Euphorbia x pasteurii and Hydrangea aspera ‘Hot Chocolate’

Programme 2021/22

We are just putting the finishing touches together for the 2021/22 programme of talks. Regulations permitting, we will return to holding them in person at Little Mill Village Hall, but will also include a number of Zoom talks with speakers from a wider group as these have proved so popular in the current season.

The first live talk at Little Mill is about to be booked. Directions to this venue on Membership Page

4th September 2021 2.30pm

‘My Favourite Gardens’

Stephen Anderton – Author, Broadcaster, Times Garden correspondent and one of the founders of Thinkigardens with its insightful and challenging articles

Stephen lives in Forest Coal Pit and is a celebrated author and journalist. Some of his books include Discovering Welsh Gardens (2009), Christopher Lloyd – His Life at Great Dixter (2010), Lives of the Great Gardeners (2016), Stourhead (2019). He lectures in UK and abroad, on plantsmanship, garden design and garden restoration. He also does TV and radio work and operates as a consultant. He trained as professional gardener, was later National Gardens Manager, English Heritage and has four Garden Media Guild Awards. With a lifetime writing about gardens, it will be fascinating to hear which are his favourites.

9th October 2021 2.30pm

The World of Bulbs

Rob Evans, Pheasant Acre Plants

Rob is the owner of Pheasant Acre Plants, an established family business operating from nursery premises near Bridgend. It specialises in the supply of Gladioli corms, Dahlia tubers, plugs and plants and bulbs for all seasons and it has received Gold Medal Awards for this produce at leading RHS and regional flower shows including the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. here is Rob describing growing gladioli in pots

Wednesday, 27th October 2021 7.30pm Zoom

A Tale of 3 Gardens

Troy Scott Smith, Head Gardener Sissinghurst Castle Garden

Troy has recently returned as Head Gardener at Sissinghurst for a third time. He is one of the country’s leading head gardeners, learning his craft over 35 years working in some of the best gardens in the UK. Coming from a family of committed naturalists, Troy’s approach is informed by his appreciation of the artistic merits of garden making and gardening with his love and fascination of nature. Head gardener since 1997, Troy has led the renaissance at both Bodnant and Sissinghurst and recently worked at Iford Manor.

His talk will cover his experiences as Head Gardener at Bodnant, The Courts Garden and, of course, Sissinghurst.

13th November 2021 2.30pm

The Castle Gardens, St Fagans

Ceri Goring, Gardening Conservator

St Fagans Castle has one of the most important historic gardens in Wales. It is a multi-period, extensive garden in compartments and terraces. There is an underlying Tudor structure, but the layout is now predominantly Victorian and Edwardian, retaining much of its structural planting. It is now the National History Museum of Wales.

The courtyard gardens have a central walk with pleached limes, planted in 1901. There are several inter-connecting compartment gardens on the north side of the house. These are divided by walls and hedges. The formal garden areas include the knot garden (dating from 1950), herb garden (dated to 1901), the mulberry grove and, nearest the house, the parterre or Dutch garden. There is a Rosery east of the herb and knot gardens. This was restored in 1998-99.

There is a kitchen garden to the north of the house, beyond which is the Italian garden. This was laid out at the turn of the 20th century in Arts and Crafts style. There is a raised water tank with a number of water jets, herbaceous borders, stone paving and a raised terrace. This garden was restored around 2000, and opened in 2003.

11th December 2021. 2.30pm

Willow Weaving Workshop

Amanda Rayner, Wyldwood Willow

Amanda owns Wyldwood Willow, a small company based in Monmouthshire.

She made her first basket over 20 years ago and specialises in creating natural handwoven willow products using traditional skills with a modern twist. In this workshop she will share her expertise for you to put into practice.

Those of you who’ve been members for while will know that we usually do something seasonal and different for the festive season. This workshop should be fun as we all create something to take home.  

15th January 2022 2.30pm Zoom

Protecting the UK from Plant Pests and Diseases

Dr Nicola Spence, Chief Plant Health Officer, DEFRANicola is a graduate Botanist with a PhD in plant virology. She was a scientific researcher in plant virology at Horticulture Research International and Fera, was Chief Executive of Science City York and became Chief Plant Health Officer in 2014. She is also Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health.

Nicola has made several media appearances in relation to her work at Defra. In April 2016 she appeared on the Today Programme to discuss the finding of a resistant  ashtree in Norfolk and has also appeared on the BBC Countryfile programme. She has also been a guest on Farming Today discussing tree diseases in the UK. In 2016, she was involved in the management of the Asian hornet outbreak response, and appeared on the  World at One to explain Asian hornet biology and the Defra response to the outbreak.

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