Garden Lecture Days

Rodmarton Manor Lecture Days

Our Garden Lecture Days will be held in the historic Arts and Crafts Manor House at Rodmarton. Each day begins at 10.30am with coffee and tea before the first talk at 11.00am. A delicious two course lunch with wine and elderflower will then be served with time to explore the garden before the second lecture starts at 2.00pm. The days will end at around 3.30 to 4.00pm with tea and homemade cake.

Programme of Lecture Days

Thursday, 7th March 2024

Troy Scott-Smith

Old Roses

In this lecture Troy’s love and deep knowledge of roses comes to the fore. He will explain their history, care, cultivation, pruning and use in the garden. A must for all rose lovers!

Troy Scott-Smith has worked in leading positions in the country’s best gardens, including curator for the RHS and Head Gardener of Bodnant, Iford Manor and Sissinghurst. He currently combines both his worlds of Head Gardener at the world renowned Sissinghurst with consulting on a number of other significant gardens. Troy lectures widely across the UK and internationally and writes for magazines such as Gardens Illustrated, The English Garden and Country Life and is an occasional presenter on Gardeners’  World. He also sits on the Royal Horticultural Floral Committee and teaches at the English Gardening School.

Charlotte Harris & Hugo Bugg

Respecting the Spirit of Place

In their talk Charlotte and Hugo will discuss their design inspirations and how they approach the diverse and truly inspirational range of projects they work on, including the Kitchen Garden at RHS Bridgewater, with its edible forest garden, classic kitchen garden, and apothecary garden; a series of productive, traditional and experimental garden rooms they designed for a private, rural estate in Oxfordshire; a garden on the Isle of Man inspired by the fusion of Norse and Manx culture, and their work transforming the gardens surrounding an historic Grade II listed farmhouse located within the Dorset AONB.

Hugo and Charlotte co-founded the values-driven landscape design practice Harris Bugg Studio in 2017. They have won six Gold Medals, two silver gilts and two best in shows at RHS shows. Most recently their design for Horatio’s Garden won Best in Show at RHS Chelsea in 2023 and was the first garden in the main avenue to put the priorities of all those with different mobility needs at the heart. They have been called ‘pioneering design talents of their generation’ by the RHS and every garden they make is informed by a commitment to exceptional design and connecting people with nature. Their studio creates inclusive and immersive gardens located all over the UK and Europe. They often collaborate with independent craftspeople and skilled artisans to help add aesthetic and social value to their work. This, combined with an inventive and careful use of materials and plants ensures every garden they make has a timeless quality.


Thursday, 4th April 2024

Nick Macer

Unusual Trees and Shrubs for the Modern Garden

Nick will be inspiring and guiding us through his extensive knowledge of lesser known trees and unusual shrubs that we should all be growing in our gardens. An unmissable talk for those wanting to discover rarer and interesting varieties.

After studying arboriculture as a young man in the early 1990’s with placements at Westonbirt and Hillier arboretums, Nick went on to run the gardens at Cowley Manor in Gloucestershire and develop a tree collection there. In 1997 Pan Global Plants was born, which Nick has run ever since, offering a sumptuous selection of some of the finest and rarest plants of all kinds to be offered in the UK. Pan Global has since supplied most of the greatest gardens and gardeners in the UK and Europe and continues to be a centre of excellence, with a big emphasis on the lesser known, desirable and correctly named. Nick also offers consultancy for gardens, treescapes and arboretums.

Marian Boswall

Alchemy of Change

Award-winning Landscape Architect Marian Boswall will discuss how her studio is at the forefront of making change and creating landscapes that are beautiful and give back to the land. Her designs are not only elegant and serene but also consider what lies beneath. Richly illustrated with projects ranging from a London townhouse garden with a labyrinth to a Cotswold chapel conversion that sits in a wildflower meadow, Marian will discuss how fundamental change is needed to create a lasting legacy and how as gardeners we can make an impact.

A leading landscape architect and horticulturalist with a reputation for creating beautiful and regenerative landscapes, Marian is known for her thoughtful and contextual design approach. She works with the land, the people and local materials to discover and develop the special and the important in each project. From flood plain restoration to farmstead creation, respect for the ecology, the history and the future inform her thinking and the studio’s designs. Marian was a lecturer in Historic Garden Conservation at Greenwich University for several years. She is also an advisor to historic estates, landowners and land stewards. She is a Fellow of both The Landscape Institute and The Society of Garden Designers and she previously held the position of Director of the British Association of Landscape Industries and of the Blackthorn Trust biodynamic healing garden. Marian is also co-founder of the Sustainable Landscape Foundation. Kindness is a deeply embedded ethos: Marian works with the way the land can heal and connect us on all levels.


Thursday, 18th April 2024

Polly Nicholson

The Tulip Garden – Growing Tulips More Sustainably

Polly will guide you through her National Collection of Historic Tulips and demonstrate how she curates and grows them organically and sustainably alongside a wide selection of species and annual varieties, at her home in Wiltshire. Polly’s talk will inspire all you tulip enthusiasts!

Polly is a tulip specialist, environmentalist and the founder of Bayntun Flowers, a small organic flower farm and walled garden in Wiltshire. Passionate about tulips, she has been growing species, historic and annual garden varieties for over fifteen years and holds the National Collection of Tulipa (historic) with Plant Heritage. Polly grew up in the countryside near Bath and read English literature with medieval studies at the University of Exeter before obtaining a diploma in horticulture from the English Gardening School in 2003. Polly is an active member of Flowers from the Farm which has become the voice of nearly1000 local, seasonal flower farmers nationwide, a trustee of Benton End House & Garden in Suffolk and she has acted as horticultural adviser for several Phaidon publications.

