The following speakers are available to give lectures relating to alpine plants and alpine gardening. Most, but not all are members of the AGS. Please click on the individual name for more details and contact the individual speaker directly for more information.
Speakers who wish to amend their entry and new speakers who wish to be added to the AGS Speaker List should fill in the form at the end of this page.
Contact: via AGS office
Talks to non-AGS groups: Yes
Fee: £ + expenses
Home county: Shropshire
Equipment: Screen required and other projection facilities, e.g. stand if available. Will bring own high specification projector for digital presentations.
Availability: Anytime subject to availability. No limit on travel and international bookings taken. Conference or customised lectures on specific themes are possible with fee negotiable. Plants are normally available for sale.
In-person talks: No, zoom only
Information: Jim has more than 20 years experience as an exhibitor, show co-ordinator, member of the judging panel and regular show reporter. He grows a wide range of alpine plants, particularly Primulaceae and bulbs, wherever possible from seed. He is an obsessive propagator, his talks reflect the practical aspects of growing, some featuring a look at the AGS ‘show scene’
All these talks are digital presentations. The usual length is 60-75 minutes with occasional ‘light-hearted moments’. More details on the talks can be found on Jim’s website.
1. Special Snowdrops and How to Keep Them
2. More Special Snowdrops and How to Keep Them
3. Life after Snowdrops
4. Plant Treasures for a Digital Lens (can be customised for specialist groups)
5. Pictures and Presentations
6. Sowing, Growing and Showing – An Alpine Triathlon
7. Digital Plant Photography
8. Alpines and Bulbs from Seed
9. Some Plants at the Shows
10. Showing Alpines, Behind the Scenes
11. Cyclamen at AGS Shows
12. Primulaceae in Pots
13. The Juno Iris Collection
14. Fritillarias and Other Choice Bulbs
15. Fritillarias from A to Z
16. Snowdrops and Other Winter / Spring Bulbs
17. Out and About (Garden Visits throughout the Year)
18. Spring Treasures in Kew
19. Choice Bulbs in Pots
20. Climbers and other Favourite Garden Plants
21. Something for Everyone
22. The All Year Bulb Garden
23. Alpines, Dwarf Bulbs and Hardy Cyclamen
24. Alpines through the Post
25. Plants through the Post
26. Wildlife in the Garden
27. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
28. Propagation – A Matter of Life and Death
29. Out and About – Adventures of an Alpine Enthusiast
30. Out and About 2 – More Adventures of an Alpine Enthusiast!
31. Sowing growing showing – A Primula triathlon
32. Springtime in New England
33. Snowdrops in the green
34. The World of Iris
35 The Patch a garden for all seasons
36. The Shropshire Snowdrop connection
37. Species Snowdrops and their cultivation in the open garden
38. Something for Everyone (HPS group material)
(Talks 1, 2, 3, 7, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30, 32, 34 and 35 are aimed at ‘non-specialist’ garden audiences)
Talks to non-AGS groups: Yes
Fee: £30 for AGS groups, £60 for non-AGS groups
Travel expenses: 30 p/mile
Home county: Lancashire
Equipment: Own laptop, additional equipment required
Accommodation: Normally alone O/N depending on distances
Information: Experienced and enthusiastic hunter and photographer of wild plants throughout Europe but especially Turkey having contributed about 50 photos to Peter Sheasby’s new “Bulbous plants of Turkey and Iran”. In the process I have built up a massive library of the natural world found in these places. I have given talks to AGS groups in the North of England.
1. Van and Eastern Turkey: The Volcanoes
2. The Pontic Alps and Flower Mountain (NE Turkey). 3. The Amanus mountains and Hatay ( SE Turkey)
4. Cappadocia and Inner Anatolia (Central Turkey)
5. The Talysh and Lower Caucasus Mountains of Azerbaijan
6. The Caucasus Mountains 7. The Mountains of Bulgaria down to the Black Sea
8. The Julian Alps of Slovenia
9. Crete in the Spring.
10. Crete in the Autumn
11.The South west Cape of Africa
12. Japan and Cherry Blossom 13. Mount Etna and Sicily in Spring
14. The White Mountains of Sardinia in Spring 15. The Mountains of Corsica in Spring
16. The Iris family of Jordan and Israel. 17. The Eastern Alps of Austria.
18. The Southern French Alps
19. The Dolomite Mountains of Italy
All talks include liberal helpings of other items of interest e.g. history, birds and butterflies, etc
Talks to non-AGS groups: Yes
Fee: £50 + travel
Home town: Belgium
Equipment: laptop + projector
Availability: please ask
Information: Wim Boens has been an avid gardener for over 30 years with a keen interest in a broad range of plants, he has an academic background in archaeology and in the last ten years he has been writing botanical and horticultural articles about different plant-genera for magazines like ‘The Plant Review’, ‘The International Rock Gardener’, ‘Flora Montis’, ‘Den Alpine Have’ and ‘Garten Praxis’. For the moment he’s compiling info to write two books, one on the genus Eranthis (in English) and one on the genus Arum (in German).
1. Eranthis? They’re all yellow, aren’t they? (a complete overview of the genus and the cultivars and their cultivation) (+/- 1 h)
2. Leucojum, the less famous sister of Galanthus. (a complete overview of the genus and the cultivars and their cultivation)(+/- 1 h)
3. Snowdrop’s companions. Bringing some REAL colour to the winter garden. (companion plants for Galanthus, mostly winter and spring flowerers with some summer and autumn-companions) (+/- 1.5 h)
4. Favourites throughout the seasons! A seasonal walk in the garden. (an eclectic look at my favourite shade loving plant, rock garden plants, geophytes and orchids) (+/- 1.5h)
5. Epimedium, the small and the beautiful. (about the smaller species and cultivars, suitable for the rock garden) (+/- 1 h)
6. Epimedium, why they belong in every garden. (an overview of the genus, cultivation, companion plants,…) (+/- 1.5 h)
Talks to non-AGS groups: Yes
Fee: Negotiable (different fee for AGS and non-AGS groups)
Home county: Lancashire
Equipment: Cliff will bring his own digital projector, laptop and extension leads. Will require large screen, projector stand or small table please – and a microphone if considered necessary.
Availability: Willing to travel depending on schedule and distance. Overnight accommodation appreciated for Sue and I where necessary.
Information: Cliff Booker has been heavily involved with alpines since 1984. He was the founder of the East Lancashire Group of the AGS in 1986 and has been either the Secretary or the Chair of the Group ever since. Cliff is a Gold Medal and double Farrer Medal winning exhibitor at AGS Shows and with his wife Sue, has led wildflower walks for Collett’s Mountain Holidays in the Dolomites for nearly fifteen years. Cliff has lectured to many Alpine Garden Society Local Groups and to numerous clubs, groups and societies across the UK.
Cliff specialises in growing and exhibiting members of the family Ranunculaceae – and, in particular, the beautiful high mountain ranunculus that inhabit the loftiest peaks of Europe, North America and New Zealand.
Cliff is co-author with David Charlton of ‘Mountain Flowers – The Dolomites’, a beautifully illustrated field guide to many of the lovely species that grow in the meadows, woods, rocks and screes of these magnificent mountains.
1. An Introduction to Alpines – Created for raw beginners and experienced gardeners alike, this digital presentation starts with the basics and then delves into all the fascinating aspects of our magnificent horticultural hobby.
2. Cream of Alpines – Examines a host of alpine species, genera, locations, memories and people who have influenced my hobby/obsession over the past thirty plus years.
3. Definitive Dolomites (Option 1) – Features many hundreds of images illustrating the amazing landscapes, fauna and (especially) the fabulous flora of these magnificent Italian mountains. Option One features a ninety minute long presentation with a built-in intermission to allow for refreshments, comfort break, etc.
4. Definitive Dolomites (Option 2) – As above, but in condensed form – lasting 65 minutes with no break. Still brimming with amazing flowers and beautiful scenery.
5. The Peloponnese and Crete – A combined presentation that features two of the most idyllic and floristic locations in Greece. A host of orchids, anemones and abundant Mediterranean flora.
6. Outstanding Gardens – Home and Away (Part One) – Explores up to twenty amazing and diverse gardens from the USA, Europe, New Zealand and the UK. Predominantly alpine, these selections will also include unknown, unusual and unique estates that inspire, educate and amaze.
7. Outstanding Gardens – Home and Away (Part Two) – Up to twenty further gardens from around the world – all beautifully illustrated.
8. Zion to Neon – An American Road Trip – Follows our journey from Utah through Arizona, Nevada and California to Vegas looking at the amazing diversity of scenery and fauna – and especially the incredible flowers – that we discovered along the way.
9. North American Rock Garden Tour 2010 – A journey through Eastern USA and Canada that follows our whistle-stop NARGS lecture tour of 2010 and looks at gardens in New York State, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Newfoundland, Illinois, Wisconsin, Virginia, Washington DC and North Carolina – and we meet some of the incredible gardeners that keep the cultivation of alpines to the fore in the States.
