This year’s horticulture lecture series at Writtle College attracts big names!

October 2013

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

A renowned UK landscape designer, directors of national gardens, and a head gardener make up this year’s line-up for Writtle College’s horticulture lecture series.

The popular James Hearsum Lecture Series starts on Tuesday 5 November and this year again sees high-profile horticulturists and designers coming to Writtle.

Brainchild of former horticulture student James Hearsum, the comprehensive, illustrated lecture series - now in its ninth year - is delivered by professional horticulturists and designers.

Renowned landscape and garden designer Anthony Paul opens the series this year, speaking to students and visitors on Tuesday 5 November.

Anthony has been a landscape designer for more than 30 years and is renowned for his innovative and contemporary gardens as well as his passion for the work. Anthony is inspired by many stimuli such as the calm of Japanese garden design and the stunning landscapes and rainforests of his native New Zealand. His varied and creative use of water, including the formation of lakes and swimming pools, is a particular characteristic of his gardens, which are known for their strong form and architectural planting. He is also well known for designing specialised garden buildings.

Anthony's designs feature around the world including in the UK, New Zealand, Australia, France, Switzerland, Africa and the Mediterranean. His clients range from celebrities and private individuals to large companies such as IBM. In 2009 Anthony won the 'Private Gardens' category in the Torsanlorenzo International Prize in Rome for his design for Tony Stone, an award he also won in 2006. He has also won three British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) Awards for his work in the last two years.

A Fellow of the Society of Garden Designers, he will travel to Writtle from his garden studio in Surrey located in the internationally known Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden, run by his wife.

He said: “My talk is about discovering the spirit of your place where you intend to make a garden - how you connect yourself and your client to the surroundings and nature that will influence the design.

“I know that those who start out in this wonderful industry have a plethora of things to learn and may find the way a bit daunting at times but I will certainly do my best to shine a light on an area which I think they will enjoy learning about.

“Learning about and loving nature and plants are essential ingredients, in my opinion, to being a good garden designer and of course gardener - respecting and knowing that a tree or an ancient plant has a spirit or significance, maybe even sacred, and that our life on earth is totally connected to plants is the first basic rule to creating your genius loci. This mantra should be deeply woven into our design philosophy; learning and creating bio diversity to improve your small corner of the world is essential.

“I am excited to be meeting and talking to some new faces and look forward to the talk.”

Anthony will be followed by Richard Barley, the new Director of Kew Gardens’ Horticulture, who will speak on Tuesday 26 November.

On Tuesday 18 February, Wolfgang Bopp, Director of the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Arboretum, Hampshire, will deliver a lecture. He will be followed by Dr Timothy Walker, Director of Oxford Botanic Garden, on Tuesday 4 March.

The series will close with Troy Scott-Smith, Head Gardener at Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, who will talk about his first year in post, on Tuesday 6 May.

This ninth lecture series has been organised by Greg Allen, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Studies at the College with a team of first, second and third year students.

Mr Allen - who has recently been chair of the panel of six judges for the prestigious BALI National Landscape Awards - says: “These speakers will approach aspects of horticulture and design from varying perspectives. Their lectures will include lavish illustrations and there will be an opportunity for questions and discussions once the lectures are complete.

“Hosted by students of Writtle College, with support of the tutors, we hope this series will open up debate about the direction of gardening, landscapes and horticulture.”

All the proceeds of the lecture series go to the Writtle College Students’ Union and are used to provide travel bursaries to some of the most important gardens.

Mr Allen adds: “We were pleased to award four travel bursaries to design and horticulture students from the proceeds of the last series and the recipients travelled to gardens in the West Country and Tresco on the Scilly Isles, a conservation project in the Caledonian forests of Scotland, a study of two public gardens in Paris and a landscape character study of Co Kerry, Ireland.

“The lecture series talks continue to help motivate and inspire our young students to venture out and expand their experience of landscapes and gardens.”

All the lectures in the series - entitled Plants, People and Places - start at 7.30pm in the Northumberland Lecture Theatre at the College. The full series of five lectures costs £45 for visitors and £25 for current students. Tickets and further details are available from the Writtle College Students’ Union or via Greg Allen on 01245 424200 or gta@writtle.ac.uk