Copyright Andrew Montgomery

Jamie Butterworth

Growing for Gold!

Jamie will take us through his fascinating insight on the design, planning and delivery of gold medal winning gardens at the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show.  This talk will be a truly inspirational conversation exploring his highly successful career and inspirations.

Form Plants was established in 2021 and was born out of a frustration from Managing Director Jamie Butterworth. “A few years ago,” he explains, “I was planting and maintaining people’s gardens, but the service I was encountering at some plant suppliers was headbangingly bad. So I started to grow plants for myself, then for my customers and then I ended up establishing Form Plants. I’ve always wanted a nursery that is clean, crisp and has great customer service. I hope that is what we offer all our customers.”  With more than 10 years experience in the industry, Jamie has exhibited his passion for quality and innovation in horticulture. From working at RHS Garden Wisley, to winning gold at RHS Chelsea Flower Show (2022), RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival (2021) and at the RHS’s then flower show at Chatsworth (2019), he has a huge experience in bringing form to all that he does. Jamie made his debut as a presenter on Gardeners’ World in 2023 when he showed us the gardens at Scampston Hall in North Yorkshire.


Thursday, 2nd May 2024

Kate Stuart-Smith

Taking Over – The Evolution of a Family Garden

The garden at Serge Hill has been in the Stuart-Smith family for nearly a hundred years. When Kate Stuart-Smith took it over from her parents in 2008 she was faced with a series of challenges. How to make a place your own when it is a much-loved family garden? How to edit out plants you have always disliked? Do you dare to remove a mature tree or a century old hedge? What happens when you stop spraying paths with herbicides to control the weeds? Kate describes the evolution of the garden since 1926 and, in particular, her transformation of the walled garden into what the journalist Non Morris recently described as ‘a surging fairy tale profusion’.

Kate was born and grew up at Serge Hill in Hertfordshire and has gardened there all her life. Along the way she did a degree in History at Oxford University, an MBA at Imperial College London, and a garden design course with Robin Williams and Lucy Huntingdon in Chessington Zoo. From 1997 to 2007 she was the under gardener to her parents at Serge Hill. Promotion to head gardener came in 2008, since when she has gradually edited and changed the two-acre garden she inherited. Luckily, her brother Tom Stuart-Smith lives next door at the Barn, and sister-in-law Bella Stuart-Smith – also a garden designer – lives half a mile away at Pie Corner. Both are generous with nuggets of design wisdom, plant advice and encouragement – and their gardens are constant sources of inspiration. In an attempt to make the garden less labour intensive yet productive and beautiful – a feast of the senses – she has turned it into a full-time occupation. She has used WWOOFERS to help and photography to make sense of the space. She has stopped using herbicides and insecticides, deploys no-dig methods, has started a wildflower meadow, grown many plants from seeds and cuttings and is constantly aiming for effective succession planting.

Arthur Parkinson

Pot Plant Passions

Arthur’s talk and demonstration will bring us up to date with how he feels a container garden can work to be both practical and flamboyant and create vital wildlife corridors. He will talk us through what to grow to ensure both a show and harvest of either herbs or cut flowers alike without it costing a fortune or feeling like you are having to put on a show garden. This he achieves by combining small trees, climbers, herbs, annuals and bulbs within an archipelago of pots right by the doorstep.

Arthur Parkinson has been gardening primarily in pots, out of necessity, through his childhood and gardening career. Brought up in the middle of an ex-mining town in Nottinghamshire, with a tiny yard belonging to his mother, Arthur began realising the power of pots, collecting, grouping and experimenting with them. This has become his trademark and the subject of his Sunday Times bestselling book ‘The Flower Yard’ published in 2021. Before this he gardened solo at the Emma Bridgewater factory in Stoke-on-Trent, transforming another much larger yard-like space, using raised beds, cattle troughs and incorporating his first love, chickens!  The garden during his time there received much acclaim. Throughout this period to the present day Arthur works with his friend and fellow renowned garden writer, Sarah Raven. Together they create highly informative podcasts and teach flower growing and arranging to groups each year.

Fully Booked

Thursday, 9th May 2024

Evening Lecture with Andy Sturgeon

Making the Modern Garden

This informative, entertaining and humorous talk kicks off with a whirlwind tour of the history of garden design cramming over 2000 years into a few minutes to explain how modern gardens evolved and how my work fits into garden design today. The main part of the talk, which is woven with anecdotes, focuses on my own portfolio and journeys from tiny roof gardens to country gardens via Chelsea Flower Show and abroad. Along the way I will explain the design philosophy behind each project and impart plenty of practical information about plants, garden construction and anything else that crops up!

Andy is one of the UK’s leading garden designers. Inspired by art and architecture his work explores the relationship between plants and structure and the wider landscape. His modern designs are a fusion of natural materials and contemporary styling which have become known for their timeless architectural qualities, innovative planting and sculptural characteristics. Andy is the winner of nine RHS Gold medals at Chelsea Flower Show and 3 times ‘Best in Show’. Both The Sunday Times and House and Garden Magazine place him in the Top Ten list of landscape designers in Britain with recent accolades including Gold Awards from Singapore, S.Korea and Philadelphia. Andy lectures around the world. He is a published author, journalist and broadcaster and an active commentator in the international garden design sector. His work is frequently featured in books, magazines and newspapers worldwide.

Fully Booked