Speakers for 2022-23 May 2022 Andrewjohn Stephenson Clarke -Borde Hill Gardens are situated in historic parkland in West Sussex. The Elizabethan mansion was purchased in 1893 by Colonel Stephenson Robert Clarke (known as Stephie), who set about creating the garden and woodland using plants from several continents brought back to England by the great plant hunters of the early 1900s. Over a century and three generations later, Borde Hill remains in the ownership of the family, and is renowned for its collection of rare shrubs and trees. Andrewjohn Stephenson Clarke, great grandson of Colonel Clarke spoke to us about the gardens and his new book which is the the first book about Borde Hill Gardens
April 2022 Russel Bowes -The Tale of the Tulip In the middle of the 14th century, a beautiful and exotic visitor from the east set foot on European soil for the very first time.Her beauty became the stuff of legend, and she could bring prestige and riches to anyone who courted her favour. But within 150 years she would fall from grace within the course of a single week.
Our Speakers for 2021-2022
May 2021 Lucinda Willard In May we were able to travel, via the internet, to Sparoza, the beautiful Mediterranean Garden Lucinda Willand manages near Athens in mainland Greece. She told us how Mary Jaqueline Tyrwhitt had the Sparoza house built and set about transforming a barren landscape into a beautiful garden which could survive despite these dry conditions. Sally Razelou later took over as custodian of the gardens and further developed them and now Lucinda has taken up the baton as head gardener. https://www.instagram.com/sparozagarden/?hl=en
September 2021 Mark Saunders’ spoke about ‘Garden Inspiration’; showing us how we can gain inspiration by visiting other people’s gardens, from the very large and famous, down to tiny little gems that we’ve probably never heard of. Mark is also an award-winning photographerand his talk was accompanied by great photos.
November 2021 Julian Dormady from Bedgebury Pinetum spoke about his Plant collecting trips and links with other Botanical Garden around the world - a vital part of environmental conservation.
Covid closed us down for the first part of 2020, but we managed a few Zoom meetings when we were able to meet online and chat about our gardens - we sometimes even had speakers...
February 2021 Vivian Yule joined us on Zoom to tell us all about the wildflowers we can see on our walks around Lewes. We hope to walk with her in the warmer weather so we can see the flowers .ourselves.
Our Speakers for 2019-2020 Geoff Stonebanks. Geoff has an award winning garden, ‘Driftwood’ in Bishopstone near Seaford. He appears on radio and television and is publicity officer for the National Gardens Scheme in East & Mid Sussex.
Steven Moore. Steven Moore is the owner of Rapkyns N ursery, a cottage garden nursery specialising in perennials, shrubs, climbers and grasses all grown on site at Broad Oak, near Heathfield. Kate Bradbury. Kate Bradbury is the author of The Wildlife Gardener and The Bumblebee flies Anyway. She gardens on a small patch of land in Brighton. She writes for a number of publications including The Guardian and has been on Gardeners’ Question Time. Melissa Hay. A member of the society and a Lewes resident, Melissa is a garden historian and design consultant. She has been making and designing gardens for three decades and has visited gardens all over the world. Fiona Dennis. Another member of the society and resident of Lewes, Fiona is the Head Gardener at Charleston Farmhouse. David Fitton. David Fitton MBE and Fellow of the Institute of Horticulture is a garden adviser and consultant He was Head of Horticulture at Plumpton College for ten years and is now Garden Adviser to Paradise Park in Newhaven. Nigel Phillips. Nigel is an award winning Landscape and Garden Designer and an ex-chairman of Lewes & District Garden Society. He runs courses, professional and amateur, in garden design at Plumpton College.
Our Speakers for 2018/19
Michael Blencowe. Michael is the Sussex Wildlife Trust’s Community Wildlife Officer and author of The Butterflies of Sussex, with Neil Hulme.
Tom Stone. Tom was raised at Mottisfont, where his father was Head Gardener. He started his working life there and then went to the Harold Hillier Arboretum, and later to a private estate where he was Head Gardener. He is a member of the Professional Gardeners’ Guild and of the Institute of Horticulture.
Val Bourne. Val is a regular columnist with The Daily Telegraph and Saga Magazine and the author of many books, including Colour in the Garden, The Ten Minute Gardener’s Vegetable Growing Diary and her latest, The Living Jigsaw; the secret life in your garden.
Geoff Dann. After being made redundant from a software company, Geoff studied Philosophy at Sussex University but has since gone on to make a career out of his passion for seeking out fungi. He lives in Hastings and as well as talking about fungi, he takes people on foraging forays and published Edible Mushrooms in 2016, the most comprehensive guide available.
Emily Rae. Emily Rae runs, with her mother Isobel, Plants4Presents, an on-line family business in Fletching which grows and sends out over 100 different flowering and fruiting plants. The business won a silver medal at Hampton Court this year.
