Monthly Meetings and Events 2023

Talks will be held at St Peter’s Church, Worcester WR5 3TZ.

Talks will be held at St Peter’s Church, Worcester, WR5 3TZ, on the second Saturday of the month at 2pm, but please see below for any exceptions. Apart from any Celebrity Lectures, entrance to talks at St Peter’s is free to Group members and we welcome visitors there but ask them to pay £5 - please contact for tickets, or buy them online. We will invite regular visitors to join the Group.


Thursday January 26
2pm: 2023 Celebrity Lecture
Painting With Plants
Chris Beardshaw

Chris has immersed himself in horticulture for over 35 years when a childhood passion for plants and work at his local nursery led to formal study at Pershore College and the beginning of a lifelong career in horticulture encompassing planting design, garden design and landscape architecture.

Chris is recognised as one of the leading lights in the world of gardening; he is the author of four books, a regular presenter on BBC television and panellist on BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time, and landscape designer of public realm spaces and private estates. Chris is a veteran of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and has won 36 medals including 14 RHS Gold Medals. He has received the People’s Choice Award a record four times and is six-times winner of the Best In Show Award.

Saturday February 11 2pm talk: Christopher Lloyd; His Life at Great Dixter Stephen Anderton

In 2005, Stephen Anderton was commissioned by Christopher Lloyd to write his biography. This lecture tells the story of the man behind Britain’s most remarkable house and garden.

Intrinsic to the narrative of the garden at Great Dixter is Christo’s upbringing in his extraordinary and often dysfunctional family. Based on his book, published by Chatto in 2010 Stephen will share the details of the life of the man as best-selling author, international lecturer, lovable eccentric, incurable writer of letters and in his later years, the grand old man of English gardening.

Stephen Anderton is an award winning garden writer for The Times, a magazine journalist, author, lecturer, broadcaster, television presenter and specialist garden holiday tour leader.

Before his writing career Stephen worked in the care of historic gardens, latterly as National Gardens Manager for English Heritage and was responsible for several major restoration projects in the North. His books have been translated into several languages and include Discovering Welsh Gardens (Graffeg), the biography Christopher Lloyd, His Life at Great Dixter (Chatto), Lives of the Great Gardeners (2016) and Stourhead (2019). He lives and gardens near Abergavenny in the Black Mountains and when not gardening writes music for the theatre.

A Patron of the Professional Gardener’s Guild’s Traineeship Appeal Stephen has been the Guild’s Vice-Chairman North, as well as Vice-Chairman of the Garden Writer’s Guild, Chairman of a Plant Heritage North East Group and a committee member for the Royal Horticultural Society and Garden History Society.

Saturday March 11 2pm talk: Euphorbias Probably The Best Garden Plants In The World Timothy Walker

Nobody really needs to be convinced of the supremacy of spurges as garden plants for every situation. This talk examines some of the natural history and botany of Euphorbias followed by details of the most desirable species and cultivars with suggestions of planting associations.

Timothy Walker is a former Director of the University of Oxford Botanic Garden. During his time he was responsible for one of the National Collections of Euphorbias. Since 2014 he has been a tutor in plant biology at Somerville College Oxford and still grows many Euphorbias and uses them regularly in his teaching.

Saturday April 15 2pm talk: Drought Tolerant Planting Hamzah‑Adam Desai


Founder of Tone & Manner Garden & Planting Design, Hamzah-Adam Desai is an RHS medal winning British garden designer renowned for his exquisite planting combinations.

Since 2009 he has been gardening an award-winning community garden in Haggerston, East London, where he also lives. The community garden is a regular participant in London Open Gardens and has also been featured on BBC Gardeners World.

Before re-training as a garden designer, Hamzah spent 21 years working as a graphic designer and is a graduate of Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design. He graduated from Capel Manor College in 2021 and was awarded The Gardeners Company Prize for exceptional horticultural studies by the Worshipful Company of Gardeners of London.

In July 2021 whilst still at college he won ‘People’s Choice’ award at the Belvoir Castle Flower & Garden Show for his border inspired by Ian McEwan’s novel Atonement.. This was followed in 2022 with an RHS Silver Medal at Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival. His Turfed Out design was a sustainable, cost effective, low-maintenance garden designed with new-to-gardening first time home owners in mind. The design eschewed the traditional lawn in favour of climate-friendly planting that requires minimal watering and which attracts a broad range of pollinators

In his lecture for the Worcestershire HPS, Hamzah will discuss drought tolerant plants; where they originate, their different adaptions for survival, how to choose and incorporate the right mix of plants in our gardens to increase bio-diversity, how to properly plant and care for them and the importance drought tolerant plants play in an ever-changing British climate. The lecture will also present some examples of how garden designers and gardeners are responding to water-wise gardening with the use of drought tolerant plants.

