Meetings and Talks

2021 Talks and Events

Our evening talks will resume in the autumn and will be either actual or virtual according to the Covid situation at the time. Meanwhile here are some exciting summer social events for you to look forward to. Please contact Caroline if you wish to book your places and we are looking forward to seeing you all again very soon!


Tuesday 13th July at 6pm – This is our summer social gathering to be held in the garden of Ramshaw Lodge, Unstone (between Dronfield and Chesterfield). DHGT members Tony and Jill Bethell have kindly offered to host this event in their garden which sits on the site of a former colliery and includes 6 acres of woodland bordered by the River Drone.

The garden has many interesting features including the former entrance to the mine, old coke ovens, a dog’s graveyard and delightful woodland walks which are perfect for a summer evening. 

You are invited to bring your own picnic, and tea/coffee & cold drinks will be provided. There will be a marquee in case of inclement weather, and any talented person (musically or otherwise) is encouraged to bring an instrument to add to the jollity of the occasion.

There is no cost to DHGT members, and there will be a raffle and the opportunity to donate to the PGG if you wish.

Please let Caroline know if you are planning to attend so that she can send directions and produce a guest list, either by email:

or by telephone on 07971 883597. We are looking forward to seeing you there!

A further event is planned for August, so watch this space!


Please note that due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, the following talks have been cancelled or postponed.  Until further notice all our talks are via Zoom, so please keep an eye on this website for any updates.

The following speakers and future talks will be rescheduled at a future date:

Tony Brewer: “Photographing Plants” 

Tracey Akehurst: “The Planthunter, Botanist, Spy and Thief”

St Anne’s Allotments – Unique Heritage Gardens

Don Witton: “Once Seen, Never Forgotten”

Danny Wells: Joseph Paxton, ‘The busiest man in England’ – gardens, conservatories, parks, architecture and much more.


Previous Talks & Events

Saturday 19th June 2021 – Chatsworth Gardens: A splendid guided tour was had with Mick Brown, Chatsworth Horticultural Technician and Britta Horsthemke the PGG student. It was fascinating to see the development of the gardens year by year incorporating the bold and innovative designs and planting by Dan Pearson and Tom Stuart-Smith. The sunny afternoon was rounded off by a picnic in the grounds.

Our spring talks came to a splendid conclusion with Andrew Sankey’s thoroughly engaging and illuminating talk about ‘William Morris and the Arts & Crafts Gardens’. It was held on:

FRIDAY 23rd April 2021 – Andrew quotes: “William Morris was very much part of the Arts & Crafts Garden Movement where the house and garden should be in ‘unity’ and the garden fade out into the landscape beyond. His love of gardening and ideas were taken on by many architects and gardeners, who would go on to produce some fabulous Arts & Crafts Gardens in Britain. We may not think of Morris as a gardener, but his influence upon the garden at the time was considerable.”

March 26th 2021 – Jeff Bates on the subject of ‘Great Welsh Gardens’ – Four gardens featured in this engaging talk, each with very significant and distinct histories, taken in turn from ‘oldest to most recent’. History, plants and landscape came together via a beautiful set of images which illustrated how gardens continue to change. A talk that made us want to visit and revisit these wonderful gardens at various times of the year!

February 26th 2021 – Darren Lerigo on the subject of ‘Topiary in the Garden’ – Recent Developments and Future Plans. Darren is a gardener who specialises in topiary. His interesting talk looked at how we use topiary and prune plants in the garden – in the past, in the present and what we could do with them as gardens change in the future! In addition, some interesting questions were asked of the audience with some surprising answers!

January 29th 2021 – Mick Brown (Horticultural Technician for Chatsworth House) – ‘Chatsworth – Recent Developments and Future Plans’ gave us a fascinating presentation about developments at the gardens of Chatsworth House over the last year and this was followed by an illuminating insight into the progression of our sponsored PGG student Britta Horsthemke. We hope to follow this up by a visit to Chatsworth Gardens sometime this year!

January 11th 2021 at 19:30 – DHGT AGM via Zoom. Thank you to all our members who attended this important event. Your input was very much appreciated.

2020 CHRISTMAS SPECIAL talk & quiz FRIDAY, 18th December at 19:30

For our “Christmas Special” talk we welcomed our engaging and informative Guest Speaker: Margie Hoffnung, Conservation Officer at the Gardens Trust on the subject of: “Garden Visiting – A Very British Tradition” – Margie gave us a light-hearted look at the many aspects of gardens through the ages which might tempt people to visit them : e.g. from classic English parklands by Capability Brown and Repton, to herbaceous borders, cottage gardens, gnomes, snowdrop lunches, hermits, giant vegetables, flower shows, and even lawn mower racing!

Margie’s talk was followed by an engaging Christmas quiz prepared by Jeff Bates. It was heartwarming to welcome members from neighbouring Garden Trusts who also participated in the talk and quiz. 

