Meetings and Talks

2020 Talks to resume via Zoom

We are delighted to announce that our first talk of this autumn season will now commence via Zoom on:

FRIDAY, 30th October at 19:30

Speaker: Elizabeth Gowing on the subject of “125 000 flowers – what it takes to make a spoon of honey”

Drawing on Elizabeth’s 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 (Signal Books, 2011), she shares 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 has been a contributor to Radio 4 for the past 5 years and is a regular speaker to groups in the UK, including RHS Wisley’s events programme. 

Please note that due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, the following talks have been cancelled or postponed.  We are currently hoping to organise new talks via Zoom, so please keep an eye on this website.

The following speakers and talks will be rescheduled for 2021, and dates will be published as soon as arrangements are finalised.

Tony Brewer: “Photographing Plants” 

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

St Anne’s Allotments – Unique Heritage Gardens

Margie Hoffnung: “Garden Visiting, a very British Tradition”

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

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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