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The Home of Horticultural Heroines

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Line-up for Women in Horticulture panel discussion for London Open Squares 7 June

Absolutely delighted to be on this panel of some of the very best 'gardening women' in this country! Come and join us at Coutts in the Strand in aid of Open Garden Squares weekend on Thursday 7 June #womeninhorticulture @OpenSquares including Sarah Eberle, Charlotte Harris, Charlotte Rowe, Juliet Sergeant, Miranda Kimberley and Clare Foggett

Link to Women in Horticulture panel discussion


New exhibition at Sissinghurst on Gardening Women

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I'm delighted to have had the opportunity to curate this exhibition at Sissinghurst. It is free to visitors of this world-famous garden and runs from 5 May until 21 October. Highlights include a beautiful suffrage banner embroidered by Gertrude Jekyll and one of Vita Sackville-West's own garden notes which, we believe, has never been publically displayed before. 


Tickets now on Sale for my Garden Museum Lives and Legacies Talk on Beth Chatto with Matthew Wilson and Tim Richardson, Tues 14 November

 

BC with wild flowers

Beth Chatto has devoted her life to being a pioneer of species plants and ecological planting. Across the world, the idea of 'right plant, right place' can be traced back to her Gold-medal winning stands at Chelsea during the 1970s and '80s, her books, her nursery and, most particularly, her famous damp and dry gardens at Elmstead Market in Essex, created out of farmland from the 1960s. 'Her breathtaking garden ... should be a place of pilgrimage for all of us', believes Fergus Garrett. Fellow Garden Museum Archive donor John Brookes feels 'Beth's plants, her plantings and her writing have captivated not only me but the whole horticultural world.'

 

Catherine Horwood, Beth Chatto’s authorised biographer, will discuss different aspects of Chatto’s career, including her early influences from Sir Cedric Morris to flower arranging, her Chelsea years, her travels and long-lasting friendships including most famously with Christopher Lloyd, and the worldwide legacy of her gravel garden with its ecological heritage. She, along with Matthew Wilson, writer, horticulturist and designer, who was greatly influenced by Beth Chatto during his time as curator at RHS Hyde Hall in Essex, and Tim Richardson, garden historian and landscape critic, will pull out photographs and other ephemera from her collection which has been donated to the Archive to discuss the enduring legacy of Chatto's work.

 

For full details, timings and ticket prices, follow this link:

https://gardenmuseum.org.uk/product/7th-november-lives-legacies-beth-chatto/


My new favourite website - 'Women Who Farm'

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Here is a website and blog that's really fun, beautiful to look at and full of imaginative advice - take a look at www.womenwhofarm.com

This is what they say about themselves:

Strong women of sustainable agriculture.

Imagine an organic farming revolution. One that builds soil rather than depletes it and saves seed rather than destroys it. Right now, millions of women are behind this work. They believe in tomorrow. And their work is changing the world.

Women Who Farm supports and celebrates those who do this necessary work. We bring resources, community, and shared story.

 

But they do more than that and I look forward to hearing how they plan to fund raise for farming in Syria and other war-torn countries. And it's about gardening as well: here's a link to a recent blog:

http://www.womenwhofarm.com/potager-gardens-have-been-around-for-centuries-and-continue-the-old-traditions-of-growing/

All well worth a read. 


Heroines of Horticultural talk on Kensington Rooftop Gardens Sunday 16 July 2017

 

This looks like a terrific event and a great opportunity to visit the beautiful Roof Gardens in Kensington as well: 

An all-female line-up of names from the forefront of the gardening world will discuss some of the challenges and opportunities for women in the industry. Just how tough is it to be a female Head Gardener of some of the country's most iconic gardens?

The talk will be followed by an open discussion and a chance for audience members to ask questions. Tickets cost £10 for members and £15 for non-members with all ticket proceeds going to The Roof Gardens’ nominated charity, Starlight Children’s Foundation*.

Follow this link to buy tickets for this event on Sunday 16 July 2017 from 9 am to 12 noon.

