Lectures, media and events

In print and online

OliversAG Just bringing you news of some recent articles and blog posts…

The April/May issue of American Gardener, the members’ magazine of The American Horticultural Society, includes my profile of Charles and Martha Oliver of The Primrose Path nursery, native plant enthusiasts and pioneer heuchera breeders.

The April issue of The Garden, the members’ magazine of The Royal HorticulturalAnnualsTG Society, includes my article about herbaceous perennial potentillas while the May issue includes my piece about unusual summer bedding plants and annuals.

Over on my Royal Horticultural Society New Plants blog I’ve been posting about the new varieties which are most popular amongst nurseries as seen in the new RHS Plant Finder, just out. These include a fiery mountain ash, a beautifully patterned heucherella, a delightful patio clematis, hot new echinacea and sedum plus the most popular of all - Gaura lindheimeri 'Rosyjane'.

DelphiniumRHSNewPlants While over on my RHS Trials and Awards blog I’ve been posting about a dazzling delphinium raised in New Zealand, how bergenias dealt with a spring frost, late maturing leeks and late cauliflowers, spectacular marigolds from last summer's trial and British gardeners’ favorite crocus.

It’s been a busy month…

Join the American Horticultural Society and receive a bi-monthly print copy of The American Gardener and read it online.

Join the Royal Horticultural Society and receive a monthly print copy of The Garden.

Upcoming events

Just to let you know... I have a special series of blog posts featuring all (and I mean ALL) the new plants seen at this year's world famous Chelsea Flower Show starting soon, as well as lectures in Michigan and Pennsylvania. I'll also be judging at Chelsea in May and will report from the show here on Transatlantic Plantsman.

RHSChelseaGreatPavilion001 May 1
New Plants at the Chelsea Flower Show

Special series of blog posts from until the last day of the Chelsea Flower Show (May 23)
Starts here on 1 May

May 2
Two lecture presentations: Transatlantic Perennials + New Perennials
A double session on perennials
Master Gardener Association of Northwest Michigan

May 8 and May 9
Lecture presentation: Ultimate Plants for Small Gardens

Two presentations each day (The event also features RosalindCreasey)
Heronswood Nursery

I hope to meet you at one of these events.

Spring lectures

Here's news of some lectures this spring.


28 February
University of Oxford Botanic Garden
No More Marigolds – Unusual Annuals for the Summer Garden

3 March
Hardy Plant Society (Middlesex Group)

8 March
Hidden Treasures – New Perennials from Across the Atlantic
NCCPG (North East  Group) – Newcastle-upon-Tyne

14 March
Hidden Treasures    New Perennials from Across the Atlantic
Hardy Plant Society (Staffordshire Group) – Little Haywood, Stafford


27, 28, 29 April    Heronswood Nursery, PA
Cancelled - sorry

More dates are scheduled for later in the year.

(Probably) surprising news... My new radio show!

Ginstudio190 My new radio show starts today, Saturday 15 December. And it's not a gardening show, it's a music show. Well, whatever next...?

The BritMix features only British music, from the 1960s up to the latest releases, and airs on Saturdays at 3pm Eastern time in the US (8pm in the UK) on WJFF, a public radio station (hydro-powered no less!) serving the Catskills, North East Pennsylvania and the Upper Delaware Valley Region. (For the benefit of Brits that's like a BBC local station with a broadcasting radius of about 50 miles around Jeffersonville, New York and covering parts of New York state, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and including the old Woodstock festival site - about 80 miles west of New York city).

You can listen online by going to the WJFF website and clicking on Listen Now in the top right corner. And you can find out more about the show and the sort of music I'll be playing - and check the playlist for the latest show - by going to The BritMix website.

Why not give it a listen, and if there's somethng British you'd like me to play, then email me.

Hosting a Garden School for the AHS

Yewdellcastle Next month the American Horticultural Society is running a Garden School – The Amazing World of Plants - at Yew Dell Gardens, near Louisville KY. I’ll be hosting the two day event, on October 4 and 5, and speaking on perennials and on vines and there’s a very impressive line-up of other speakers: Natalia Hammill on native plants, Roy Klehm on trees and shrubs, Sue Amatangelo on annuals and Elin Haaga on finding your own garden style. Everything’s covered! And all in the wonderful setting of Yew Dell Gardens with its superb plant collection - there will, of course, be a special tour to ensure you don't miss any of the garden's treasures.

For more information, click here. It would be good to see you there.

Summer Garden Party in Northamptonshire

Foxtaillillystore Next Saturday I’ll be at the Summer Garden Party at Foxtail Lilly, Tracey Mathieson’s delightful country garden and barn shop in Oundle, Northamptonshire.

Featured last year in The Garden, the Royal Horticultural Society’s monthly magazine, the relaxed but imaginative planting style has attracted great attention and the shop, set in a 19th century barn, combines an interesting selection of plants with bouquets of cut flowers, many of which are grown on site. Vintage gardenalia and small antiques are also on sale alongside crafts made by local craftspeople and a choice selection of Tracey’s favourite gardening books.

Come along on Saturday 28 July, from 2-5pm, to enjoy the garden, relax with drinks and light refreshments, look round the shop and perhaps win a free signed copy of my RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials.

I hope to see you there.

