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 2015 include Slip End Gardening Club on 20th July, Stamford Horticultural Society on 3rd September, Wharfedale Gardeners Group in Otley on 13th October, Wellingborough Gardening Club on 15th October, Wells Book Festival on 16th October, Stanford-in-the-Vale Garden Club on 28th October and Kent Alpine Garden Society on 13th November.
I shall also be speaking about John Buchan and The Thirty-Nine Steps (published exactly one hundred years ago) at Langholm, Borders on 29th August (The Hugh MacDiarmid Lecture), at Kirkcaldy for the Fife Cultural Trust on 18th September and at the Artworkers' Guild in London as part of the Slightly Foxed Readers' Day on 7th November.