10. Tromso Botanic Garden and the Lofoten Islands – Widely regarded as one of the foremost alpine gardens in the world, we hope this presentation will ratify, demonstrate and endorse this perception. We explore the excellence and glory of this horticultural mecca before touring Arctic Norway and the unbelievable beauty and diverse flora of the Lofoten Islands. Please note: This presentation should be available from early 2017.
Contact: via form on speaker’s website
Talks to non-AGS groups: Yes
Fee: £150 + expenses (45 p/mile)
Home county: Cheshire
Equipment: Extension lead and screen required
Availability: Willing to travel all over the UK and internationally (accommodation requested for talks more than 2 hours away)
Short biography: Razvan is currently the Social Media Manager with the AGS. He graduated with a BSc and MSc in Horticulture in his native Transylvania. Over the years he has worked as a herbarium technician, horticulturist and garden designer. He gives talks, leads wildlife tours and was the editor of the Saxifrage Magazine. He describes himself as a plantaholic who will grow anything that is green: alpines, ferns, succulents, bulbs, vegetables, trees and shrubs, climbers, etc.
1. Plants and Castles of Transylvania – with a focus on spring woodlanders, wild meadow plants, high alpines and examples of fortified churches and castles
2. Romanian Alpine Plants – This talk focuses on the plants that live on the slopes of the Carpathian Mountains. From the North to the South, through woodlands, gorges and up on the high peaks
3. Autumn Bulbs in the Peloponnese and the last of the summer flowers – In 2016 and 2018 I was fortunate enough to visit the Peloponnese on Alpine Garden Society tours to Greece. This is a hot-spot of biodiversity when it comes to autumn flowering bulbs like Crocus, Colchicum, Cyclamen, Sternbergia, Narcissus, Scilla, etc. Apart from over 40 species of bulbs there will also be pictures of other plants flowering in late October among beautiful scenery and archaeological sites
4. Walking on flowers, spring in the Peloponnese – this beautiful corner of the world is not only rich in autumn bulbs, but also in spring flowers. Be prepared to be amazed by carpets of annuals and bulbs, sometimes as far as the eye can see in the olive orchards that adorn many of the hills and mountains in the area. Orchids, especially bee-orchids come in great numbers and in a dizzying diversity
5. Fifty shades of green: a journey into the amazing diversity of foliage – A lecture that starts by exploring leaves in their diversity of shapes, sizes, colours and textures and then gives examples of how foliage plants can be used to great effect in the garden
6. Confessions of a plantaholic – plants I wouldn’t be without – Collecting, propagating and growing plants can sometime be an obsession if not a true addiction! While making light fun of myself and the things I do for plants, I will also talk about some of my favourites and must haves
7. Mix and Match. Amazing plants and places from a decade of travels – This talk is in constant evolution showcasing some of the plants I fell in love with while visiting the UK, Spain, France, Greece, Germany, the islands of the Atlantic, Portugal and Romania
8. Spanish daffodils and many other gems – Spain is almost a home away from home, I have lived there and travelled the country from Galicia in the North to Andalusia in the South, from January and February to August and December. The Iberian peninsula is one of the European hotspots of plant diversity (over 5000 species and close to 1000 endemics) and a good number of alpines, bulbs, orchids and shrubs will feature in this talk.
Email: email@example.comTalks to non-AGS groups: Yes Fee: £50 plus travel Home county: Angus, Scotland Equipment: Digital projector Availability: anytime, within 50 miles then will consider anywhere Zoom: Yes Information: Past President of SRGC. Council member for over 20 years, RHS Joint Rock and Trials forum member, RHS member, Judge at shows. Meconopsis Group forum. AGS and Hady Plant Member.
1. Meconopsis and Woodland.
2. Scottish Native plants
3. Snowdrops and Hepaticas
4. Our Garden Spring and summer
5. Daphnes workshop and pictures.
Talks to non-AGS groups: Yes
Fee: Please ask
Home town: Wolverhampton, West Midlands
Equipment: I will bring my own digital equipment, but would appreciate the use of the group’s screen.
Availability: please ask
Information: Diane has been visiting the Alps for over 40 years. She is a keen exhibitor and judge for the AGS. She has a wide range of plant interests, in particular hepaticas, cyclamen, bulbous plants and woodland plants which she grows in cold frames, greenhouses and in her shady garden in Wolverhampton.
Diane has given lectures for the Alpine Garden Society, Plant Heritage, Hardy Plant Society, Cottage Garden Society, The Plant School, Cyclamen Society and many local Gardening clubs and Natural History Societies.
Diane was for many years Director of the Seed Exchange for the Alpine Garden Society, which is the largest seed exchange of its type in the world run entirely by volunteers.
1. Alpines in the Wild and Cultivation – What is an alpine, where do they grow and why? We will go on four alpine walks at different altitudes to look at alpines in the wild and then see how we can adapt our gardens in order to grow different types of alpines. Lots of wonderful mountains and flowers! My most popular lecture with all types of group.
2. A Garden for all seasons – There is a flower in my garden on every day of the year. This is achieved through the use of different situations including shade and sun, moist and dry. A detailed look at planting round my garden at all times of year. Lot of practical ideas for you to increase your flowering season.
3. A Seedy Business – Lots of information about different aspects of seeds, including how to collect seed, germination of easy and more tricky subjects, and how to grow on. Plenty of tips and practical information about growing from seed and common myths and mysteries dispelled.
4. A Shady Garden – Half of my garden does not get any sun at all for six months of the year. I have adapted what I grow in my garden to suit the situation. I also have a shade house and will show you what I grow in there, why and how. Practical information about how to adapt a sunny to grow shade-loving plants.
5. A Year in the life of an Alpine Gardener The gardening year starts for me in August when I repot a large number of bulbs. This talk continues round the year looking at different techniques for growing alpines and bulbs in pots and in the garden, including the use of cold frames and alpine houses. This lecture contains lots of practical aspects of growing from seed and propagation.
6. Hepaticas – A Growing Obsession – An in-depth look at this popular genus. Where hepaticas come from, species round the world, detailed practical information about how to grow hepatica from seed. How and when to grow on, repotting and round the year care. The variety of hepatica flower forms and varieties. (Plants and/or seed may be available for sale, depending on the time of year)
7. Cyclamen – From seed pod to show bench – An in-depth look at this popular genus. Where cyclamen come from, detailed description of species including underground. Detailed practical information about how to grow cyclamen from seed. How and when to grow on, repotting and round the year care. The variety of cyclamen flower forms and varieties. (Plants and/or seed may be available for sale, depending on the time of year)
8. Cyclamen and Hepatica – Jewels of the Garden – Two genera of plants from very different parts of the world – one from cold northern forests, the other from the Mediterranean. How can they grow together in the garden? A detailed look at both genera with lots of information about growing them from seed. This lecture contains some material in common with the two previous listed lectures and was devised for those groups not keen on a “single genus” lecture.
9. Woodland Plants in the wild and in cultivation – I love to grow hepaticas, cypripediums, meconopsis and lots of other species that grow in woodland sites round the world. We will take a look at some of these woodland plants growing in the wild, and see how we can adapt our gardens in order to grow some of these wonderful plants. I will also show you how I use a shade house to extend the range of species I grow. I also will dispel myths and mysteries about growing woodland plants from seed.
10. Chinese Lanterns and Tibetan Prayer flags – the AGS tour of Sichuan
The story of the AGS tour of Sichuan in June 2016, showing some of the wonderful plants seen on the trip, including Meconopsis, Primulas, Androsaces, Lilies Iris, etc. This was a wide ranging trip with a vast range of species to be seen.
11. Along the Silk Road in Kyrgyzstan – the story of a trip made in the early spring of 2017 to see bulbs including Crocus, Corydalis, Colchicum, Fritillaries, Iris and of course the fabled Hepatica falconeri, among snowy mountains and incredible scenery.
12. The Narrow Road to the Deep North – Travels in Japan – on this trip we visited a range of varying habitats from seashore to mountain top and lots of woodland and marshland, all incredibly rich in numbers of species. It was interesting to see many plants familiar in UK gardens growing in their natural habitat: Hydrangea, Hosta, Weigela, Azaleas and others. And also it was exciting to see some of the rarer woodland plants I particularly like to try and grow: Epigaea, Glaucidium, Shortia, Polygonatum, Disporum, Arisaema, Trillium, Paris etc
13. “Growing Alpines in the Garden – planning, practice and pleasure” (New for 2023) – Lots of practical information about growing alpines in various situations to suit all gardens in sun and shade. Includes rockeries, screes, crevices, troughs, pots and patios.
14. “The Dark Months – not just snowdrops” (New for 2023) – A detailed survey of the plants you can grow from October to March, inclucing snowdrops, Eranthis, Hellebores, Hepatica, Cyclamen and more.
Talks to non-AGS groups: Yes
Fee: £50 + expenses
Home town: Somerset
Equipment: I bring my own laptop & projector but I need a screen providing as I don’t have one.