The panel will be chaired by Clare Foggett, Editor of The English Garden magazine, who will be joined by leading female figures including Andrea Brunsendorf, Beatrice Krehl and Pilar Medrano-Dell.

Andrea (below) was the first female Head Gardener appointed at London's Inner Temple Garden, and knows first-hand what it means to break the mould in a male-dominated industry. She trained in horticulture with a traditional German apprenticeship before working at botanic and ornamental gardens across the world including Kirstenbosch (South Africa), Longwood (USA) and Kew Gardens (UK).

Andrea Brusendorf

Beatrice Krehl (below) was former Head Gardener at Waltham Place and is a self-employed gardening consultant. After working closely with iconic ‘Dutch Wave’ gardener Henk Gerritsen, she also has a long trajectory working in iconic gardens in Germany, Holland and the UK. 

Beatrice Krehl

Pilar Medrano-Dell (below) is The Roof Gardens' very own Head Gardener. Pilar joined the team after holding positions at Wrest Park, Moggerhanger Park, and The Barcelona Botanic Garden. Her passion for sustainability and promoting the gardening industry amongst young people has contributed to various award successes for The Roof Gardens since she joined the team in 2015.

Pilar Medrano-Dell

 *Starlight grants once-in-a-lifetime wishes for seriously and terminally ill children.

 

 

 

 

 

 


The re-birth of Ellen Willmott's Italian garden

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The pavilion at Villa Boccanegra © Felice Piacenza

Fascinating article by Robin Lane Fox in the Financial Times this week - Italy's Villa Boccanegra and the ghost of Miss Willmott. Lots of stories about Ellen Willmott's extravagances - she filled it with plants and flowers but only spent a month a year there. We also hear about the saviour of the garden - Miss Willmott's third - Ursula Piacenza. On the Italian/French border just near Ventimiglia, it sounds as though Miss Willmott's ghost must be very happy.

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East terrace with Agathis robusta © Felice Piacenza


Going potty about houseplant pots

Blowing my own trumpet this week because I've had great fun talking to Guardian gardening editor's Jane Perrone's weekly podcast On the Ledge on everything you've always wanted to know about houseplants. We're chatting about the history of houseplants in the home and especially the pots used. When did that start? You'll have to listen! Or for more historical background to plants in the home, see my book, Potted History

Find us at On the Ledge Episode Six

Houseplants


Top award for Xa Tollemache

Enormous congratulations to Xa Tollemache whose fabulous gardens at Helmingham Hall, Suffolk, are just about to be named 'Garden of the Year 2017' by the Historic Houses Association. This is a prestigious award, voted for by visitors, that goes to the very best garden open to the public by owners of some of the most beautiful house in Britain.

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I visit Helmingham regularly as it is also home to one of the best plant fairs in East Anglia in aid of Plant Heritage. Run twice a year, the first in 2017 will be on 28 May from 10am to 4pm. Loads of specialist nurseries - it's impossible to come away empty-handed!

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For more details on the award, follow this link: 

Mulch admired: garden of the year award goes to Helmingham Hall

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Photographs © Catherine Horwood


How much can you grow in a small city garden?

I'm in the process of downsizing my garden from a third of an acre country plot to a roof terrace five floors up in central London. So needless to say, I leapt to read Carolyn Dunster's new book Urban Flowers. Creating abundance in a small city garden (Frances Lincoln)

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Carolyn's both a florist and a designer of small gardens and her sense of style comes through on every page photographed by the brilliant Jason Ingram. I particularly loved her chapter 'Experimenting with colour' with inspiration suggestions from sulky purples and blues to zingy red and orange planting schemes.

I think this is a brilliant book for someone fairly new to gardening - an upsizer perhaps going from a flat to a garden rather than a downsizer like me who has years of plant-loving to cut down on. It's packed with loads of ideas for evaluating what space you've got and choosing a style to suit your surroundings and your lifestyle. There's even a final chapter on cutting, drying and harvesting flowers from your garden as one would expect given the popularity for 'growing your own' these days. Carolyn shows that it can be done even in the small city patch. Maybe, just maybe, I'll learned to see a small garden as a blessing after all!