Saturday May 13 2pm talk: Miss Willmott’s Ghosts Sandra Lawrence

Author, freelance writer, gardener, allotmenteer and garden history Masters student Sandra is a regular contributor to The Times, Telegraph, The English Garden, LandScape, Homes & Gardens, Garden News, Modern Gardens, Country Life, Britain and British Heritage. She also writes a blog, The Event Gardener which records the vegetables she has grown for brief, memorable moments rather than as bulk staples.

Sandra’s 16th book is a new biography of Edwardian plantswoman Ellen Willmott.

In her talk Sandra will share the incredible stories and mementos she discovered which didn’t make it into print

Saturday June 10
2PM - 4PM: St Peter's Baptist Church, Worcester WR5 3TZ
Saturday July 8 2pm talk: Digging Deeper - An Intimate Exploration Of The Life In Your Garden Paul Williams

Paul will take us on a journey through the beautiful mechanics of a range of extraordinarily complex hidden processes including plant life, soil and compost. lllustrated with fresh plant material, we will discover among other things how and why plants protect themselves from pests and disease, how soils behave and why plants are variegated.

Paul has spent his life immersed in horticulture. After training at Pershore College he spent 18 years as Head Gardener at Bourton House near Moreton In Marsh creating the garden we know today. This was followed by eleven years as Head Gardener at East Court in Cheltenham, a modern, private garden designed by Paul. He also finds time to be a writer, lecturer, broadcaster, designer, consultant and is the author of Digging Deeper, The Garden Colour Book, Creative Containers, and Creative Climbers all published by Conran Octopus.

August No meeting  
Saturday September 2 2pm talk: Sustainable Food Production – Tips for Gardeners Dr Duncan Westbury

With an increasing need to produce more food to supply a growing global population, it is critical that we understand how to mitigate the associated climate and biodiversity emergencies. Sustainable Food Production – Tips For Gardeners explains how our approach to farming and food production must be one which minimises environmental impacts, supports natural processes and benefits the wider environment. A key aspect of sustainable food production is ecological intensification; promoting practices to enhance the ecology of agricultural landscapes which in turn meet the needs of the crop, be it arable, perennial or livestock.

Drawing on his background in plant ecology and habitat creation, Duncan will use examples from his research to demonstrate what we as gardeners can do in our own outdoor spaces to boost the delivery of ecosystem services with a focus on pest control and support for pollinators.

Dr Duncan Westbury is Principal Lecturer in Ecology & Environmental Management and Course Leader for BSc (Hons) Environmental Management & Sustainability at the University of Worcester. His current areas of research are focussed on the sustainable production of fruit including apples, cherries, and oranges. He has published numerous peer-reviewed journal papers and conference proceedings and is a keen wildlife gardener for which he takes a very scientific approach.

A professional ecologist of long-standing with more than 25 years’ experience working with farmers and growers in the agri-environment, primarily delivering benefits for biodiversity throughout agricultural landscapes. Duncan has a Doctorate from the University of Sheffield where he studied creation and restoration of species-rich grassland with an emphasis on the use of yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor). He became an academic in the School of Agriculture, Policy & Development at the University of Reading, specialising primarily on arable and grassland systems before moving to the University of Worcester in 2011.

Duncan and his beautiful garden appeared on episode 7, Friday 27th April 2023 of BBC Gardeners’ World which you can catch up on via BBC iplayer

Saturday October 14 2pm talk: The Very Best Plants For … Future Proof Gardens Josh Egan-Wyer

Continuing our theme of climate change. Using fresh plant material Josh will give his recommendations of how we can prepare for warmer, wetter Winters, hotter drier Summers and how to create more shade in our gardens. Josh will bring a selection of plants for sale from the Pershore Garden Centre.

Josh Egan-Wyer is Garden Centre & Nurseries Manager at Pershore College (part of WCG).

Josh graduated from Pershore College with a BSc in Horticulture in 2013. He is extremely enthusiastic about plants and enjoys sharing his passion with anybody who takes an interest.