Information: Paul Cumbleton was head of the Alpine Department at RHS Wisley Garden for 11 years before taking early retirement in 2015 and escaping to the country in rural Somerset where with partner Colin is enjoying developing a half-acre garden together.. He has grown alpines for over 30 years and also has particular interest in Pleione and the winter-growing South African Bulbs. He has written articles for the AGS journal, The Plantsman, The Garden magazine and other publications and his regular blog about his team’s work at Wisley was widely read and appreciated.
1. Alluring Alpines – A look at various selected groups of alpines with an emphasis on their cultivation, interspersed with “fascinating facts” about alpine ecology that help us understand the requirements of alpine plants.
2. A Growing Addiction: Bulbs from the Winter Rainfall area of South Africa – This area has some outstanding, wonderful, sometimes weird but beautiful plants. An overview of this increasingly popular group of plants and how to grow them.
3. Pleiones for Pleasure – A tour of both species and hybrids of Pleiones including lots of practical advice on cultivation and even how to do your own hybridising.
4. Alpines of the Wasatch & Ruby Mountains, USA – a travelogue of the field trip to these areas made as part of the International Conference held in Utah in 2006
5. A Miscellany of Tips, Tricks and Technology – Not so much a talk (it has only a few slides) but a series of practical demonstrations covering topics as diverse as making compost mixes that do what we want them to, how and why you might use a conductivity meter, light and shade – the real difference… and more!
6. Alpines & Orchids – This talk was aimed at an Orchid Society rather then an alpine group and mainly deals with just a few alpines and then a look at the orchids that I grow at home (with just a few Pleiones mentioned but not many as I have a separate talk on these).
7. Growing Amaryllids at Wisley & at Home – A selection of the bulbs from this fascinating family with practical growing tips. Concentrates on the more unusual members of the family rather than the familiar ones.
8. Crevice Gardening – A look at this most fashionable method of growing alpines, focussing (but not entirely) on the crevice garden at Wisley and my own new crevice garden. Includes aspects of the history of crevice gardening, the principles behind it and practical help on how to build them and the plants that might be used in them.
9. The Hyacinthaceae – A Horticultural Perspective – This is currently a half-length talk of about 30 minutes, originally given as an introduction to a scientific symposium. It could be lengthened to a longer talk if needed. It gives an overview of this popular plant family including a look at its economic importance.
10. Our Odyssey with Bulbs – a joint talk co-presented with my partner Colin Everett, looking at various bulbs we have grown over the years including Colin’s large collection of Fritillaria species. Originally given at one of the AGS Bulb Day conferences.
11. Potting Composts & Other Conundrums – Examines various topics, including problems with John Innes composts, possible alternatives, potting compost additives (beneficial microorganisms & plant growth stimulants), LED Grow Lights, aeroponic propagators, etc. Note there is a small amount of overlap in this talk with part of my talk “A Miscellany of Tips, Tricks and Technology”.
12. Plants of the Meadows, Woodlands & High Peaks of the Dolomites – A travelogue illustrating many of the beautiful plants and staggering scenery we encountered in this popular mountain range.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Talks to non-AGS groups: yes
Fee: £50 + accommodation
Home town: Lyndhurst, near Southampton
Equipment: I will bring my own computer, with PowerPoint presentation, but would appreciate the use of the group’s screen and projector.
Availability: no further than a 2 hour drive away from home
Information: David Dickenson, a retired veterinary surgeon, has spent his last 13 summers in the Cévennes National Park in France. This mountainous area, sitting on the borders of the Atlantic and Mediterranean climates, is famed for its rich ‘alpine’ flora, including its 60 species of orchid. An elevation between 500 m and 1800 m, coupled with 3 key rock types, ensures one of the widest range of plant species in Europe. David Dickenson is an amateur botanist, benefiting from his close links with the team of the National Park, and has an intimate knowledge of the iconic species endemic to the region. He runs a web site illustrating and describing every the local plant you are likely to see (in French and English).
1. A Tour Around my Rock – The Causse Méjean is a limestone plateau fringed with dolomitic rocks, displaying dramatic forms resembling ruined villages. This vertiginous tour takes your around just one of these rocks, the size of a mini-bus, but boasting over 50 alpine species which would put shame to anybody’s rock garden. Richly illustrated, some of their survival strategies are discussed. Find out how these plants survive a scorching sun, strong winds and interminable drought. And who needs soil?
2. An Englishman in the Cévennes – enlarging on an article written for ALEPE, the local nature group in Lozère, this talk reflects on the astonishment on arrival in this wild corner of Europe, after half a decade in an England where nature has for a long time been trained and constrained into adapting to the demands of a modern society.
3. The Barmy Botanists – as founder and leader of a local botany group, the Barmy Botanists, David Dickenson has made accounts of many of these outings available for download on his site (www.naturescene.co.uk/Barmies). Although these are in French (or rather, Franglais), they are richly illustrated with the local flora, together with maps. If any of these outings intrigues you, David Dickenson can enlarge on the flora and habitat on request, and take you on a virtual tour that will make you wish you were there.
Talks to non-AGS groups: yes
Availability: I’d be available, in principle, while Covid measures are in place.
It’s probably best if organisers contact me for a list of possible talks – they are flexible.
Zoom: I’m not against doing Zoom presentations – just haven’t done one.
Information: Dr Bob Gibbons is a botanist and naturalist, writer, photographer and tour leader, and proprietor of Natural history travel. He is the author of about 40 books, and has travelled widely in the temperate world in search of nature. He has a huge collection of photographs, which have won many awards such as RHS Gold Medal, AGS Photograph of the year (3 times) and International Garden Photographer of the Year Flowery landscape winner. He has given hundreds of talks over the years to both local and national groups.
A wide range of talks could be available, covering the flora (with or without the fauna) of most European countries, western North America, South Africa, concentrating on alpines as required. Also more wide-ranging talks such as “the most flowery places in the world” or “the trials and tribulations of a nature photographer”.
Subjects: too many to list (see above).
Website: Lectures | TheAlpineHouse (wixsite.com)
Talks to non-AGS groups: yes
Fee: £60 + 30ppm
Home town: Tywyn, Gwynedd
Equipment: can bring own laptop and projector
Availability: UK wide depending on time constraints
Information: An occasional contributor to the Bulletin, writing about my experiences with alpines in the garden and the wild. I grow a wide range of bulbs, both in pots and in the garden and I used to hold a National Collection of Crocus species. I raise many of the plants I grow from seed and exhibited at AGS Shows in the past.
1. A Room with a View – A tour of the Berner Oberland, visiting one or two places that tour companies miss out. Flowers, scenery and extols the virtues of independent travel!
2. Over the Bernina Pass – Alpines from Pontresina to Poschiavo including plants high above the Bernina Pass
3. Vaud & Valais through the Seasons – A look at two Swiss cantons through the seasons. A journey from rich meadows of the Pre-Alps to the glaciers of the High Alps.
4. A Crocus for all Seasons – My specialist subject. A look at the Genus as described by Mathew covering the plants and how to grow them with illustrations of wild and cultivated plants.
5. Peaks and Troughs – Alpines from the mountain to the garden with a focus on growing in troughs.
6. Alpines for the Time Challenged! – A personal account of gardening with alpines; plant portraits, dos and don’ts and propagation all drawn from my own experiences.
7. Whatever the Weather – Proving that you can have a good time in the mountains even when the sun does not always shine!
8. 25 Years of Bulbs – Drawing on my long experience growing dwarf bulbs. An introduction to the many genera and methods of cultivation.
9. Hilary’s View – Some of the plants you might see on an Early Summer visit to the Vaud Alps. Includes contributions from Hilary who has lived there for 30 years and is my mountain guide to this beautiful area.
10. The Four Seasons – A celebration of alpine gardening through the year drawing inspiration from visits to botanic gardens and looking at how that relates to gardening in a small suburban space. Flowers and foliage from Wisley, Edinburgh, The Explorers Garden, Branklyn and Gothenburg plus a selection of home grown alpines and bulbs.
Talks to non-AGS groups:
Fee: £85 plus petrol at cost
Home town: Salisbury, Wiltshire
Equipment: own projector
Information: Former President of the AGS, currently a Trustee. Former member of RHS Council, now Chairman of Joint Rock. Travelled widely to see plants in the wild and a member of the AGS Seed Expedition to Sikkim
1. Making the Garden at Pelham House
2. Chile and Argentina – Amongst the Volcanoes
3. Flower Hunting in Iran
4. Patagonia and the Argentine / Chilean Andes
5. Alpines in New Zealand
6. Flower hunting in Tibet
8. Spring and Summer in South Africa
9. Spring, Summer and Autumn in Greece
10. Flowers of N. W. Sichuan
11. Chile and North West Argentina
12. Along the Length of Patagonia
13. Southern Hemisphere Treats
14. Flowers of Szechuan – The Tibetan Borderlands
15. Flower Hunting in Peru
16. Flower Hunting in the Drakensberg Mountains
Talks to non-AGS groups:
Fee: £40 + travel expenses
Home county: Edinburgh, Scotland
Equipment: A digital projector, screen and extension leads would be required.
