 2018.
18th February 2019 AGM Chris Sperring (short talk) Climate change and wildlife
Chis Sperring MBE is Conservation Officer for the Hawk and Owl Trust, as well as a popular wildlife lecturer and broadcaster. He is a dedicated conservationist who lives in Portishead with his family. Chris is a passionate speaker whose inspiring talks are always well received
21st January 2019
Rob Potterton, Nursery Challenge - An amusing light hearted nursery and plant orientated quiz.
Rob Potterton with his wife Jackie have worked together since 1984 at the family specialist nursery in North Lincolnshire offering Alpines, Dwarf Bulbs and Woodland plants to visitors, at plant fairs and by mail order throughout UK and Europe. The nursery has previously exhibited ten times at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and received 7 Gold medals, as well as numerous awards at other prestigious events.
Rob has recently been received the Sir William & Lady Lawrence Award from the Alpine Garden Society for his extensive work with Alpines. He is also well known for his excellent and informative lectures and his ability to engender enthusiasm generally for alpine & rockery plants.