I have been a gardening author, journalist and speaker since the early 1980's, and have written 15 books to date, as well as many hundreds of gardening articles, which have appeared in British newspapers and magazines. Some of my books have been published in the United States and Canada, and also translated into French, German, Spanish, Dutch and Danish.
I have won three major awards from the Garden Media Guild, two for journalism, in 1992 and 2011, and one for a book, 'Garden People; Valerie Finnis and the Golden Age of Gardening', which was published in 2007 by Thames and Hudson. I was named the Garden Media Guild's Gardening Columnist of the Year for 2011.
Recently, I have given up gardening journalism, in order to concentrate full-time on writing books and lecturing. A Green and Pleasant Land; How England's Gardeners Fought the Second World War (Hutchinson, £20 hardback, paperback edition, Windmill, £9.99). This was recently a finalist in the Inspirational Book category by the Garden Media Guild. It sheds light on big issues on the Home Front, such as the relationship between government and people, as well as propaganda and myth, the role of women, the reach of science, and the destruction of 'private service' gardening and the country house. It has been fascinating to research and write, and I hope it explodes a few dearly-held myths, for example about the success of the Dig for Victory campaign. The Scotsman called it 'spellbinding'.
My latest book is 'The Garden Anthology' (Frances Lincoln, £16.99, illustrated by Jenny Bowers), which celebrates the best garden writing from The Royal Horticultural Society. The Daily Mail called it 'a highly enjoyable book to dip into'.
Speaking in near future
I speak on gardening-related subjects to horticultural clubs and societies all over the British Isles. I am on the RHS Register of Speakers. I am known for a lively and well-informed style, suitable for a variety of audiences.
My particular interests include hardy ornamental plants, fruit and vegetables, wild flowers and trees, garden design, garden history, garden literature and cooking with garden produce. My illustrated talks reflect a number of these preoccupations. I also talk about John Buchan's life and works to literary groups and festivals. If you would like a list, together with a scale of fees, please do contact me by email.
Talks in 2016 include Castor and Ailsworth Gardening Society on 25 February, Hambleden Valley Garden Club on 1 March, Wheathampstead Horticultural Society on 6 April, Ramsey Garden Club on 18 April, Biddenham Gardening Association on 17 May, Ockbrook and Borrowash Gardeners' Club on 13 September, East Dorset Plant Heritage Group on 17 September, and Adderbury History Association and Garden Club on 7 December.
I shall also be speaking about John Buchan and The Thirty-Nine Steps: The First Hundred Years at Yardley Hastings Village Hall on 20 May (in aid of the British Red Cross in Northamptonshire), as well as the Deddington and District History Association on 13 July and Oundle Probus group on 18 October.