James and Helen Basson have worked in the South of France for over 17 years creating low maintenance, dry gardens that mix contemporary design with traditional skills. Winner of 'Best Show Garden' at Chelsea 2017. www.scapedesign.com
Tom Brown worked at RHS Wisley for 13 years, and became Head Gardener at Parham House in 2010. He is a regular contributor on BBC Radio Sussex and Surrey’s Gardening programme “Dig It”.
Jimi Blake has been creating Hunting Brook Gardens in since 2002 - now one of Ireland's most talked-about gardens. Jimi's whole life has been spent in horticulture. He has a particular interest in garden education. www.huntingbrook.com
Hugo Bugg & Charlotte Harris. Hugo became the youngest ever Gold medal winner at Chelsea in 2014. Charlotte enjoys exploring patterns, processes and influences that distinguish a place, and working collaboratively with other makers and artists of a variety of disciplines. www.harrisbugg.com
Marina Christopher has run nurseries since 1984, with Phoenix Perennials established in 2002. Her emphasis has always been on providing a balanced ecosystem, so beneficial wildlife, notably insects, are provided with ‘cordon bleu’ plants for their delectation. Plants have often been supplied to designers for for Chelsea Flower Show gardens. Marina became an author in 2006 with her book ‘Late Summer Flowers'.
Nigel Dunnett is Professor of Planting Design, Urban Horticulture and Vegetation Technology in the Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield. His work integrates ecology, landscape design and horticulture to achieve low-input, dynamic, diverse, ecologically-tuned designed landscapes, at small and large scale. Nigel is active in design and consultancy; his projects include London Queen Elizabeth Olympic. www.nigeldunnett.com
Annie Guilfoyle has a degree in garden design from Middlesex University and runs a design consultancy in West Sussex. She has been the Director of Garden Design at KLC School of Design for over 16 years and is the Garden Course Consultant at West Dean College in West Sussex. Annie teaches, lectures and judges internationally. www.creative-landscapes.com
Jason Ingram graduated in photography from Salisbury College of Art in 1992. Based in Bristol, he travels widely photographing gardens, food and people for books and magazines. He was awarded Garden Photographer of the Year by the Garden Media Guild in 2013, 2014 and was finalist in 2015. www.jasoningram.co.uk
Noel Kingsbury is known primarily as a writer on plants and planting design, particularly on contemporary naturalistic projects. His focus on understanding plants and their long-term performance through plant ecology science has led him to develop a uniquely innovative teaching methodology. He has written over twenty books, including four with Dutch designer Piet Oudolf. www.noelkingsbury.com
Neil Lucas is a recognised authority on ornamental grasses, owner of Dorset-based Knoll Gardens, RHS Council Member and Senior Judge, author, and holder of ten consecutive Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medals. A long-time admirer of the beauty and utility of grasses, for the last 20 years Neil has been developing his own planting ethos. www.knollgardens.co.uk
Mary Payne has had a life time’s experience in horticulture, both in practice and teaching at many different levels, including managing large gardens – including consultancy on Compton Acres in Dorset, broadcasting, writing and building an extensive plant knowledge. Her own tiny garden in Somerset has opened many times for the National Gardens Scheme.
Sarah Price has a training in fine art and a life-long love of wild and natural environments, which inform her work as a garden designer. She describes her work as ‘gardening in the round’, with a real focus on achieving structure through planting rather than hard landscaping. Amongst her projects is her contribution as a designer to the 2012 London Olympic Park. sarahpricelandscapes.com
Harriet Rycroft spent 14 years working for Whichford Pottery as Head Gardener sresponsible for planning, planting and maintaining large displays of planted flowerpots of every conceivable shape and size. She now divides her time between writing about gardening and container planting, giving talks and demonstrations, and teaching container gardening online. https://harrietrycroft.com/
Additional Speakers for our Forde Abbey Spring and Autumn Events
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Anna Pavord has written for The Independent and The Observer for many years and is the author of many widely praised gardening books, garden and botanical history. She is a member of the Gardens Panel for English Heritage and chairs the Gardens Panel of the National Trust.
Rosy Hardy has been growing herbaceous perennials commercially for the past 28 years, with the nursery and Rosy appearing regularly on national television and at garden shows winning 21 Gold medals at Chelsea. www.hardys-plants.co.uk
Derry Watkins has run Special Plants nursery near Bath for over 30 years. She is legendary amongst plantspeople for her continually innovating range and infectious enthusiasm. She also markets a range of home-grown seed. www.specialplants.net
Keith Wiley is one of Britain's foremost experimental gardeners, seeking to create striking visual impact with plantings inspired by natural environments. Formerly Head Gardener at The Garden House in Devon he now runs Wildside garden and nursery on the edge of Dartmoor. www.wileyatwildside.com
Photo credits: Jimi Blake - Paddy Tobin; Bugg & Harris: Alan Pollock-Morris; Noel Kingsbury - Malgorzata Kiedrzynska; Keith Wiley - Richard Bloom