Free Talks daily in the Talk & Demo Tent near Eaton Site Catering

FRIDAY at 1:30pm

‘Gardening for Butterflies’ with Dr Ian Bedford, entomologist
The talk will be followed by ‘The Pest Clinic’ in the Talk Tent

SATURDAY at 12:00pm

‘Standing Up for Trees’ with Professor Alan Aylward from the Woodland Trust
SATURDAY at 1:30pm
SUNDAY at 12:00pm
‘Bugs, Bats, Ponds & Droughts’ with Jules Simmons – The Environmentalist

SUNDAY at 1:30pm

‘British Flowers Rock!’ with Ben Cross from Crosslands Alstromeria Nursery


Friday 1:30pm

Gardening for Butterflies

with Dr Ian Bedford

Head of Entomology at The John Innes Centre in Norwich

About Dr Ian Bedford:

“For as long as I can remember, the insect world has fascinated me and, from an early age I recall nothing more enjoyable than spending summer holidays searching for bugs across the Sussex Downs and learning about their intriguing lifecycles.  As time went by, I was able to forge and develop my entomological interests into a professional science career and currently lead the entomology department at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, where I’ve worked for over 40 years.  Whilst much of my work as a research entomologist centres on sap-sucking insects such as aphids, leafhoppers and whitefly, I’ve always maintained a strong passion for butterflies.  The incredible way that they change from cumbersome caterpillars munching on plants into beautiful, delicate butterflies that flutter amongst the flowers, remains a true wonder of the natural world.   However, butterflies are often highly susceptible to even the smallest changes to their habitats and can provide us with an important indication as to the health of our natural environment.  Their ongoing decline is therefore a strong signal to us all that we need to urgently improve their habitats, perhaps starting at home with our gardens.”


Ian will be holding ‘The Pest Clinic’ after his talk in the Talk Tent … do visit him to find out how he can help you with any annoying garden pests!

The clinic will have specimens of some of the common pests that we find in our gardens which can be looked at under various magnifiers.   Ian will be able to examine samples of damaged plants and pest specimens that you might like to bring along and he’ll aim to identify them for you and discuss the environmentally safer options for controlling them.  Ian will happily discuss any concerns that you might have with managing plant pests within your gardens or vegetable patches.

Saturday 12:00pm

Standing Up for Trees

with Professor Alan Aylward from the Woodland Trust

About Professor Alan Aylward – The Woodland Trust:

“My career was in space science – I worked in the space industry and computing and ended up from 1994 as the Head of the Atmospheric Physics group at UCL (University College London) where we studied the upper atmospheres of the earth, solar system planets – and lately exoplanets (planets around other stars). All of which is irrelevant to my lecture! While this career was progressing I was a member of the Woodland Trust (since the 1980s) because of my love of – and concern for the British landscape and trees in particular. My first wife was Finnish and we lived in Sweden for several years so I had plenty of exposure to forests. When my wife died in 1992 I had a small plaque to her memory placed in Joydens Wood on the London-Kent border, but until recent years my interest in the Woodland Trust was mainly just as an ordinary member. Then, 3 or 4 years ago we found out the Woodland Trust had bought Langley Vale Farm near to us and proposed to turn it into a First World War memorial site. As I was more or less retiring from my science role at the time this seemed to be an ideal opportunity to become more involved in a project that had been dear to my heart for the previous 25 years and so I have been volunteering both for work at Langley Vale and for promotion of the Woodland Trust generally. At Langley Vale I am part of an arable plant monitoring group, a general-purpose volunteer and a helper in the heritage orchard. We’ve planted trees, cleared barbed wire, laid out public paths through the site and had public days to involve the local community. A particularly important part of the latter has been to involve schools in the area and later this year several thousand trees will be planted from the Seeds-to-Trees project grown (from seed as the name suggests) by the schoolchildren. Recently a number of national initiatives involving the Trust have brought the issue of the need to protect and grow our native woodland to more public attention so this is a good time to learn more about our work and plans.”

About the Woodland Trust

Our trees and woodland, home to more wildlife than any other landscape, is under threat. Woodland losses over many years means the UK has one of the least wooded areas in the whole of Europe.  Past clearance of woodland for agriculture is now compounded by losses to infrastructure and development, and the growing impact of climate change and pests and disease is taking its toll. The consequences for our wildlife are devastating. Britain’s plant and animal species are declining at an alarming rate and many are at risk of being lost forever.  The consequences for people too will be equally devastating. Our woods and trees clean the air we breathe, purify the water we drink, and protect the soil we depend on to grow crops for food and provide places to play and refresh our souls. They nurture not just wildlife, but all our lives.

The history of trees, woods and forests is inextricably linked with our own story, and they have shaped us as much as we have shaped them. They are the backdrop to countless legends and fairy tales, and the inspiration for some of our oldest traditions: ancient venerable trees, some over one thousand years old, punctuate our landscape like no other country in Europe and, with ancient woodlands, they provide a direct, living connection to our most distant past. They are central to our sense of who we are, our sense of place, and our sense of national identity. These ancient connections still survive but we are in danger of forgetting where they came from, and why they have arisen. We need to take action now before that living source of our national identity fades forever.  