27th November 2020 Via Zoom –  Matthew Biggs on the subject of “Secrets of Great Botanists” – Based on his RHS book of the same name, Matthew examined just what it takes to make a great botanist.  Using examples through history and from around the globe, he revealed the extraordinary lives of several botanists, including William Dampier, and Jeanne Baret who circumnavigated the world in disguise. He considered the motivations that drove them to succeed and what we, as gardeners can learn from their experiences.

This was an absolutely fascinating talk that left us all speechless and wanting to purchase his book for Christmas!

30th October 2020 Via Zoom – Elizabeth Gowing: “125 000 flowers – what it takes to make a spoon of honey”. Elizabeth gave us a fascinating talk of her experiences as a beekeeper and her research for her Little Book of Honey, published in 2012 and Travels in Blood and Honey: becoming a beekeeper in Kosovo. She shared with us the principles of bee-friendly gardening along with fascinating information about how a colony of bees operates – and a few tips on how their products can be used in cooking and healthcare. 

Elizabeth gave us a very engaging talk, the first of this autumn season. If you missed it, you can still see it here for a limited time, so be quick. Click on this link:

31 January 2020 – Roger Merryweather: “The Apple Through the Ages”. Roger gave us a fascinating talk about the history of the apple, leading up to the introduction of the Bramley’s Seedling Apple by his great grandfather Mr Henry Merryweather in the late 1800’s.


8th December 2019 – Christmas Social. Lunch at Carsington Water Visitor Centre, DE6 1ST(Mainsail Restaurant). For all bookings please contact Caroline Pollard.

22 November 2019 AGM at 7.15 pm, followed by: Graham & Judy White – “Gardening Mishaps and Disasters” – A hilarious talk by entertaining speakers, on how not to do things!

18 October (change of date from 25th October) – Catherine James – “Derbyshire – Where Writers Walked” – her book published in August 2018. Local author Catherine gave us a very illuminating and engaging talk about the fascinating connections that our county has had over centuries including not just ‘big name’ writers.

27 September – Maureen Taylor – “(Medieval &) Tudor Garden Style” – a costumed presentation.
“Maureen, in full Elizabethan costume, spoke about romance, intrigue, ostentation, old gardening tools and women gardeners being paid less than men!  There were some lovely and amusing old pictures from the era”.
9 August – Meynell Langley Trial Gardens – Our final social event for this summer. Meet at 6pm, for a guided tour with the owner. Cost £4 per person (the cafe will be open for teas and coffees to be purchased afterwards). 
24 July – Ringwood Hall – The third of our social events this year. Meet at 5pm, for a guided tour with the head gardener followed by a buffet. Cost £14.95
8 June – Cascades Gardens, Bonsall. The second of our social events this year. Meet at 4pm for a guided tour.
6 May – Chatsworth Gardens. This was the first of our social events this year. Members enjoyed an exclusive and informative tour around the grounds and gardens led by Mick the horticultural technician and Phoebe the PGG student whom we have supported this year. Large areas have been transformed and imaginative plans are being taken forward to the next stage. We await with interest to see further developments each year.
26 April – Judy Popley – “A Prospect of Arley” – the Cheshire Hall, Gardens and personalities from the 1890’s onwards.
Judy gave a fascinating illustrated talk on ‘Prospects of Arley’ the lovely Cheshire Garden, based around a collection of photographs from the 19th Century, of the staff and the gardens as they were at that time. Typical sepia tones helped to set some bowler-hatted gardeners, with splendid moustaches, into their proper context; the housemaids and kitchen staff, in long dresses that seemed improbably cumbersome for the jobs they had to do, also featured. All was assisted by photos of some of the same situations as they are in the 21st Century.

22 March – Michael Brown – “Early Gardening Methods” – from the Romans onwards.“We were given a lively talk, following trends in design over the past 2,000 years.  The excellent selection of pictures (of both methods and tools) was enhanced by wry comments from Michael.  Many tools were recognisable; of particular interest were the small differences from modern tools, giving glimpses into the conditions under which past gardeners worked.”

22 February 2019 – Alan Clements – “Cascades Gardens” of Bonsall. This was a fascinating talk by the garden creator who outlined all aspects of the garden’s development over the past 25 years. It’s influences from Buddhism and from Japan were beautifully illustrated throughout. A visit here is planned for later this year.

25 January 2019 – The Gardens Trust and the GOGLE project (including Allestree Park). Dr Tamsin McMillan (Historic Landscape Officer) and Margie Hoffnung (Conservation Officer) from the Gardens Trust  gave us a lively and illustrative talk on the work they do and how we can all help in the protection of historic sites that we value through research, recording, and helping with planning. Allestree Park is one of the eight sites from the East Midlands region, selected for this project. *UPDATE: Unfortunately this project did not get any funding in this current round of grant applications to the HLF. However, a new bid will be submitted soon and it is hoped the project will progress in the near future.










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