Read my previous post on this lovely garden here
Download the article on the garden at Foxtail Lilly here
See exactly where Foxtail Lilly is located here
Check out the Foxtail-Lilly website here

New York’s Algonquin Hotel (with two gardening twists)

Into New York City to do Morning Living with Lauren Pressley on Martha Stewart Living Radio on Sirius satellite radio this morning. For the benefit of Brits, this is a subscription based radio service broadcast by satellite with 198 different stations – and no ads. This is a great show, and Lauren is such an enthusiastic and professional host.

Algonquinfrontdoor But we were booked for 8am and to be safe we’d have to allow two hours to drive in. So we thought: let’s give ourselves a little break. So we drove in yesterday (Thursday) lunch time, visited the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) then checked into the legendary Algonquin Hotel.

Since it opened over 100 years ago, this has been the haunt of many writers and artists. The New Yorker magazine was founded here, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., John Barrymore and H.L. Mencken all loved the place and, unlike most hotels, from the beginning it welcomed female guests traveling alone and these included Gertrude Stein, Simone de Beauvoir and Eudora Welty. In 1950 William Faulkner drafted his Nobel Prize acceptance speech at the Algonquin.

It’s also famous for its Round Table around which, in the 1920s, Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley and many others (especially writers from Vanity Fair magazine whose office was nearby) gathered for lunch and repartée every day. Indeed there are quotations from Dorothy Parker on the doors to the rooms. HorticultureparkerOn the door immediately opposite ours was this: Embodying words in sentences, a game frequently played by members of the Round Table – “You can take a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”

BarbAfter meeting our good friends, photographers Alan and Linda Detrick, for an early dinner at the hotel (wonderful halibut) we were off to W 22nd St to catch the opening night of our friend from England singer Barb Jungr’s run at the Metropolitan Room. Her program of Bob Dylan material, both familiar and obscure, presented Dylan in a new hue – interpreted by this supremely expressive, and at times hilarious, singer. If you can’t catch this run, catch her when you can - UK or US. New York’s Village Voice says: “Devoted to Bob Dylan, this Manchester-raised and London-based dark lark does his songs as well as he and also vastly differently. She knows where all the darkest corners of his lyrics are on the psychological map and explores each one. The patter in between is also profoundly intelligent and broadly funny.”

Back at the Algonquin, where you can enjoy a delightful leisurely breakfast even if you’re not booked in, there were some impressive flower arrangements in the lobby. They combined plants which are amongst the hardiest of shrubs, forsythia, and the most tender, protea. (Please excuse the below-par flash photo.) And all set off by variegated Swiss cheese plant - Monstera deliciosa ‘Variegata’. And if you click on the picture, and look in the bottom right hand corner you’ll see Matilda, the Algonquin cat.Forsythiaprotea500_1

To quote the Algonquin website: “In the late 1930s a rather disheveled feline wandered into the hotel searching for food and shelter. Ever the quintessential host, owner Frank Case (the owner at that time) welcomed the furry traveler into the Algonquin and a tradition was born.

“Matilda, the current resident, is very popular with our guests. She has the run of the house (except in dining areas and kitchen) but prefers to oversee the comings and goings of the many guests who cross her threshold.

“Matilda receives mail weekly from friends around the world and has been the subject of countless stories. On one occasion, when her collar was stolen, the “Algonquin Cat-Burglary” was the talk of the town.

Algonquinmatilda “Each year Matilda is given a birthday party, as befits a New York celebrity. A memorable one occurred in 2002 when, while celebrating her seventh birthday with 150 of her closest friends, she jumped on her cake and ran out of the room, leaving a trail of paw prints.”

Then, in the morning, off on foot up 5th Avenue in 9F (-13C) and with a piercing wind. Brass monkey weather, as they say in England. It’s just as well it was only a few blocks. We had a great time with Lauren Pressley, then headed off to the Guggenheim for a few hours (more on that, with a horticultural slant, next time) before heading home to Pennsylvania. Where I find that at 7.07am this morning the temperature hit 1.2F (-17.1C) – and with no snow to provide an insulating blanket. Oh dear. Some plants, I’m afraid, just won’t make it through.

Perennials seminar

Great day at the seminar, Exploring the World of Perennials, here in Columbus, Ohio yesterday. And it’s good to be able to recommend every single one of the other speakers. So if you’re ever thinking of going to hear any of these speakers – please do so.

  • Dan Heims – master plant breeder and hunter out of wonderful new plants.
  • Denise Adams – heirloom expert with a great sense of the value of heirloom plants today.
  • Stephanie Cohen – always sparky and forthright  in revealing both the good plants and the bad.
  • Melinda Myers – creative ideas for making the most of small garden spaces.
  • Steven Still – wise and authoritative with a rich knowledge of plants, and the creator of this great event.
  • Laura Deeter – no chance of a nap as she excitedly tells it exactly like it is.

And put 20 January 2008 in your diary for next year's event. Check with the Perennial Plant Association in the fall for details.

Lecturing in Columbus, OH

Just a quick post to say that I'll be speaking at the Exploring the World of Perennials seminar on Sunday 21 January at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. My topic is Transatlantic Perennials and other speakers are: Dan Heims, Dr Denise Adams, Stephanie Cohen, Melinda Myers, Dr Steven Still and Dr Laura Deeter. It looks to be great day.

For more information click here.