Talks

I regularly give talks to gardening clubs and societies all over the South-West and further afield, and I’m available for bookings for a reasonable fee plus travel expenses.

Please scroll down for the full list of current topics, then contact me by email for more details and to make a booking.

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Upcoming talks in 2019:

27 August: Hilmarton Gardening Club, Wiltshire ~ 2 September: Royal Wootton Bassett Amateur Gardening Club, Wiltshire ~ 11 September: All Cannings & District Garden & Countryside Club, Wiltshire ~  25 September: Ipplepen Gardening Club, Devon ~ 8 October: Wiveliscombe Gardening Club, Somerset ~ 15 October: Mosterton Gardening Club, Dorset ~ 17 October: Penselwood Gardening Club, Somerset ~ 23 October: Stoke-sub-Hamdon Gardening Club, Somerset ~ 1 November: Wiltshire Hardy Plants Society ~ 6 November: Freshford & District Horticultural Society, Somerset ~ 26 November: Yealm Garden Society, Devon

Upcoming talks in 2020:

8 January: Broadhembury Gardening Club, Devon ~ 27 February: Winsley & District Gardening Club, Wiltshire ~ 14 March: Chedington & South Perrott Gardening Club, Dorset ~ 16 March: Bruton & District Horticultural Society, Somerset ~ 24 March: Cerne Abbas Society for Horticulture, Dorset ~ 22 April: Hardington Garden Club, Somerset ~ 1 May: Wincanton & District Gardeners’ Association, Somerset ~ 11 May: Chulmleigh & District Garden Society, Devon ~ 13 May: Combe Martin Gardening Club, Devon ~ 2 June: Pewsey Garden Club, Wiltshire ~ 3 June: Henleaze Garden Society, Bristol ~ 10 June: Shaw & Whitley Garden Club, Wiltshire ~ 21 July: Hazelbury Bryan Gardening Club, Dorset ~ 1 September: Pilning & Severn Beach Gardeners’ Club, Somerset ~  17 September: West Down Gardening Club, Devon ~ 8 October: East Coker Gardening Club, Somerset ~ 13 October: Lydford & District Gardening Club, Somerset ~ 16 October: Chase Gardening Club, Monmouthshire ~ 12 November: Plant Heritage, Dorset ~ 17 November: Valley Gardeners, Hampshire ~  19 November: Dulverton Gardening Club, Somerset ~ 25 November: Uplyme & Lyme Regis Horticultural Society, Dorset

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TALK TOPICS

Gardening without Plastic ~ A World Under our Feet ~ Heritage vegetables ~ A Rogue’s Gallery for Gardeners ~ Behind the Scenes at Chelsea ~ Growing Veg in Small Spaces ~ A Beginner’s Guide to Self Sufficiency ~ Year Round Veg Growing

naturalgardener_coirpots

GARDENING WITHOUT PLASTIC *new*

The thousands of tons of plastic polluting our oceans and beaches are having a devastating effect on marine ecosystems. Yet UK gardeners currently get through about 500 million plastic pots every single year – as well as countless plastic plant labels, seed trays, bedding plant trays, polythene cloches….

Ever since 2017 I have been working to reduce, and where possible eliminate the plastic from my garden. I’ve written about my experiences each month throughout 2019 for The Garden (the RHS journal) and this talk is all about how you can too can garden without plastic.

Available as a hands-on demonstration of different plastic-free gardening methods (this involves potting compost so can be slightly messy!), or as a slideshow.

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chalkysoilA WORLD UNDER OUR FEET *new*

We know more about the surface of the Moon than we do about what goes on in the soil under our feet. Yet your garden soil underpins everything you do: it governs how your plants grow, which plants will thrive in your garden, and what pests and diseases you’re most likely to come across. Learn to look after it and treat it with the respect it deserves, and your garden will thrive.

This talk is a peep into a magical world in which plants ‘talk’ to each other and ants are giants. I’ll also let you know how you can best look after your soil so it can look after your plants. Following the slideshow, I can also demonstrate how to carry out a basic soil test – with the chance for club members to get their soil tested, too

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heligan2HERITAGE VEGETABLES

Heritage vegetables have been handed down from generation to generation, rich with history and sometimes with some quirky stories attached, too.

This talk explores the wonderful history, flavours and stories behind our oldest vegetable varieties, and looks at what exactly we mean by a ‘heritage’ vegetable: superior flavour? a good story? or something else altogether?

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A ROGUE’S GALLERY FOR GARDENERS

A talk packed with practical advice on organic ways of tackling pests and diseases, including ways to prevent them from attacking your plot in the first place, and how to limit the damage if and when they do.

I’ll give first-hand examples from my own long experience in fighting off the most commonly encountered pests on both ornamental and edible plants, rounding off with the top 10 pests and diseases encountered by the RHS Advice Service each year, and how to cope if you encounter them in your garden.

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Andy Sturgeon's garden, Chelsea 2012BEHIND THE SCENES AT CHELSEA

Every year I go to the world’s greatest flower show as a journalist, spending much of the week there and working alongside exhibitors, designers, contractors and RHS show staff, and often spending time at the showground outside official opening hours.

It gives me a unique insight into life ‘behind the scenes’ at Chelsea. This is a slide show including lots of anecdotes and insights into the side of the show the public doesn’t get to see, including plenty of gorgeous (and some not so gorgeous!) photos of Chelsea past and present.

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Malvern Spring Flower Show

GROWING VEG IN SMALL SPACES

Gardens are getting smaller and smaller these days – but that doesn’t mean you have to limit your dreams to grow your own food.

This slideshow is packed with ideas I’ve collected from shows, by visiting other people’s gardens and by trying it out in my own garden.

You’ll hear about techniques such as vertical gardening, keyhole gardening and square-foot gardening to make the most of even the tiniest spaces, plus recommendations on the best varieties to grow and advice on how to pack the most veg into the least space imaginable.

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A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO SELF-SUFFICIENCY

The good life can be yours – even if you don’t have acres of land to call your own (you don’t even need a garden).

This talk tells you how to take your first steps towards self-sufficiency, starting your journey with just a few pots on the patio. I’ll then help you expand the dream just as much as you want to: you’ll hear about how to make what you’ve got work hard for you and ways to get your hands on land even when you don’t own any yourself. You’ll also hear how it’s quite possible to produce more than ‘just’ veg, from garden sundries to honey, eggs and meat, using just the resources you have around you, no major lifestyle change required.

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13_saladboxYEAR-ROUND VEG GROWING

It’s easy enough to grow veg in the summer – but what about keeping your garden productive through winter, and, even worse, the dreaded ‘hungry gap’ of early spring?

This talk tells you how to maximise the produce from your garden all year round, so you have something to pick every day of the year from January to December. I’ll explain clever techniques for extending the season at both ends, plus share my tips for the best crops to grow so you never go short of delicious fresh produce for your plate.

 

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