Availability: Happy to deliver talks over Zoom, MS Teams, in-person across UK or international
Information: Frazer Henderson is an active member of a number of horticultural societies, including the Scottish Rock Garden Club, the Sedum Society, NCCPG and the Wakefield & North of England Tulip Society. Frazer has travelled extensively to address his interest in island flora, mountain flora and wild tulips. He is happy to find plants and talk about them!
1. Kyrgyzstan: in search of wild tulips
There are a number of tulip species present in Kyrgyzstan including TT. dasystemon, ferganica, greigii, heterophylla, iliensis, kolpakowskiana, ostrowskiana, talassica, tetraphylla, tarda and zenaidae. This 45 minute talk covers an exploration of eastern Kyrgyzstan in search of tulips with an explanation of the botanical riches of that part of the country including irises, adonis and fritillaria.
2. It’s not all sand: the mountain flora of Yemen
The talk, drawing on multiple visits to Yemen, shines a light on a little known world of the Haraz mountains, with an exploration of its botanical riches, from succulents to alpine plants, and its cultural heritage, from deserted Jewish towns to walled Ismaili villages. A particular feature of this 45 minute talk is an in depth look at Primula verticillata which was discovered in previously unrecorded locations.
3. The Mascarene archipelago: face to face with the world’s rarest wild plant
A 45 minute account of travels in the southern Indian Ocean exploring the volcanic landscape of Reunion, the lush garden flora of Mauritius before finally alighting on rugged, windswept Rodrigues to search for the last remaining wild specimen of an endemic coffee-like plant – ‘Café marron’ or Ramosmania rodriguesii. Along the way we meet Dodos, Solitaires and stumble over Giant Tortoises!
4. Spring in the Tien Shan
An exploration of the spring flora from the remote reaches of the west of Kyrgyzstan to the Chinese border discovering alpine plants, marvelling at spectacular mountain views, explore the world’s largest walnut forest, circumnavigating Issyk Kul (the second largest alpine lake in the world) and generally getting out of breath at the snow-melt zone!
Talks to non-AGS groups: yes
Fee: Expenses only (would do a free lecture in exchange for a free lecturer from another Group for the Somerset Group)
Home town: Honiton, Devon
Equipment: Can supply all own equipment. Digital presentation
Availability: Available anywhere and generally available (unless away on travels)
Information: Former Biology teacher and former Chairman of the Bristol and Somerset Groups, but now Secretary of the Somerset Group. Many visits to the Mountains of Europe for over twenty years
1. Successes and Failures with Alpines (how I try to grow them!) – 2 talks (1) basic alpines in the garden and (2) other methods especially growing in containers and under cover
2. The Garden at Freshfields – a garden from scratch.
3. Alpines and other perennials from seed.
4. Plants of the French Alps. (Southern and Northern areas usually done separately)
5. Plants of the Swiss Alps
6. Plants of the Austrian Alps.
7. Mainly Limestone – Plants of Northern Italy and Slovenia (could also include the Apennines).
8. The Picos de Europa and other Spanish Highpoints.
9. Plants of the Pyrenees.
10. Spring in Southern France and Spain.
11. Spring Flowers of Crete. (Mediterranean Flowers)
12. Northern Patagonia with the Alpine Garden Society.
13. New Zealand by Campervan. Or separate talks on North and South Island.
14. Flowers of the Massif Central (Cevennes and Auvergne).
15. Norway via Gothenberg Botanic Garden.
16. A Gardner’s View of Chile. (Not Gardener’s)
18. Meadow plants of the Alps
19. European Alpine Plants of Rocks and Screes.
20. Alpines in troughs (some overlap with successes and failures (2)
Talks to non-AGS groups: yes
Home town: Faversham, Kent
Equipment: digital projector, etc.
Availability: Year round, though need to fit around nursery commitments
Information: Tim was brought up with a keen interest in plants. His first patch was a raised rock garden as a teenager. He spent his early adulthood in academia working on plant hormones. Six months of this were spent in Tasmania where he took the opportunity to explore the wilds. Then he started a nursery at Copton Ash. He grew a wide range of plants including those from the Southern Hemisphere, but became known for his interest in Umbellifers. He wrote a booklet on them for the HPS. Since reopening the nursery he has focussed on Alpines, perennials for drier gardens and woodland plants.
1. Alpines and Perennials for Dry Gardens
2. Gardens of the Czech Republic
3. Success with Seed
4. The Sand Bed
5. Snowdrops and hellebores in the garden
7. The Alsace
8. Evolution of Copton Ash Garden
9. Gardening on the rocks
10. Under the apple trees
11. Pioneering American gardeners
12. The woodland anemone
13. The Apiaceae – the anatomy of a family
Tel. home: +31 55 5052260Talks to non-AGS groups:YesFee: Lecture fee is Euro 150,- excluding travel expenses which can be shared by several groupsHome town:The Netherlands (Loenen, near Apeldoorn)Equipment:Digital projector with HDMI connection, will use my own Apple MacBookAvailability:By appointmentZoom:YesInformation: Harry studied Garden Design & Maintenance, but has been employed since 1982 by the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management and is an expert on winter maintenace. He is a passionate plant explorer, rock gardener for more almost 40 years, founder member of the Dutch Rock Garden Society and was its president for 6 years.
He organises botanical tours and/or lead them to various corners of the world like China, Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim, Iran, Yemen, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina and of course many European countries. In 2000 he received an Award of Honour from the Alpine Garden Society and in 2014 he received the prestigious AGS Lyttel Trophy. He is a regular lecturer at conferences and Study Weekends in Holland, Germany, England, Denmark, Scotland, New Zealand, USA and Canada. He has written several articles on various alpine plant subjects. His garden is well known for his tufa wall with a large colony of the rare and difficult Jancaea heldreichii growing on it. He has a wonderful website www.jansalpines.com which contains over 28.000 pictures taken during his travels around the globe in search of (alpine) plants but also information about his garden.
5. The best Czech Rock Garden – The Czeck Republic is famous for it’s beautiful rock gardens. The construction and planting is very natural looking. Here crevice gardening is a special way of rock gardening.
Plants:Plant Portraits – many different/difficult/rare alpines with growing instructions, etc. 6. 7. Cypripedium in the wild and in cultivation 8. Mega Alpines do exist! – travel around the world to see large alpines like Rheum nobile, Dendrosenecio, Puya, Lobelia, etc.
Europe:9. The French Alps – 14 days in the Vanoise and Ecrins, a Mecca of alpine plants in France. We will visit the famous very rich areas of Col du Mont Cenis, Col de l Iseran, Col du Lautaret, Col du Galubier, Col d Izoard and Col du Granon. These areas are all very accessible by car with numerous plants for the alpine enthusiast. 10. Switzerland, the Valais – The canton of Valais is probably best known for its picturesque villages like Zermatt and Saas Fee, but it is also a treasure grove full of alpines. Many high mountain places are easy accessible by car. 11. Greece, the main land – This 3400 km trip will show you many of the highlights on the main land of Greece, excluding the Peloponnesus. The main goal was: to see “the Flower of the Gods” – Jancaea heldreichii, in full flower on Mount Olympos. Next to many plants places like Meteora and Zagoria will be included. 12. The Cream of the European Alps – a mixture of the best alpine plants from various corners
17. Botanising on and around the volcanoes in Equador – We will explore the extreme variation of plants in this northern part of the Andes with cushion plants like Azorella and Espeletia near the border with Columbia.18. Botanical tour through the South Island of New Zealand – New Zealand with its Southern Alps and special high alpines like Raoulia eximia and Haastia pulvinaris are amazing. But do not forget the views in Fiordland at the Milford Sound. A large variation of plants in various habitats will be shown.19. Plant hunting along part of the Silk Road in Kyrgyzstan – in search of various spring flowers along lake Issyk Kul and parts of the Tian Shan.20. Following the trails of the pilgrims to Gosainkunda – A trek of 10 days to the Gosainkunda lakes at 4380m in Nepal. We will visit various habitats and see many desirable plants like Primula aureata, Primula deuteronana, Meconopsis simplicifolia, Lloydia flavonutans and Polygonatum hookeri to name but a few. Of course a bit of culture will be showed as well.21. Socotra, a jewel of Biodiversity in the Middle East – The island of Socotra is part of an archipelago in the Indian Ocean. It is so isolated that a third of its plant life is found nowhere else on the planet. Notable are the dragon’s blood trees that look like flying saucers perched on trunks. Adenium obesum ssp. socotranum are trees that look like elephants’ legs with pink flowers on top. Birds such as the Socotra starling, Socotra sunbird, and Socotra grosbeak are found nowhere else on Earth. An unexplored treasure on earth.22. Around the World of Alpines in 60 minutes – a closer look at Alpines and their habitats on various continents and countries across the globe. From Eritrichium in Europe to Chionocharis in Tibet and from Giant lobelias in Ethiopia to rare cushion plants in Tasmania.