Saturday November 11 2pm talk: Designing A Garden From Scratch Carol Smith

Are you new to gardening and don’t know where to start with your design ? Are you thinking of expanding your garden or perhaps down-sizing ? Is there an area of your garden you want to refresh and re-invigorate ?

Join us for an afternoon with garden designer, lecturer and author Carol Smith who has run her own garden design business for the past 22 years. She has designed medal winning show gardens at Chelsea, BBC Gardeners World Show and Malvern Spring Garden Show. In 2009 'The Tree of Life Garden' designed by Carol was re-built at St. Richards hospice, to be used by staff, patients and their relatives. In 2010 she worked with St.Peters Garden Centre and BBC Radio Hereford & Worcester, to design a showcase garden for the Love Lives On appeal - Noahs' Ark Trust.

Whilst lecturing at Pershore College, Carol was commissioned to write a book on her specialist subject; Planting Design. Designing Gardens with Plant Shapes was published in 2011. Her latest book, Gardening On A Gradient was published in 2022.

Saturday December 2 2pm talk: TBC Howard Drury

Born in Lincolnshire, Howard was an early horticultural entrepreneur, selling lettuces at just 6 years old. During his school years he worked at local nurseries in his free time before embarking on a formal career path; training at local agricultural colleges before moving to study at Edinburgh Botanic Garden where he graduated with honours, scooping all but one of the top awards. After re-locating to Birmingham Howard worked for 20 years as a Horticultural Training Officer and as a researcher and presenter on Central television’s Gardening Time.

Author, lecturer, horticultural adviser and global garden tour leader. Howard continues to play an active role with ExtraCare Charitable Trust who have been using gardening as a therapy for more than 20 years.


Saturday October 12
2pm: 2024 Celebrity Lecture
Designing and Building a Chelsea Show Garden
Mark Gregory

As a designer, constructor, lecturer, mentor, judge, ambassador and managing director, Mark Gregory has been at the forefront of horticulture and landscaping for 35 years.

Educated at Askham Bryan Horticultural College and trained at RHS Wisley, Mark is a Fellow of the Landscape Institute and a Chartered Landscape Architect who has spent his life designing and creating gardens. In 2023 he was awarded the RHS Associate Of Honour, an award held for life which recognises his unique distinguished service to the practice of horticulture. In 2022 Mark was the recipient of the Pearson Memorial Medal for outstanding service to the garden industry and also became the RHS Ambassador for Landscapers.

In 2017 and again in 2022 he was voted Most Influential Person in the garden and landscape industry by his peers.

If you saw Superbloom at the Tower of London or have visited the gardens around RHS Hilltop at Wisley or have seen the new designs for His Majesty’s climate friendly topiary garden at Sandringham you will be familiar with the work of Mark’s company Landform Consultants Ltd

Mark has built more RHS show gardens and received more medals than any other constructor. He hasn’t missed a Chelsea Flower Show since he started in 1989. Even when Covid cancelled the 2020 show, Mark was awarded Garden Of The Decade for his 2018 Welcome To Yorkshire Garden which captured a slice of Wensleydale. A design which celebrated Yorkshire’s stunning scenery, natural materials, traditional crafts and artisan food production; quintessential buttercup meadows and rich flora set on the edge of a woodland, a tumbling beck running past a stone bothy into soft pastures. Who can forget his audacious 2019 design which incorporated a pair of canal lock gates, a lock keeper’s lodge with private garden and vegetable patch with a towpath running next to a perennial meadow. For RHS Chelsea 2023 Mark has created his most complex build; The Savills Garden invites us into an intimate walled sanctuary with an abundance of beautiful ornamental and edible planting. At the heart of the garden is a working kitchen and adjoining dining area where guests will enjoy meals prepared with ingredients from the potager and walled garden - a true ‘plot-to-plate’ experience. Mark’s genuinely sustainable and environmentally sensitive design will feature reclaimed hard landscaping materials; brick, pantiles, Yorkshire flagstone and cement-free concrete. After the show, the garden will be used to teach cookery skills to young people at a residential centre in Nottinghamshire.

Tickets prices:

  • £12.50 members paper tickets on sale at our meetings
  • £12.50 plus £1.05 booking fee members tickets via TicketSource
  • £18.45 plus £1.55 booking fee visitor / non-member tickets via TicketSource