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK and a leading voice in bringing to the attention of government, land owners and the general public the state of the UK’s trees and woodland. We champion and deliver the most dynamic solutions to protect and revitalise our natural environment – the recreation of wooded landscapes on a national scale. Working with local communities, local authorities, businesses, schools, other NGOs and the public, we’ve helped plant over 32 million trees. Since the charity was founded in 1972, through our influence with others, we have created thousands more hectares of new native woodland and continue to restore many hectares of precious ancient woodland.

We campaign to ensure that laws governing environmental protection are enforced and that the government is held to account on environmental pledges. We also campaign vigorously with the support of local communities, to prevent any further destruction of ancient woods. Together we campaign to save hundreds of areas of threatened ancient woodland every year. And, to further protect the UK’s natural environment, we’ve built up an estate of our own managed woodland covering the equivalent of 96 square miles across the UK of which a third is irreplaceable ancient woodland.


Saturday 1:30pm & Sunday 12:00pm

Bugs, Bats, Ponds & Droughts

with Jules Simmons – The Environmentalist

Jules Simmons is a Horticultural Environmentalist & Conservationist

No garden is too small to grow! The Yard garden is inspired and informed on the Cuban urban gardens where the people grew food in the towns on and in any surface they could find when the American embargo was in place causing shortages. They cleverly collected watered and irrigated they drainpipes gardens. Jules uses recycled ideas and colourful design elements to maintain a healthy and balanced garden space. Join her to learn how you too can grow your garden into a healthy and happy space for you and our natural wildlife

To view the slides from Jules’ talk last year, please click on this link

Sunday 1:30pm

British Flowers Rock!

with Ben Cross from Crosslands Alstroemeria Nursery

About Ben Cross:


A 4th generation commercial British Alstroemeria grower from Sussex will talk about how this sustainable crop is grown. He will also give an insight into the UK Cut Flower industry and the need for more support and awareness for British Flowers… British Flowers Rock!  

Ben studied and worked in marine science and oceanography before returning to tend more than thirty different varieties of alstroemerias under 3 acres of glass all year round. 30 years ago there were lots of similar nurseries growing cut flowers all over the UK but the trend for importing cut flowers grown in Kenya, Colombia and Ecuador has sadly led to their demise. Ben’s nursery tours and talks are popular with flower clubs and horticultural societies who flock to see one of the few surviving old style horticultural establishments. ‘I feel very passionate about keeping the nursery going. It is a lifestyle like farming, not a job’ says Ben with heartfelt passion.


Steve & Val Bradley – Gardening Doctors

Daily 10.00am – 12.30pm & 1.30pm – 4.00pm

– Find Steve & Val in the Gardening Doctors tent near the Information Tent

Gardening Doctor Surgery with Steve & Val Bradley: Pick up top tips and friendly advice from the Gardening Doctors who will be on hand to answer any question relating to your plants or garden…bring your plants and questions along!

The Gardening Doctors – Steve Bradley

Steve Bradley grew up on a nursery, spent over 20 years teaching horticulture at colleges around England and is now a freelance garden writer and broadcaster. He studied horticulture at Writtle, Cannington and Pershore Colleges, achieving the RHS Master of Horticulture Diploma. He appeared on two TV series: Plant Life and Garden Doctors, three official Chelsea Flower Show videos and has made multiple gardening videos.

He can be found most Sunday mornings on BBC local radio in Kent or Surrey / Sussex, where he answers live phone-in questions. He has written (or co-written) around 50 books on a wide range of topics including pruning, pests & diseases, a revision of the famous Grafter’s Handbook and updates of some of the ever-popular ‘Expert’ books. Since 2002, he has been Gardening Correspondent for the Sun newspaper with wife Val and Peter Seabrook.

The Gardening Doctors – Val Bradley

Val Bradley is a freelance garden writer who has been gardening since she could hold a trowel. Since training at Askham Bryan College, she has worked in garden centres and nurseries (including RHS Wisley), taught at horticultural college and written (or co-written) books on many aspects of gardening including houseplants, tools, fragrant plants and town gardens. She has also written magazine articles, answered live phone-in questions on local BBC radio and been resident expert on a magazine website forum. Since 2002 she has been Gardening Correspondent for The Sun newspaper with husband Steve and Peter Seabrook. Find her on Twitter @valgardening or see the website

Find them in the GARDENING DOCTOR TENT near the Information Tent. Bring your ailing plants along; guaranteed to solve all your gardening problems! Note from the Garden Show organisers: ‘there is nothing that these two experts don’t know about gardening!’

Val and Steve are  busy rewriting the famous Gardening Expert books first made popular by Dr David Hessayon. Come and talk to them about it!