23. Botanising in Lesotho, a Kingdom in the Sky -During this lecture we will enter Lesotho on the North and travel, over unpaved roads deep into some unexplored places in this wonderful country in search for (alpine) plants like the special Aloe polyphylla, better known as the Spiral Aloe.
24. High Alpines around the equator– Many endemic alpines on the Bale Mountains in Ethiopia and on Mount Kenya. Highlights are the giant Lobelia, which can reach over 6 m! These areas are not very often visited by plant hunters
China:The best (alpine) plants of the Western China – plants, places and people.Everest. With new discoveries like Meconopsis tibetica and other plants that will grow up to 5350m (+ other interesting plants and places in Tibet.) 26. Yunnan, a Plantsman’s Paradise – these days(!), an easy accessible province with one of the richest area’s for (alpine)plants in the world. 27. A closer look at the rich Alpine Flora in Sichuan province – areas like Wolong, Balang Shan, Huanglong, Juizhaigou, Kanding, Jiulong, etc. with many super plants like the famous Meconopsis punicea. 28. Tibet: Plant hunting on the Roof of the World – an account of an AGS expedition to places like Lhasa, Tibetan Plateau and the Kangshung valley,, very close to Mnt. 29. A botanical jeep tour from Chengdu to Lhasa – during this 2600km trip through Sichuan and Tibet we will cross 13 high mountain passes with some of them well over 5000m and end it in the famous city of Lhasa at 3650m. Because of so many different habitats on tour (dry, rocky, wet, alpine but even subtropical), the plant diversity is huge. Many rare and unknown species will be shown next to beautiful views and culture.30. In the footsteps of the old day plant hunters – A mixture of places and plants seen by the famous plant hunters Forrest, Wilson, Rock and others about hundred years ago and by the lecturer these days. The lecture will be a mixture with old black and white and modern digital images.25.
Talks to non-AGS groups: Yes
Home town: Wells, Somerset
Equipment: Can supply own projector and lapto
Availability: February to October only (live talks) (UK only)
Zoom: Not at present but would be prepared to consider
Information: Hilary and Austin have been trekking and travelling the world for well over 40 years in search of alpine flowers. Their journeys have taken them from the mountains of Europe to the Arctic Circle and Alaska; from the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush to the Snowy Mountains of South Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand; and from the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa and Lesotho to the South American Andes.
In more recent years their over-riding passion has been for Patagonia, its scenery, plants, culture and people and, with a small group of like-minded friends, they have visited this region on more than 20 occasions. Eventually, they decided to write about their knowledge and experience and the result was two books which were published by the Alpine Garden Society in 2013/4: ’Patagonian Mountain Flower Holidays ’for which Hilary was the lead author and ‘Flowers of the Patagonian Mountains’, for which Martin Sheader was the lead author. Austin was a co-author on both.
Both Hilary and Austin are keen gardeners and for over 17 years have been living in Somerset – south of the Mendips, where they have a one-acre garden in which they grow a variety of unusual trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, grasses and alpines including several of South American origin.
1. Prickly Heat – Cacti (and Other Plants) above 30° (Argentina – North)
2. The Red Centre was Green (Australia)
3. Wild Flowers and Wallabies of SW Australia
4. Chile: High & Explosive
5. Journey to the Centre of the Earth (Ecuador)
6. Land of the Lady’s Slipper Orchid (Newfoundland)
7. Along Patagonia’s Floral Highway
8. Patagonia with Prickles
9. Violas and Volcanoes (Northern Patagonia and beyond)
10. In Pursuit of the Plants of Peru
11. Hunt for Red Nototriche (Northern Peru)
Talks to non-AGS groups: Yes
Fee: £40 + plus 25p/mile travelling expenses
Equipment: I have my own projector and laptop, but would need a screen and projector table to be provided.
Availability: up to 70 miles from Cambridge. Further afield may also be possible if it can be combined with something else.
Information: Retired chemist with interest in alpines who has taken many holidays in mountainous regions around the world. Given talks to a number of AGS Groups, local gardening clubs, and the Hardy Orchid Society.
Talks to non-AGS groups: Yes
Fee: £75 – £100 + plus travelling expenses
Home town: Sheffield
Information: James Miller (BSc hons Horticulture) is currently studying a master degree in landscape architecture at The University of Sheffield and running a fledgling horticultural consultancy. Previously, he was Plant Propagator for Wildlife at Gibraltar Botanical Gardens. Prior to this, he was Horticulturist (Horticultural Award) in the RHS Wisley Alpine Team. He has a special interest in bulbs, orchids and gained National Plant Collection status for the Astilbe collection at Wisley. Prior to Wisley he worked at the prestigious Longwood Gardens in the USA, where he was an International Trainee, at an Orchid Conservation Centre in Panama and as Curatorial Intern at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens. He also has extensive experience in the UK Nursery industry.
1. ‘Andean Alpines’
2. ‘Creating a New National Collection’ (Astilbe and Bog Garden Focused )
3. ‘Geophytes and Flora of Israel and Palestine’
4. ‘Gothenburg Botanical Inspiration’
Talks to non-AGS groups: Yes
Fee: £75-140 plus travel expenses at 25p/mile
Home town: Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Equipment: All lectures are illustrated with high quality slides, and in some cases demonstrations of plants can also be arranged. Remote control/autofocus projector, screen, projector stand and extension leads can be provided. I am also able to give demonstrations on pruning and propagation where numbers and facilities allow. Unusual plants can also be brought for sale. As a new feature some talks can reduced in length so that two topics can be presented in the same lecture, perhaps useful for more specialised talks, since not everyone is interested in snowdrops. Availability: If available, I am always willing to give talks to local groups at short notice should an existing speaker have to cancel. Visits for gardening clubs can also be arranged to the garden at Fairview throughout the year on weekends or in the evening. Tea, coffee and homemade cakes can be included all for £4 per person.
Michael D. Myers Dip Hort (RHS), HND, BSc (Hons), MSc, MHort (RHS), CBiol, MSB, MCIHort, FLS, PGCE.
Michael has had an interest in gardening from an early age and by the time he left sixth form, horticulture was his chosen career. After gaining practical experience at Harlow Carr he studied horticulture at Askam Bryan College, which included a work placement in the alpine department at RHS gardens Wisley. From 1988 to 1991 Michael studied Plant Biology at Leeds University and whilst here wrote ‘A Review of the Genus Hepatica’ for the Alpine Garden Society Bulletin. In 1991 he was the winner of the ‘Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition’. After his degree he completed a Master’s degree in fungal technology at the University of Kent at Canterbury followed by post graduate research on mycorrhizas at Sheffield University.
1. Alpines for Beginners – in the Wild and Cultivation
19. Propagation 20. Pruning and training 21. Rock Gardens – Currant Bun or Naturalistic Sculpture 22. Scents and Scentability – Unusual Scents in the Garden 23. Snowdrops and Snowflakes – a Galanthophile’s Tale 24. Snowdrops from October to April 25. Trees and Shrubs for the Smaller Garden 26. The Weird and the Wonderful – a Botanical Exploration of Plants and their Aberrant Forms 27. Water Features in the Garden 28. Winter Flowering Plants 29. Winter Gardens – Structure, Form and Seasonal Interest 30. Winter Interest – Flowers, Foliage and Bark 31. Wood Anemones – Forms and Hybrids of Anemone nemorosa 32. Woodland Plants for Connoisseurs – Snowdrops, Hepaticas, Trilliums and Many Others 33. Woodland Ranunculaceae – Anemones, Hepaticas, Aconites, Hellebores and Celandines 34. Year-Round Garden
Talks to non-AGS groups: yes
Fee: £60 + travel expenses
Home address: Lasswade, Midlothian
Availability: More or less any time and any place. If travelling by car I can probably provide my own digital projector and laptop. Otherwise projection equipment should be provided. A plant stall (Kevock Garden Plants) can usually be provided.
Information: Lectures are based on experiences (a) walking in the mountains, (b) equally energetically working in our garden – a one-acre steep hillside, and (c) showing plants. In the past I did some research on relationships between plants and soils, from a chemist’s point of view, and helped to run a nursery
1. The modern plant hunter: searching for long-lost primulas (searching in the wild, in herbaria, old documents – and there’s a lot more than just primulas along the way)
2. The rocky road to Chelsea (planning and preparation of displays at gardening shows)
3. The fourth river: Forrest’s legacy (George Forrest’s plant Introductions)
4. Poles apart: China and Chile (comparison of plants from two very different places, that are literally on opposite sides of the world)
5. Meconopsis: in the wild, growing, and showing
6. Plant of the day: highlights of a long walk in western Bhutan (some of the many wonderful places and plants, seen on an early summer trek)
7. Other subjects by negotiation
Talks to non-AGS groups: yes
Home address: Canada
Information: David Sellars is an award winning photographer and is a Past- President of the Alpine Garden Club of British Columbia.
David is a keen mountain hiker and maintains the website https://www.mountainflora.ca. His particular interests are rock garden design and construction, alpine plant photography and using video to illustrate mountain landscapes and alpine plant habitats. His YouTube Channel features wildflower hikes and some garden videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/MountainFlora.
