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. My latest book was published on 7 March, 2013. It's called A Green and Pleasant Land; How England's Gardeners Fought the Second World War (Hutchinson, £20 hardback, with a paperback edition due to come out on 27 March, 2014, £9.99). The book looks at civilian life during the Second World War, as viewed through the prism of gardening, both public and private. In the process, I hope it sheds light on larger issues, 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.
Speaking in near future
From September, when the new season begins, I shall be speaking about gardening and gardeners during the war to Letchworth Settlement Gardening Club on 23rd September, to North Luffenham Garden Club on 9th October, to the East Yorkshire Hardy Plant Society at Beverley on 6th November, to Kingham Gardening Club on 17th November, and to Four Villages Horticultural Society at Newton Tony on 27th November. I shall also be speaking at the Stamford Arts Centre on 30 September on 'Vegetable Gardens in Confined Spaces' in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care, and on 3rd October at the Wigtown Book Festival on 'Fact and Fiction in John Buchan's Great War'.
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. If you would like a list, together with a scale of fees, please do contact me by email.