Meetings and Talks

2021 Talks via Zoom

We are delighted to inform you that our winter/spring talks are continuing via ZOOM but we do need as many of you as possible to participate in order to make these talks viable in the near future.  We therefore warmly encourage you to join us for further talks in the following months. Members from other Garden Trusts are also very welcome. We are looking forward to brighter days and a better year ahead!

Our first talk of 2021 is via Zoom on:

FRIDAY 29th January at 19:30 

Speaker: Mick Brown, Horticultural Technician, Chatsworth House

On the subject of: CHATSWORTH – Recent Developments and Future Plans.

We also hope to hear about the progress of our sponsored student Britta, and a visit to Chatsworth Gardens later in the year, if circumstances allow!


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

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

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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