He has written articles on rock garden design and alpine plant explorations for the NARGS Rock Garden Quarterly, the International Rock Gardener, the Alpine Garden Club of BC Bulletin and the Saxifrage Magazine. A selection of his photographs were published in the wildflower guide Alpine Plants of British Columbia, Alberta and Northwest North America. His images are also included in a new 2019 edition of Arthur Kruckeberg’s Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest
1. Chaos in the Rock Garden: Putting Theory into Practice. This is about rock garden design and how it relates to natural landscapes and preferred plant habitats. David gave this talk at the NARGS Western Winter Study Weekend in Portland, Oregon in 2009 and at many clubs since then. Definitely a crowd favourite.
2. Photographing Alpine Plants: A Landscape Point of View. Over the past 10 years David Sellars has won numerous alpine plant photography awards and many of his photos have been published in books on alpine flora. In this lecture he will share insights into his approach to plant photography including camera selection, camera setup and composition.
3. A Hillside Garden in Coastal British Columbia. David and Wendy’s one acre rock and woodland garden won the NARGS Millstream Garden Award in 2012. David gave this talk by Zoom for the NARGS national Taproot Conference in June, 2020
4. Alpine Jewels of the North Cascades and Olympic Mountains. Endemic alpine plants of Washington State in their spectacular habitats. This talk was given at the SRGC Discussion Weekend in Pitlochry in October 2018
5. The Joy of Sax. Saxifrages in the garden and in the wild. This presentation was given at the Saxifrage International Conference at Waterperry Gardens in March, 2016
6. The Crowning Glory of the Bighorn Mountains. A presentation on the finest North American alpines in their specialized dolomitic limestone habitat in the Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming
Talks to non-AGS groups: yes
Fee: £50 for AGS, £60 for non-AGS groups
Equipment: I do not have my own projector for in person talks; I am using Office 365 PowerPoint.
Availability: I am not available in person while COVID restrictions apply.
Information: Member of the AGS for nearly 40 years. Not really a grower, but have joined plant hunting trips in recent years, several to South America. My talks are about habitat and plant communities, suitable for both alpine and general plant lovers. They are carefully constructed to be visually colourful and easy to follow.
I am currently chairman of the Dorset group and am often asked to give short talks for AGMs, etc. If you are interested in a 20-minute filler, please get in touch with me for options. I have been all round the southern groups with my talks and zoom would make it easier to visit those further afield.
Home Town: Southampton, Hampshire
Availability: Apart from conferences, over Zoom only
Information: Martin is a retired marine biologist, previously at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton University. He is a judge at AGS shows and an RHS committee member and judge. He grows a wide range of alpines and has a particular interest in South American plants. He has visited Patagonia many times, and has an excellent knowledge of the area and its flora. Martin together with his late wife Anna-Liisa and a group of colleagues have written a comprehensive field guide to the flowers of the region (AGS Field Guide Series).
1. Plants of the Volcano Region of Northern Patagonia (explores how volcanoes have influenced plant communities)
2. Plant Hunting in Patagonia’s Deep South (the remarkable flora of southern Argentina and Chile north of the Straits of Magellan, were the mountains abut onto permanent ice fields with cold winters and unpredictable cool summers)
3. Patagonia Coast to Coast: from the Atlantic to the Pacific (a journey across Patagonia, featuring dry steppe, mountain and temperate rain forest environments and plants)
4. The Patagonia National Park: the creation of a new national park in a plant-rich area of southen Argentina (looks at the plant communities on and around Meseta del Lago Buenos Aires in southern Patagonia and the formation of a new national park)
5. Monte Zeballos, where Southern and Northern Patagonian Floras Meet (expeditions to a floristically diverse area in the Andes of Central Patagonia)
6. Hardy Cacti of the Patagonian mountains and steppe (cacti of the low rainfall areas to the east of the andean peaks)
7. Flowers of the Patagonian steppe (flowering plants of the low rainfall areas east of the Andean range)
8. Violas and Volcanoes (An overview of Andinium (rosulate) violas in a range of environments and their association with volcanic landscapes in Patagonia)
9. Cushion Plants of the Southern Andes (the Andes contain around 60% of the world’s cushion plants. In this talk we present a broad range of cushion plants and discuss how they are adapted to their environment)
10. Orchids, Amaryllids and Irids of the Southern Andes (here we cover a selection of flowering monocotyledons, to show the range of species and their habitats)
11. Patagonian Orchids (the orchids of Patagonia are beautiful and showy, but little known in cultivation. The talk looks at the species in habitat)
12. With the A.G.S. in Southern Peru (an account of the first AGS tour to the mountains of southern Peru in 2014)
13. Exploring mountains of the Ancash Region of central Peru
14. Cacti of the mountains of southern and central Peru
15. Cultivation of a selection of Patagonian alpines
16. With the AGS in the central Chilean Andes
17. Alpines on the Equator. (AGS tours to Ecuador and northern Peru)
Phone: 01823 270655 Talks to non-AGS groups: yes Fee: depend upon distance £100+ Home town: Taunton Equipment: Digital projector & laptop Availability: Sept – April Zoom: yes
Information: Owner of Broadleigh Gardens, a nursery specialising in small and woodland bulbs. Ex member of the RHS Council, ex President of The Friends of Bristol Botanic Garden. Professional Photographer
1. The Woodland Garden – Uncommon Plants and Bulbs for Shady Areas 2. Creative Gardening with Bulbs 3. The Year Round Bulb Garden 4. Miniature Narcissus 5. Hardy Summer Bulbs 6. Using Bulbs in the Garden 7. Winter is not just Snowdrops 8. Species Peonies in the Wild 9. S Africa – bulbs 10. Northern Patagonia 11. Tibet 12. Yunnan & Sichuan 13. Northern Turkey
14. Georgia & Armenia
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.orgTalks to non-AGS groups: yes Fee: £75 + travel expenses Home town: The Netherlands Equipment: Digital projector & laptop Availability: Upon request, Accommodation requested for talk Zoom: yes
Information: Connor is currently in charge of the Rock Garden at Utrecht Botanic Garden which is one of the largest in Europe. Connor Smith has worked in America for Iseli nursery, one of the world’s leading conifer nurseries. Work for Zu Jeddeloh nursery in Germany, a short spell with Kevock Garden followed, where he participated in one of their Gold Medal-winning displays at the Chelsea Flower Show. Then, it was on to Vannucci Piante in Pistoia, Italy – the largest growing area in Europe. Connor gained an interested in alpine plants from alpine expert Elspeth MacKintosh at RBGE. Elspeth’s passion and knowledge inspired Connor to further pursue a world in alpine plants. In 2019, he worked for the Schachen Alpine Garden high in the German mountains on a Merlin Trust placement.
1. The Rock Garden: Utrecht Botanic Garden – A look at one of the largest rock gardens in Europe which contains a range of plants from all over the world.
2. Schachen Alpine Garden – A rock garden in the mountains of Germany containing a legendary collection of plants.
3. The world of Conifers – A tour into the ancient world of conifers. 4. The mountains of Oregon – A short talk about my return to Oregon after a year of living there.
Talks to non-AGS groups: yes
Fee: Zoom £60 for AGS, £80 for non-AGS groups. In person: £80 for AGS groups, £100 for non-AGS groups
Home county: Essex
Equipment: I give my presentations from a Chromebook with my own digital projector. I normally ask if the venue can provide a screen but generally can provide everything else. I can use a small portable vocal amplifier, if appropriate.
Availability: UK wide
Information: I am a retired garden designer and plant nut based in south-east Essex – the driest part of England. I have been gardening in ‘Subtropical’ or ‘Exotic’ style for 35 years and have a special interest in gardening with cacti and succulent plants. This interest has led to much travelling, specifically to Mexico, the home of many of my favourite plants.
I have written many articles for RHS publications and my own garden has featured twice in the RHS The Garden. My garden also featured on BBC Gardeners’ World in 2017 in addition to, over the years, many newspapers, magazines and books.
I have been on something of a crusade to promote exotic gardening in general and gardening with cacti and succulents in particular for some years . I regularly give talks to BCSS branches and zone conventions, garden clubs and societies, once having been invited to talk at a seminar in the Algarve on gardening with succulents. I’ve twice given talks to RHS committees.
1. Adventures in Mexico. Travelogue and plant interest – a distillation of 7 field trips to Mexico
2. More meanderings in Mexico. An account of my 8th and final trip to Mexico that didn’t go according to plan
3. Gardening with Succulents. How to use cacti and succulents as landscape subjects
4. Hardy Bromeliads. An overview of bromeliads it is possible to grow in the garden
5. Introduction to Exotic Gardening. How to achieve the exotic look
Contact: 01803 864489
Email: email@example.com Fee: AGS local groups £80 plus travelling (currently 28p/mile)
Home Town: Totnes, Devon
Talks to non-AGS groups: yes Equipment: I will bring everything except a screen Availability: please contact Zoom: no Information: Lifelong plantsman: botanist/nurseryman/writer.
