Garden Lecture Days

We are delighted to offer another series of Garden Lecture Days in the coming year with some highly respected and entertaining speakers, many of whom are new to The Coach House.

Details of the lecturers and the programme are set out below as well as a copy of the brochure and the booking form.

To book places or for more information please contact Mel Tanner Tel: 01285 850256


Programme of Garden Lecture Days

 Wednesday 13th March: £100

Tom Duncan: 
Re-imagining the garden: Colour, Paintings and Plants


Colour is one of the most significant and subjective elements of any planting scheme, often evoking an emotional response as well as prompting strong opinion. By exploring some of the world’s greatest paintings, from Pompeii to Rothko, and looking critically at a selection of the most influential gardens in the UK and Ireland, Tom Duncan will draw on his experience both as an art historian and passionate gardener to demonstrate how colour and colour combination can be used to maximum effect in our gardens. Tom founded Ciceroni in 1999 and it’s programme of cultural tours reflect his interest and expertise in Art History, Archaeology, Music and Horticulture.



Jimi Blake:
A Plantsman’s Pick: Exciting and Long Blooming Perennials sourced from the Best Nurseries in Europe


Jimi Blake has created one of the most imaginative and dynamic gardens of the 21st Century. Set below the mountains in County Wicklow, Hunting Brook houses one of Ireland’s largest private collections of plants with five acres of theatrically bold, large scale herbaceous planting and a further fifteen of sensitively planted woodland and valley. In this talk Jimi will take us on a journey through the newest and most exciting perennials in his collection and explain how he incorporates these choicest of plants into his planting schemes. Jimi’s style of gardening has been described as visionary and mesmerizing and his talks are equally charismatic and captivating. Be prepared for your plant wish list to explode!

Thursday 11th April: £100

Matthew Wilson: 
How to Garden in an Ever-Changing Climate

Photo Credit: Nathalie Jouan

After a year of challenging weather, we are all conscious that gardening today involves adapting to an unpredictable climate. Matthew Wilson tackles this problem from a very practical point of view, and shows us how to work with nature rather than against it, at the same time reducing our impact on the environment. With a background of over twenty years as a Garden Designer, and working extensively in the media, both as gardening correspondent to the Financial Times and as a television presenter and regular panellist on Radio 4’s Gardener’s Question Time, Matthew’s knowledge is extensive and packed with sensible, down to earth advice.



Kevin Hughes:
Spring into Early Summer


Having wowed the audience with his evening lecture last year Kevin returns to The Coach House to talk more extensively and this time, specifically, about unusual plants to enhance our gardens at this time of year. Having worked at Spinners Nursery for seven years before owning his own nursery at Heale House, Kevin has now taken on the exciting project of restoring Cally Gardens and the adjoining nursery in Scotland to their former glory. Kevin’s talks are always bursting with information, enthusiasm and sound opinion.

Tuesday 14th May: £100

June Blake: Discovering the Home Place:
Making sense with plants, buildings and landscape

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While June’s talents as a gardener and plantswoman certainly match her brother Jimi’s, their styles of gardening are very different. June looks to the history of the place, seeking answers and inspiration from the buildings and wider landscape, with a method as much about discovering layers and stories as it is about creating something new. Seasonal flow is key so plants are used with great care to ensure they move gracefully from one month to the next whilst always sitting in harmony with the rugged character of West Wicklow. I am sure many will be planning a trip to Jimi and June’s internationally renowned gardens after hearing these dynamic sibling speakers.



Troy Scott Smith:
Container Planting through the Seasons


Anyone who read the series of articles in Gardens Illustrated during 2018 about Troy’s stunning and original plantings for the containers at Sissinghurst will have seen how he draws on the history of this iconic garden to create simple but highly effective displays throughout the year. In this talk Troy will give us a wealth of ideas for planting combinations for each season and illustrate how the careful positioning of pots can do much to enhance the garden. Troy has been Head Gardener at Sissinghurst since 2013 and his vision is to recapture the romance and exuberance of this most famous and cherished of gardens.

Thursday 13th June: £100

Timothy Walker: 
Bordering on insanity

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As a follow up to Chris Beardshaw’s overall view of Borders in the Garden last year, Timothy Walker will be here to talk specifically about the principles and practicalities that need to be adopted when creating a new garden border. Considerations will include soil preparation, pests and diseases, irrigation and staking as well as colour, creating layers of interest and ‘must have’ plants. Timothy was Horti Praefectus (Director) of Oxford Botanic Gardens for 28 years and currently lectures in Plant Sciences at Oxford University. He is one of the most accomplished speakers on the circuit and never ceases to inform and entertain.



Nigel Dunnett:
Low Input, High Impact, Long Season Planting

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This is a chance to hear one of the great planting pioneers of our age. Dr Nigel Dunnett’s work integrates ecology, landscape design and horticulture to achieve dynamic, diverse and ecologically tuned landscapes in planting schemes both large and small. Beauty, colour and seasonal change are always major considerations in his designs which aim to have high biodiversity value, all year round interest and a strong level of public approval. His projects include the London Olympic Park 2012, the Rain Garden at the Head Office at John Lewis and the Diamond Garden at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace. He is a Gold Medal winner for his gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Thursday 19th September: £100

John Massey MBE VMH:
The World of Hellebores

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As this will be the last opportunity to hear John Massey speak before his retirement from lecturing, it seems fitting for Hellebores, the plant with which he has had such a long association, to be the subject of this final talk. John Massey has owned Ashwood Nurseries since 1967, and, after beginning to breed hellebores there nearly 40 years ago, the nursery has built up a world wide reputation for the beauty and quality of their plants. Anyone who loves hellebores will be enthralled and inspired by this lecture and the many beautiful images it contains, as well as the wealth of cultural advice that John is able to give.


Alan Street:
The Rich Tapestry of Spring Bulbs


Having been immersed in hellebores all morning, Alan Street will continue with the theme of Spring plants by looking at the treasure trove of early flowering bulbs available to enhance our gardens in this most optimistic and cheering of seasons. Alan has been the linchpin of Avon Bulbs for nearly 40 years. He is one of the most respected and knowledgeable nurserymen in the UK and has masterminded countless Gold Medal winning stands at RHS shows over several decades. Who better to demonstrate what we should all be planting this autumn for the following Spring?

Booking form

To book any of the Garden Lecture Days please fill in the form on the right hand side and we will contact you by email with further details.

Alternatively, if you would prefer to download the form and send in the post with a cheque please click the button below.

A 10% discount will be given if a booking is made for 3 separate days or if 4 places are booked together on the same day.

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