Vivienne Macey. Vivienne is a trained gardener and has worked as a volunteer gardener in the Glyndebourne gardens for 6 years. The gardens are ever changing and Vivienne feels very privileged to be part of such a special place where opera and plants meet . Vivienne has a passion for roses and all unusual plants especially Salvias. Vivienne conducts garden tours and is currently designing and planting her own back garden in Lewes .
Chloe Anthony. Chloe is a tutor at Brighton Permaculture Trust, based at Stanmer Park. She has studied Permaculture Design in London and became interested through Transition Town Lewes. She is passionate about design and Forest Communities.
Lesley Baker is a qualified Tree Surgeon (NCH Arb) with over 20 years experience. She trained with the National Trust and established GB Tree Surgery in 1989.
May: Alison Marsden - Gardening with more impact for less effort.
Alison combines horticultural knowledge with practical experience to explain the Why as well as the How of gardening. She has been advising gardeners since 2004. Kent Adult Education gardening tutor since 2010.
June: Jacqueline Aviolet - History and propagation of Asters.
Jacqueline is in her 24th year of running Rosie's Garden Plants. In addition to asters, the nursery specialises in buddleias and hardy geraniums and is mail order only . She will bring along plants to sell and cuttings too.
September: Juliet Sargeant - My Chelsea Garden
Garden Designer with an award winning garden at RHS Wisley; Last year she won a Gold Medal at the Chelsea Flower Show. She is joint author of The New Naturalism and chair of the Society of Garden Designers. She has recently been working with Dave Myers of the Hairy Bikers on a BBC1 programme.
October: Mark Saunders - An A-Z of great garden plants
Professional gardener with over thirty years horticultural experience. Mark is currently head gardener at Fittleworth House in West Sussex
November: Dr David Marsh - The Opposite of Chelsea-The Garden Design Show at Chaumont in France
Researcher, lecturer, writer. He gardens on 5 acres in France & a postage stamp in London. PhD (London 2005) on "The gardens and gardeners of later Stuart London". Convenor of the gardens & landscapes seminar at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.
February: Nigel Philips - The Gardens of Harold Peto
A garden designer working in the landscape design profession in the south of England. Lecturer in garden design and garden design history at Plumpton College. He has led garden tours across Europe including Italy, France and Spain and is currently a Fellow of the Society of Garden Designers. Nigel is also a past Chairman of the Society.
Lesley Chamberlain trained in horticulture at Brinsbury Agricultural College and later qualified as a garden designer. She has travelled the world as Horticultural Speaker on cruise ships as well as talking to many horticultural groups in south east England. Lesley is one of the assistant organizers for West Sussex for the County Gardens Scheme. She will talk on Secret gardens of Sussex in April.
Caroline Ikin is a garden and landscape historian and works for The Gardens Trust. She has a MA in Garden History from Birkbeck College and is author of The Victorian Garden and The Victorian Gardener, both published by Shire Books, as well as numerous articles and reviews. She is a Trustee of the Sussex Gardens Trust and a member of the SGT Research Group. Her husband was head gardener at Nymans and has also been to talk to us. She will talk about Victorian gardens in May.
Joanne Carnell completed her degree in Conservation Biology at the University of Plymouth and is currently working for a part time Master's degree at the University of Brighton. Her main interest is in the conservation value of urban greenspace (our gardens amongst other places!) and different wildlife gardening techniques. She will tell us about Wildlife gardening for bees and other pollinators in June Paul Templeton has worked as a professional gardener for over 40 years - and is now a dedicated amateur gardener having retired from paid employment. He has taught Horticulture, Soil Science and Plant Science for more than 30 years and still loves to pass on his knowledge and experience to any audience. He has an MSc in Soil/Plant Science and continues his lifelong learning on the subject as a hobby. His talk on Fruit growing in the ground and in containers will be in September Graham Gough hardly needs an introduction, his nursery, Marchants Hardy Plants, frequently appears in lists of best British Nurseries. He is also a gifted tenor and can still occasionally be heard singing oratorios in the county. He started his career as a nurseryman working for, and then with, Elizabeth Strangman at the famed Washfield Nursery in Kent. In 1998, with his partner, textile artist Lucy Goffin, he started Marchants Hardy Plants in Laughton. He breeds, selects and raises his own plant varieties. He will discuss Late flowering perennials in October. Marcus Dancer is a nurseryman growing a wide range of plants including herbaceous perennials, shrubs, climbers and clematis. Marcus grows many of the plants himself and his website, www.clematisplants.co.uk contains lots of information about his plants. If anybody wants anything from the list, you can contact him and he will bring it to the talk on Climbing plants for sun and shade in November Dr Barbara Simms is a garden and landscape historian with a particular interest in the history, conservation and interpretation of gardens of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. She contributes to courses for the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and is Course Director for the MA in Garden and Landscape History.