1. ‘A Plantsman’s Guide to the American West’ – the big picture: geography, climates, vegetation types, but all illustrated by interesting and (usually) growable plants for the garden: it’s the stuff I wanted to know before I first went wide-eyed to the West
2. ‘Beneath the Trees’ – non-woody plants for the woodland garden (and how to grow them if you don’t have one)
3. ‘Making Sense of the Iridaceae’ – my ‘botanist turned nurseryman’ view of the family.
4. ‘The Botanical Gardener’ – portraits of plants for the garden, with snippets of science attached.
5. ‘From South to North’ – growing southern hemisphere bulbs in Britain – a taste of the diversity out there, the distinctive features of their wild homes, and some practical approaches to cultivation.
6. ‘Spines not Included -Herbaceous Berberidaceae from Forest and Mountain’ – Epimedium, Podophyllum, Jeffersonia, Ranzania etc
7. ‘The Secret Life of Bulbs and Corms’ – making sense of the structure and life cycles of bulbs, corms, and other underground organs, how they are formed and how they increase, with implications for propagation.
8. ‘Twelve Excellent Perennials – Position, Provenance, Propagation’
9. ‘Twelve Bulbs’ – on the same lines, but with twelve excellent and highly contrasting bulbs, some very offbeat, some more familiar, from which hangs a whole lot of ‘garden meets wild plants plus science’ – the sort of stuff I do…
10. ‘A Dream of Winter’ – a celebration of those plants which flower in that start-stop season, before winter has ended, before spring has really got going. Might suit a January or February meeting when we’re all trying to look forward…
11. ‘Hellebores: why I’m Still Interested after all these Years’ – the plants, plus the bits of biology which make them so interesting.
12. ‘How the Flowers Became’ – how the diversity of flowers evolved, all illustrated with good plants.
13. ‘For Us, not Them’ – fact, informed ideas and scurrilous opinion on the naming of plants
14. ‘Dilemmas of a Nobody’ – none of us want our plant enthusiasm to harm the natural world; and it would be great if our plant collections might be of some value in the wider scheme of things. So many dilemmas…
15. ‘Just another Amaryllid?’ – putting snowdrops into the context of their relatives in the Amaryllidaceae.
16. ‘The Origins of Diversity in Cultivated Snowdrops’ – pretty hardcore, this one, for snowdrop fans.
17. ‘Adventures with Strange Perennials’ – the rewards (and otherwise) of seeking out the novel and unfamiliar in familiar groups of plants.
18. ‘Adventures with Fancy Foliage’ – the subtleties of form and colour in leaves which make the difference between an average garden plant and a great one, all illustrated by interesting perennials and bulbs.
Talks to non-AGS groups: yes
Home town: I live in Norway, but charge travel from a London base
Availability: In “normal times” I visit the UK quite often, so it would be possible to pair an in person talk with one of my travels so that the group does not pay my travel expenses from Norway, but only from London.
Information: I’m a Norwegian gardener, writer, photographer and public speaker based in Norway. I have written several gardening books and appeared on Norwegian radio on several occasions. I run a small nursery specialising in herbaceous perennials and open my plant packed garden to visitors in the summer.
Over the years I have given numerous talks in Norway and in the last years several in the UK.
I travel to the UK several times a year, mainly during summer to attend the larger RHS flower Shows, but more and more also during the winter. I also volunteer at The Beth Chatto Gardens for a week every winter to get away from the snow here in Norway.
1. Growing alpines and woodland plants in Norway. A talk about some of the alpines and woodland plants that thrive in our cold, harsh climate. Anemone, Hepaticas, Anemonellas, Saxifraga, Trillium, Erythroniums. Meconopsis, Glaucidium etc.
2. Confessions from a Norwegian gardener. About the trials and tribulations of gardening in a country with almost six months of winter. The talk is mainly focused on my own garden north of Oslo and the large selection of plants we can grow in this cold climate, but also the very varied climate here in Norway. Also a short bit about the very short history of gardening that we have in this country, and a few other Norwegian gardens.
3. Plant propagation. Since I run a small nursery, plant propagation is at the heart of everything I do. This talk is about how I can propagate my own plants (from a private garden owners perspective, not big scale) using methods such as seed sowing, cuttings, divisions, root cuttings and layering, just to name a few. I will also show examples of some of the plants can be propagated using these different methods.
Talks to non-AGS groups: yes
Fee: £184 + travelling expenses (preferably by train/bus)
Home town: Faringdon, Oxfordshire
Equipment: I have laptop & projector, but require screen, table & mains extension cable
Availability: All-year-round Zoom: yes
Information: Read Botany at Oxford. Trained at Askham Bryan, Windsor and Kew. Director at Oxford Botanic Garden from 1988 to 2014 and is now College Lecturer in Plant Sciences (botany) at Somerville College Oxford. Former custodian of NCCPG Collection of Euphorbia.
1. Bordering on insanity – creating an all-year-round border
2. Plants, borders and gardens
3. On top but never in control – tales from a small garden
4. On top and almost in control – tales from an even smaller garden
5. Colour in a small garden
6. Euphorbias – probably the best garden plants in the world.
7. A blaze of glory – making your garden colourful in the autumn
8. In the not-so-bleak midwinter– making your garden interesting in the winter
9. Spring into gardening again – what to do and grow in the garden in Spring
10. Boggery in the garden – water features in the garden
11. A rockery in the garden – building & choosing plants
12. The subtle art & exact science of pruning
13. How to be a 21st century gardener
14. Two for the price of one – plants with at least two attractive features
15. Scent in the garden
16. A life in plants – a horticultural autobiography
17. Plant hunting in Eastern Anatolia
18. Seed collecting in Japan – the AGS expedition
19. Plant hunting in Australia Part 1: Down the Track
20. Plant hunting in Australia Part 2: Across the Plain.
21. The plants of the Algarve
22. The lands of giants & volcanoes – plants and places in Western USA
23. From Diaz to diamonds – plants and places in southwestern South Africa
24. Tenerife – a botanical honey pot and evolutionary laboratory
25. Can the Americans garden?
26. Garden hunting in China
27. Paradise lost & restored: 400 years of garden design in Oxfordshire
28. The university of Oxford botanic garden – 400 years of gardening & botany
29. The university of Oxford botanic garden – the first 100 years
30. 350 years of glasshouses at the Oxford botanic garden
31. The Harcourt Arboretum – the first 50 years
34. The healing power of plants
35. What have plants ever done for us?
36. Sex, lies & putrefaction – the natural history of pollination
37. What is so special about Charles Darwin?
38. Plant classification for gardeners
39. The plants of Christmas
40. Beauty in truth – the past, present & future of botanical illustration
Home Town: Carmarthen, South Wales
Contact: +44 1267 275205
Talks to non-AGS groups: yes
Fee: £60 – £100 depending on the group
Equipment: own projector but need a screen
Availability: any time by prior arrangement
Information: Members of the AGS for the past fifty years. Specialise in growing dwarf bulbs and have travelled extensively in areas where these grow. Rannveig runs a small nursery supplying rare bulbs by mail order.
1. Kurdistan: this takes in various trips around the borders of Turkey, Iraq and Iran including some nice quiet volcanoes. Very high and spectacular mountains with a huge number of endemic plants. Our favourite region of the World.
2. The Zagros: The unbelievably rich flora of this high and very snowy range of mountains which stretch down the western side of Iran and have been quite difficult to access until very recently. We will show lots of Dionysias as well as some spectacular fritillaries, tulips and the hugely variable Anemone biflora.
3. Flowers of the Pontics: A photographic tour which criss-crosses from the moist temperate climate of the Black Sea-facing slopes to the drier high steppes on the south side through spring, summer and autumn.
4. Georgia in the Early Spring: We took a short tour to Georgia in April 2010 to see the early flora in both the Caucasus and the Lesser Caucasus so we show lots of Primulas, Scillas, snowdrops and other fabulous woodland flowers. There were even some early alpines in the snow melt.
5. The Levant: Hatay to Hermon: this is about spring flowers in the Levant (Amanus in Turkey, Jebl Nusairia in Syria and all ranges in Lebanon). Mainly Mediterranean bulbs with a lot of Cyclamen and some high mountain flora.
6. Elburz and Kopet Dag: a circular trip around the Caspian forests and then into the dry Kopet Dag via the Golestan National Park. The forests contain a lot of very garden worthy plants. Great Irises and a couple of Dionysias.
7. Turkish Delights: a more general talk based on 15 trips, over 25 years, throughout the three climatic zones in Turkey and their special plants. The three zones are Mediterranean, high central plateau and the northern temperate rainforest.
8. Petra to Persepolis: A talk which we prepared for the World of Bulbs IV conference in January 2010. We describe the highlights of the bulbous flora of the mountains which form a huge arc around the Syrian Desert and Mesopotamia from Jordan through Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and Iran ending at the famous city of the Persian Kings near Shiraz.
