Lecture Programme for 2022-23

Held in the New Windmill Hall in Upminster on Tuesday evenings.
Doors open 7.15 for 7.45 pm.

8th March 2022

Miss Jekyll's Gardening Boots - Russell Bowes

When William Nicholson wanted to paint a portrait of the famous gardener Gertrude Jekyll, she was far too busy in her garden to pose for him during the day. To keep himself occupied while waiting for her, he decided to paint her gardening boots. Fortunately, other famous gardeners had not been so busy. Come and meet this month’s speaker, who entertained us so well about five years ago, this time featuring seven gardeners, including our local Ellen Willmott, whose careers cover the last 250 years of gardening in England, while they sit for their portraits.

12th April 2022
Secrets of Hever Castle – Neil Miller

Neil used to work in the City of London. Following redundancy, he decided to follow his passion and take up a career in horticulture. Now he is Head Gardener at Hever Castle where he has been for over 17 years. During this time Neil has visited and worked in gardens in Israel, Morocco and North Korea. Perhaps another story? Tonight we go behind the scenes of the gardens at Hever from their implementation in the early 20th century to current times. We will be offering a coach trip to Hever in the summer of 2022.

10th May 2022
Dry Garden at RHS Hyde Hall – Ian Bull

Ian Bull has been at RHS Garden Hyde Hall for just over twenty years and is currently a Garden Manager overseeing the Hilltop Garden, the original, ornamental part of the garden, as well as the student and apprenticeship programmes at the garden. Before arriving at Hyde Hall, Ian studied at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and at RHS Garden Wisley. The Dry Garden talk focuses on the iconic Dry Garden at Hyde Hall which was first developed in 2001. To set the scene the talk begins by looking at Beth Chatto’s Garden and her Gravel Garden in particular. The Dry Garden is then looked at in some detail including how and why it was built and the ethos behind it. It also looks at the plants that grow well in its harsh environment and why some plants flourish in these tough conditions. Useful information for future climate change.


14th June 2022
Pelargoniums – Brian Carline

Brian is a retired teacher and has written several books as well as being an after-dinner speaker. He has grown pelargoniums and fuchsias for over 40 years, mostly organically and returns once again to Upminster to introduce us to several varieties of pelargoniums. Many of us grow bedding pelargoniums in the summer (often referred to as geraniums) but tonight we will hear in more depth about the Regal and Angel varieties which Brian has propagated for many years. We hope he will be bringing along some of his plants for sale.


11th October 2022 - Charity Evening

The Restoration of Upminster Windmill and the Evolution of its Gardens – Paul Sainsbury

Paul has a passion for archaeology, local history and gardening and has been a member of the Friends of Upminster Windmill for 10 years. His current role of head gardener and local archaeologist makes him an ideal speaker for tonight’s talk. Tonight Paul will be giving a brief resumé on the Upminster Windmill Restoration, followed by the building and development of the visitor centre garden. The Upminster Windmill Visitor Centre garden, was been awarded first prize in the Havering in Bloom 2021 competition for best communal garden.


8th November 2022
Havering’s Horticultural Heritage – Lois Amos

One of our favourite speakers brings her usual enthusiasm and knowledge and will explore why Havering is not usually famed for the connection it has or the history of horticulture it holds. However, the more we delve into Havering’s horticultural heritage the more we will discover. We will learn something about Havering in Bloom and enjoy Lois’s inimitable lively delivery!


13th December 2022
Growing Vegetables – Mike Jervis

Tonight’s speaker, Mike Jervis, is a nationally qualified judge for vegetables and daffodils and an EGHJ (Essex Guild of Horticultural Judges) since the mid 1990's. Tonight he will give us his first-hand gardening knowledge about vegetable growing. This is something which more people started doing in 2020 either because they had more time during lockdown, or it avoids going to the shops, or simply because home-grown food tastes better. Mike will start his talk answering your questions and addressing any problems you may have growing veg, give us some tips and end by showing us some pictures of what can be achieved when growing vegetables for shows!


10th January 2023
AGM and
52 Weeks in the Shade Garden – Lynne Moore

Lynne, another new speaker for the Society, runs a family nursery in Billericay specialising in shade tolerant and woodland plants. She confesses to be a plantaholic, always looking for something new. The nursery has been growing plants for sale since 2004 and regularly exhibits at RHS shows. We all have some shade in our gardens and tonight Lynne will be showing us plants which we can grow in our shady borders all the year round.


14th March 2023
Weeds and the Weed-Free Garden – Geoff Hodge

A writer and broadcaster for over 20 years, Geoff joins us tonight from Peterborough. Weeds are something most of us don’t want to grow in our gardens. Tonight Geoff will give us hints, tips, advice and the weapons to fight the battle with our garden weeds and help us to reduce and prevent weeds invading our gardens. A very entertaining speaker, so don’t miss this one!