Programme 2018-2019

Hester Forde

It's All About The Plants

Tuesday 9th October, 2018

Hester Forde


Hester’s Garden, ‘Coosheen’, situated on the Lee estuary in Cork harbour, houses an amazing collection of plants for its size. Described as 'a woodland garden in a suburban space', the garden is well known for being worthy of visiting at any time of year. 

Hester’s insatiable appetite for collecting plants makes this a must-see garden for the plant enthusiast. A series of raised beds and troughs are home to rare and unusual smaller perennials, alpines and bulbs.

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The High Line: Re-imagining the Accidental Landscape

Tuesday 13th November, 2018


Rick Darke

Before it was restored, the High Line in New York was an overgrown, abandoned landscape. Today it is a green retreat in a bustling city free for all to enjoy. But above all else, it is a beautiful, dynamic garden designed by Piet Oudolf.

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Grow Great Veg - and have fun!

Wednesday 5th December, 2018


Pippa Greenwood

Pippa Greenwood is a great fan of growing food and encouraging others to do so, with enough success to want to do it again and again. She'll be bringing a basket of veg and will talk her way through the basket with suggestions for growing tips and techniques, problem avoiding, and pests and diseases.

Pippa trained as a botanist at Durham University, and In 1985 joined the RHS, running the Plant Pathology Department at Wisley. She has been broadcasting since 1989 and is probably best known as a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time, but she has many regular writing commitments including  BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine.  Pippa has her own website, where she blogs and offers a garden advice service.

'Pests & Diseases' which she co-wrote, has just been totally re-vitalised with over 25 new problems, updated controls, and advice on resistant varieties.

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Weird Plants

Thursday 10th January, 2019


Chris Thorogood - Head of Science and Public Engagement, Oxford Botanic Garden

Dr Chris Thorogood explores the fascinating world in which plants trick, kill, steal and kidnap — plants you could scarcely imagine even exist. They drug, drown, masquerade and even do a confidence trick on sex-crazed bees.


This is a virtual guided tour of the weird plants around the world.


Chris researches the evolutionary genetics of plants at the University of Oxford Botanic Garden in close collaboration with the University of Oxford Department of Plant Sciences.

He says: 'I have been fascinated by plants for as long as I can remember. I spent much of my childhood growing bizarre and unusual plants including carnivores and parasites.'

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In the Footsteps of the Snow Leopard, Botanising in Central Asia

Monday 11th February, 2019


John Mitchell - Alpine Supervisor, Royal Botanic

Gardens, Edinburgh

John Mitchell has visited Central Asia many times. First to explore the Hindu Kush mountain range in Afghanistan, then to Tajikistan, a region rich in bulbous material, and also to Kyrgyzstan, a small but bio-diverse state. 

Irises abound in both Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, another of his destinations.

John, Alpine Supervisor at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, says that in his talk he tries to give a feel for Central Asia, looking at the people, the places, and principally the flowers that keep drawing him back.

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Highland Gathering

Tuesday 12th March, 2019


Ian Young - Past President of Scottish Rock Garden Club

With a lifelong interest in plants Ian Young and his wife Margaret have spent 40 years developing a well-stocked garden in Aberdeen; trees and shrubs with a rich underplanting of bulbs and woodland plants, with a progression of seasonal colour, texture and form. Most of the plants have been raised from seed. Ian is also experienced in alpines and rock gardens having developed various innovative ways of making troughs. Ian is also an artist and photographer and uses both these skills in the garden and his presentations. Highland Gathering looks at the evolution and philosophy of the garden.



Discovering the Home Place: making sense with plants, buildings and landscape

Monday 13th May, 2019


June Blake - one of the best plantswomen in Ireland

The very best gardens intrigue and restore us. So it is with June Blake's garden in West Wicklow.

In a previous life June was a gifted jewellery maker, giving her a keen eye for detail, an artist's appreciation of colour, texture and form.

Over time she has effected a massive change in her three acres.. The garden is now internationally acclaimed, attracting visitors from all over the world.

June will discuss how this plot has evolved over the last decade-and-a-half, from working farm to the garden it is today.  She will talk about the choice and use of plants and how to keep the garden flowing from one season to another.

She believes in change and momentum - while not sacrificing the spirit of the place.


Drawn to See

Thursday 25th April, 2019


Sarah Simblett - Botanical Artist, co-author of the New Sylva

Dr Sarah Simblett is a fine artist, writer, broadcaster and anatomist, She is the Ruskin's Tutor of Anatomy.

Inspired by John Evelyn's Sylva, the world's first comprehensive study of trees, silvologist Gabriel Hemery and artist Sarah have created a breathtaking contemporary version, intertwining science art and history.

The New Sylva describes the tree species that play a significant role in today's society.

Sarah is dedicated to sharing and encouraging visual intelligence in others.