9. The Treasures of Tadjikistan & Uzbekistan: We have been plant hunting in Central Asia a lot recently and this is just part of the story. It starts next to the border with Afghanistan and goes via Samarkand and Tashkent to the Chatkal Range. This is the centre of Tulip and bulbous Iris development and includes many other genera including Fritillaria and Corydalis.
10. Plant Hunting in Kyrgyzstan & Kazakhstan: This takes up the Central Asian story and moves from the Chatkal, dips back into the Pamirs and then we go through the magnificent Tien Shan on our way up to the Russian border.
11. The Treasures of Uzbekistan: We visit the western extensions of the Pamir and Tien Shan Ranges which abound with bulbous plants in the Spring. We also can’t resist taking you to some of the best bits of Samarkand and Shahrizabz with their enormous and spectacular medieval mausoleums. A more detailed talk about this historic region.
12. Eastern Kazakhstan: Tien Shan to Altai: A more detailed trip to the furthest reaches of Kazakhstan to see the bulbs and early alpines there including several Tulipa, Fritillaria, Iris and Corydalis.
13. Kyrgyzstan: Land of the Nomads: This small Central Asian state is more than 90% mountainous occupying both part of both the Pamir and the Tien Shan. It has a rich alpine as well as bulb flora and spectacular country. A more relaxed tour through one of the few countries that we really fallen in love with. We have now spent a lot more time there and seen many more exciting things.
14. Steppes in the Snowmelt: A tour of the northern hemisphere’s high steppes at snowmelt time. This is the time when huge numbers of bulbs and other alpines come rapidly into growth and flower. We visit: California, Morocco, Greece, Turkey and Iran. This is a talk which was prepared specifically for the Chiltern Conference in September 2010.
15. Autumn in the Mediterranean: A look at plants which flower through October and November in the Mediterranean area. This takes in Spain, Greece and Turkey. Great pictures of Colchicum, Crocus and Cyclamen.
16. Bulbous Habitats: A look at various habitat types where bulbs are found using pictures from all over the northern hemisphere. We talk about the habitat and how we can copy that to get such bulbs growing in UK. It can be adapted for either general gardeners who like to grow things in the garden or for more expert audiences who have access to greenhouses and frames and want to learn more about the subject.
17. Early Bulbs: Having grown and shown bulbs in early shows for the best part of 40 years we review those which, in our hands, normally flower before the end of March in either the garden or in pots. It shows of many species in wild habitats and how we cultivate them. We have included a number of medal winners to show what can be achieved.
18. Maintenance of a Bulb Collection: A detailed, practical review of the way in which we manage our bulb collection in Wales, how we propagate the various genera and how we grow them through the year.
19. Fritillaries on Four Continents: A review of our favourite genus based on habitat type and therefore cultivation requirements. This was prepared for the 2011 International Rock Garden Conference.
20. Wildlings & Foundlings: A short (30 min) talk written for the Galanthus Gala 2012 about some of the more unusual Galanthus in the wild, their habitat & co-inhabitants and some new forms which we have raised.
All talks are primarily focused on bulbs but we put in lots of other things like wildlife, archaeological sites and even a few people sometimes.
Garden Talks for a more general audience:
21. The Garden at Llwyn Ifan: Our garden in the wild wet west of Wales which has developed over 15 years.
22. Bulbs for the Garden: We specialise in bulbous plants and this describes those that are good garden plants in the west of Wales.
23. Autumn in the garden: Our favourite season with autumn colour and lots of flowers.
24. Alpines in the wild and in cultivation: A general talk (slides) about the “how to construct” and “what to grow” in the way of alpines. We discuss rock gardens, troughs and alpine houses and an A – Z list of good plants. This is where we started way back in the early 1970s and how our interest has developed.
25. A Plantaholic Home and Away. Rannveig has prepared a talk about how she became a plantaholic at a very early age, how she has been unable to shake off the affliction and how it manifests itself both at home and away on many of our botanical trips around the World. This was first given at the Scottish Bulb Weekend in 2016.
Talks to non-AGS groups: yes
Fee: £100 (see website for full price structure)
Availability: I travel nationally, and bring plants to sell to the meetings.
Information: Ph.D in plant genetics and breeding at Nottingham University, set up Norwell Nurseries and Gardens in 1994, specialising in rare and unusual perennials and alpines. National Collection Holder of Hardy Chrysanthemums and Astrantias. Have over 2,000 different plants in the nationally renown gardens including innovative sand beds for alpines, North American and Mediterranean plants. Give 50 talks a year to all types of group including AGS, HPS and Plant Heritage, including key note talks, workshops, study days and AGM’s.
1. Sand Beds- how to grow tricky alpines outside easily! How to create, a sand bed and the plants that will thrive, including Gentians, Lithodora, Daphnes, saxifrages, Anchusa, Narcissus and Tulips.
2. Woodland Gems. The shade garden provides us with some of the most beautiful plants we can grow. Including Trilliums, Erythronium etc.
3. Shady Characters. Even more, shade lovers, a more discerning mix than Woodland Gems.
4. Brilliant Borages, starring the pulchritudinous Pulmonarias. The Borage family is very diverse and contains familiar and unfamiliar garden plants often with intense flower colour. This talk is great for spring and looks at Pulmonarias, Omphalodes, Brunnera, Symphytum, Anchusas and others plus plants from outside the family that will complement them. New in 2019.
5. Indispensable Plants. A selection of more uncommon plants which, for a variety of reasons, are a must in our garden.
6. Beautiful Buttercups and Priceless Polemoniums. A look at the many and varied plants that make up the large family of Ranunculaceae and the much smaller Polemoniaceae including: Aconitum, Actaea, Anemone, Aquilegea, Clematis, Delphinium Hellebore, Ranunculus, Thalictrums and the Phloxes.
7. Gardening in a changing Climate. If there is one thing that climate change will bring it is extremes of weather, either heat, drought or wet. Therefore, plants that exhibit a willingness to survive and even thrive under tricky conditions will become increasingly important. However, that doesn’t mean we have to rely on boring Hypericums and Geranium Johnson’s Blue! This talk looks at the consequences of global warming and at beautiful, interesting, more unusual plants that are amenable to weather extremes. New in 2019
Talks to non-AGS groups: yes
Fee: £ 25 (Zoom talks) £40 (in-person talks)
Availability: Most of the talks are in 2 approximately 45 minute sections however they can be distilled into a single hour long talk if enough notice is given and some talks are an hour (please enquire). I’m also happy to try and tailor talks to specific groups as although most talks have lots of cacti and other succulents in them there are bromeliads, tillandsias, orchids etc etc as well as scenery, other plants and wildlife that should appeal to a wider audience. More talks are being added as and when I’m able to travel or put them together! Thanks.
Information: Ian’s interest in cacti started as a teenager but as so often happens it was interrupted by further education and, in his case, a job in Fiji. On returning to England Ian was able to get back into the hobby and has held various roles in the British cactus and Succulent Society (BCSS) at branch level. His photography has featured in BCSS calendars and in cactus books, and he has also written numerous articles for both the BCSS journal CactusWorld and the Mammillaria Society. Ian has talked widely at BCSS branches and at conventions in the UK and overseas. He has travelled extensively to study and photograph cacti in habitat, as well as the rest of the rich flora and fauna of North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
After taking voluntary redundancy Ian took over Eau Brink cactus nursery in Norfolk. Ian is now on the committee of ELK (European Countries Conference for Cactus and Succulent enthusiasts).
1.The Desert in flower: Chile and Argentina 2010. Plants, animals and scenery encountered during a trip that crossed the Andes in N Chile
2. SW USA 2009. A trip to the SW states and Big Bend in Texas with plants, scenery wildlife and National Parks
3. Chile 2003. My first trip to Chile with lots of cacti, alstromerias etc in N Chile
4. Chile 2007. Includes Penguins
5. Argentina 2005. Plants, scenery and wildlife of NW Argentina
6. SW USA 2011. This trip includes the Huntington Botanical gardens, bears and plants in habitat.
7. Baja Mexico. Plants and wildlife from 2 trips to the Baja Peninsular
8. Mexico Spring 2014. A trip to the NE states of Mexico to photograph the spring flowering plants
9. Mexico Autumn 2014. To catch the autumn flowering plants
10. SW USA 2015. Covering the plants and scenery of CA, NV, UT and AZ
11. Mexico 2016. A trip covering states S of Mexico city as well as some to the NE for plants and scenery
12. Mexico 2017. Plants and scenery W of Mexico city and N up to Durango etc
13. Peru 2017. Plants, wildlife and scenery from Peru including Bromeliads and orchids
14. Travels in cactus country. Sights and plants seen during travels across the Americas
We are looking for speakers on a variety of subjects related to the interests of our members. Botany, alpines and rock gardening, succulents and hardy cacti, hardy ferns, small herbaceous perennials, hardy orchids, hardy and half-hardy bulbs, snowdrops, small shrubs, travel and photography, botanical illustration; the list is long.
If you would like to be included on this page, please fill in the form below.