Previous Talks & Events

Previous Talks & Events


Wednesday 31st May, 2pm – Sydnope Hall visit, courtesy of DHG members Alan & Carolyn Davies. An informative and welcoming event to start off the summer season of visits. An enjoyable time was had by all, despite the unseasonably cold weather. Nicely rounded off by tea and cakes in the conservatory.

Friday 28th April – Linda Proud– ‘The development of Markeaton Park’. Evolution from medieval agricultural system, landscaping and municipalisation to present day use. Linda gave us all a fascinating insight into the history of this fascinating park that many of us were familiar with, particularly in our childhood years. The summer social event will be held here on 22nd of July when we will also have the opportunity to participate in a guided tour.

Friday 31st March – Mick Evans – ‘Old Garden into New’. Mick, head gardener at Packwood House gave us an illuminating talk on current plans and developments at Packwood House along with an insight into his previous interesting horticultural background.

Friday 24th February – Hildegard Wiesehofer from the NGS, on the gardens in the county which are open for the scheme with a particular emphasis on those attached to historic properties such as Renishaw Hall.

January 27th 2023 – Adrienne McStocker – ‘The Model Gardens of Bournville Village’


Friday 18th November – AGM at 7.15 pm, followed by talk : Jeff Bates on ‘Great Scottish Gardens’.

Friday 28th October – Camilla Anderson on the ‘The Arts & Crafts Gardens and Gardens of Harold Peto’. Members enjoyed a well illustrated and engaging talk covering Arts & Crafts Gardens, with a particular focus on Harold Peto and how these gardens have had influence around the world.

Friday 30th September 7.30pm – Richard Betts – ‘The Tale of Two Gardens’. This was the first talk of the autumn season.

Saturday 13th August 1.30pm – Visit to Chatsworth Gardens. On a very hot day, our members enjoyed two well led tours by Faye Tuffrey (manager of trainees), and our DHGT sponsored PGG trainee Aiden Hopkinson. Members enjoyed the kitchen garden area, the extended rock garden and all aspects of the new woodland planting. We also had a first view of the brand new rose garden adjacent to the conservative wall (‘Paxton’s Cases’).

Monday 20th June 5.30pm – Visit and tour of Melbourne Dower House Gardens. On a lovely evening members enjoyed a fully guided tour around the splendid garden which borders Melbourne Pool. The tour ended with refreshments including delicious cakes on the lawn by the house. This visit ideally complemented the talk by Griselda Kerr earlier in the season.

Saturday 14th May 2pm – Visit to Snitterton Hall Gardens (near Matlock). Members and guests were treated to a lovely tour of this historic garden in beautiful sunny weather. Refreshments were supplied and many members enjoyed a sociable chat afterwards with head gardener Libby Cutts. Libby was one of our earlier recipients of the DHG grant towards funding of her PGG training at Chatsworth Gardens. She was really appreciative of this valuable gesture towards her future career.

Friday 29th April 7.30pm Tracey Akehurst. ‘Passions, Potions & Poisons: Love & Death in the Garden’. A fascinating and illuminating talk was given by Tracey and plants were available for sale during the evening.

Friday 25th March 7.30pm Dr Peter Robinson, Trustee & Chair of Elvaston Castle & Gardens Trust – ‘Current developments at Elvaston Castle’

Friday 25th February 7.30pm – Jane Mayfield of Mayfield Plants – ‘A Country Walk’. An engaging and interesting talk was given by Jane and her plants were available for sale on the night.

Friday 28th January – Griselda Kerr – Melbourne Dower House and ‘The Joy of Gardening’. Despite some initial technical hitches with computer and projector, once resolved, Griselda gave a fascinating illustrated talk on the history and development of the site and it’s garden. For the past 40 years it has been in the care of her and her husband and transformed from an unkempt wilderness into a plantsman’s garden with interest throughout the seasons. The talk was beautifully illustrated and benefitted greatly from the ability of the owners to take pictures throughout the year and at all times of the day. We are now greatly look forward to our visit in June.



Sunday 12th December at 12.30pm – Christmas Social Lunch at The Lion Hotel, Belper, DE56 1AX.

Friday 19th November at 7pm – AGM, followed by talk at 7.30: Mick McNaught, Derby City Council- ‘Recent Developments at Derby Arboretum and Consultation with the DHGT on Future Plans and Proposals’. An interesting and richly illustrated evening with Mick revealing behind the scenes work and history of this oldest public park in England.

Friday 22nd October – Danny Wells – Joseph Paxton ‘The Busiest Man in England’. Danny gave us a most engaging talk on the talents and boundless energy of this extremely talented man. It is quite remarkable that he achieved so much during his lifetime of 61 years. Paxton is best known for designing the Crystal Palace, but he was also gardener, architect, engineer, Member of Parliament and much more, as this talk revealed.

Friday 24th September – Dianne Barre ‘The Hidden Few: Women Garden Designers in Derbyshire 1620-1820’ On our first “live” meeting, Dianne gave us a fascinating insight into a most unusual subject and one which left us thinking and wanting to know more!

Saturday 21st August – A guided visit around Newstead Abbey Gardens. Members enjoyed a splendid and informative tour of the gardens covering the history and interesting details of characters involved in the gardens’ creation and development, as well as insights into the financial challenges of managing the gardens at the current time. Our thanks go to our guide and the dedicated volunteer gardener who took us around this historic garden.

Tuesday 13th July at 6pm – Our wonderful DHGT members Tony and Jill Bethell kindly offered to host this event in their garden at Ramshaw Lodge, Unstone, which sits on the site of a former colliery and includes 6 acres of woodland bordered by the River Drone. Members had a wonderful time with guided tours by the owners, followed by a picnic in the garden, on a very pleasant summer evening.

Saturday 19th June 2021 – Chatsworth Gardens: A splendid guided tour was had with Mick Brown, Chatsworth Horticultural Technician and Britta Horsthemke our sponsored PGG student for this year. 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.

FRIDAY 23rd April 2021 – 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’. 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 missed a great treat but you can purchase her books.

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 2019 – 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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