Lecture Programme for 2024-25

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

This year’s programme introduces members to a completely new set of speakers, some dealing with planting in a climate which is increasingly hotter and drier. We hope that you will enjoy what we have put together for this season of lectures.

12th March 2024

Great Gardens of Great Britain – Andrew Babicz

Andrew has over 50 years experience in horticulture, starting in Scotland and including working at National Trust, RHS gardens, Kew and Hampton Court. A former judge of South and South East in Bloom. So, Great Gardens – because of plants, landscape, or the tea and cakes?! Come along and find out which Andrew thinks are “great” and perhaps plan your 2024 holiday to include some of these? www.babicz.com

9th April 2024

Some Like it Hot – Annie Godfrey

Annie and her partner run the Daisy Roots nursery in Hertford, specialists in drought-resistant plants for over twenty years. Daisy Roots has won gold medals at several RHS shows in recent years, displaying hardy healthy perennials and grasses. Tonight’s talk will focus on choosing plants that will copy with full sun and drought conditions.    www.daisyroots.com

14th May 2024: Plant Sale +

Exploring Traditional Wild Flower Names – Twigs Way

Twigs is a garden historian, writer and researcher and is fascinated by the past and intrigued by the role of flowers, gardens and landscape in art and culture of all kinds. Wildflower names provide us with a fascinating insight into the world of our ancestors. Alive with imagery and practicality, animals and birds, myth and magic, sex and religion (lots of sex!). Over the centuries we have lost touch with this wonderful world where words Cow Mumble shared the verge with Sheep’s Parsley, Alehoof and Pilewort were every housewife’s friend. This talk will reveal all from Priests Pintles and Pigs Pettitoes via Venus’ Basin: and reveal how Love in Idleness inspired A Midsummer Night’s Dream.    www.twigsway.me


11th June 2024

Sweet Peas – Lesley Gamblin

Lesley is Assistant Essex Organiser for the National Garden Scheme and is a garden historian who has made a special study of the history of sweet pea growing in Essex. She also has developed an enviable expertise in the propagation of sweet peas. We are hoping that she will be bringing along some of her plants for sale this evening.


8th October 2024 – Charity Lecture

Havering Green Streets – Gina Must and colleagues

This group of volunteers, led by Gina Must, work in association with the London Borough of Havering to help improve our green spaces. They use the greenhouse and spaces in Langtons in Hornchurch. Tonight they will tell us about the progress they have made since they started and what their plans are for the future. For more information, see the article in last year’s handbook. www.facebook.com/HavGreenStreets

12th November 2024

Exotic Gardening and More – Paul Spracklin

Paul is a garden designer and plant nut with a specialist interest in exotic gardening, especially in the use of cacti and succulent plants as landscape subjects. He has been gardening in this style of nearly 40 years and his own garden has featured in newspapers, magazines, books and television. Tonight’s talk will show us how to create a subtropical-style garden with particular bias to the dry conditions in our area. www.oasisdesigns.co.uk/oasisdesigns2008/2007a.htm

10th December 2024

The History and Restoration of Copped Hall – Linda Stewart

Copped Hall, near Epping, is a Grade 2 listed Georgian mansion currently under restoration. Linda and her husband became involved with Copped Hall in 2015 and have been volunteering there ever since. Tonight, Linda will tell us about the ongoing process and her talk will include many photos of the 4 acre Walled Garden and surrounding grounds. www.coppedhalltrust.org.uk

14th January 2025: AGM +

The Greening of London – David Williams

David is a registered City of London guide and lecturer and tonight will be talking about the progress made over the last 300 years to design and create some of the green spaces in London. These spaces are vitally important in controlling air pollution and continue to offer Londoners, and those visiting the City, a healthier lifestyle. David will look at very small pocket parks and also the larger green areas we are fortunately to live near. www.londonfootsteps.co.uk

11th March 2025

Myddelton House Gardens – Bryan Hewitt

Situated in North London, Myddelton House Gardens is the life-long home of Edward Augustus Bowles, one of Britain’s most famous self-taught gardeners. E A Bowles had a passion for crocuses which gave him the name ‘the crocus king’. Tonight Bryan, who previously worked as a gardener at Myddelton, will tell us something of the history and development of the gardens over the years. www.visitleevalley.org.uk/myddelton-house-gardens