David will be joining us at this Year’s Country Living Fair to share his expert gardening advice and teach us how to create the perfect garden and maintain it all year round!

David started gardening as a child and has been growing plants for more than 40 years. He has worked in gardens and nurseries, growing on a range of different soils and in different regions of the UK. His extensive knowledge and practical experience of plants, crops and growing techniques is founded on a thorough botanical and scientific training, complemented by an in-depth understanding of garden design, wildlife, geology and climatology. 


As a trained teacher, David has taught a huge diversity of subjects from botany, soil science and plant identification, to propagation, garden design and crop production, and from City & Guilds through to Degree level. He is also a popular speaker with local gardening groups and presents a range of courses and masterclasses at locations around the UK.

And he has spent more than 20 years writing for and editing the nation’s crop of garden magazines and websites, and is currently Associate Editor for BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine. David has appeared both as a regular contributor and an expert commentator on TV and radio.

He has designed, built and planted show gardens and display stands at most of the major garden shows in the UK, including the world famous Chelsea Flower Show, and is a Judge for the Royal Horticultural Society as well as sitting on the Tender Plant Committee. In addition he has designed a diverse range of gardens, consulting and advising on real gardens to suit the needs and lifestyles of domestic gardeners.

David will be holding sessions at the Good Life Theatre every day and showing us how to plan the perfect gardener’s timetable, how to create a haven for wildlife in your garden and how to grow own cut flowers – the descriptions of each session can be found below:


Session title: Plan to grow your own – getting the season off to a good start

A calendar of what to grow and when to start sowing and planting for summer crops.

This will include:
– How to choose what to grow for a summer of harvest (attendees will be able to select what is worthwhile for them).
– The pros and cons of growing from seed or buying young plants (this will give an understanding of easy crops to grow from seed and which are better to buy as plants).
– What to start off indoors from seed (audience will appreciate that some crops need to be started earlier than others and need a longer growing season).
– Getting the soil in good condition for bumper crops (a basic understanding that to grow worthwhile crops you need good soil).
– Growing in pots and containers (discover what can be grown in containers)
– How soon can you expect to pick and use your produce (understand that different crops take different lengths of time to mature).
– The benefits of growing your own fresh produce (discover why it is worth growing your own, even in the smallest space).


Session title: Grow your own cut flowers

Planning your plot to have something to pick all year round.

This will include:
– Choosing different types of plants for flowers and foliage – shrubs, climbers, perennials, bulbs, biennials and annuals (audience will be able to make use of their existing plants and understand that some plants will come back year after year, while others will need replanting or sowing to provide blooms).
– Easy flowers to grow from seeds and bulbs (this will give an understanding of easy crops that don’t require too much specialist equipment or knowledge to grow them).
– Cut and come again flowers for summer and seasonal flowers (discover the sorts of flowers that produce lots of blooms to cut over a long season and which are strictly seasonal).
– What to plant for foliage (audience will understand the benefits of having plenty of greenery to cut both for homegrown flowers as well as to augment shop-bought bunches).
– Selecting the best part of your garden for a cutting plot (give audience a basic understanding that to grow worthwhile cut flowers a well-lit situation).
– Growing in pots and containers (discover what can be grown in containers)
– The benefits of having flowers and foliage for cutting from your garden (discover why it is worth growing your own, even in the smallest space).
– Easy, simple arrangements and what to display them in (understanding that just a few flowers will brighten your home and learning the basics of arranging to make sure they look their best every time).


Session title: Create a haven for wildlife in your garden

Doing your bit for wildlife and they in turn will help your garden stay pest free.

This will include:
– Looking at the diversity of different life in a garden, balcony or even window boxes – whatever your growing space, there is wildlife that will take up residence (audience will understand that different types of wildlife can use different elements of a plot for food or other aspects of their life cycle).
– How wildlife can help the gardener by creating a natural balance to control pests and do away with the need for chemicals (discover the web of life and life cycles and understand that a pest problem only occurs when nature in not in balance).
– Why chemical controls can often cause more problems that we assume they will solve (understand that chemical controls can kill beneficial AND pest species and may solve the problem in the short term only for it to return with a vengeance).
– How adapting garden techniques are the best way to help wildlife (audience will discover that the practical tasks and methods used in gardening can be easily adapted to help wildlife).
– Which are the best plants for providing food and shelter for garden wildlife (discover that it is important to provide for garden wildlife all year round and learn about plant ranges that help the most).
– Ways to provide additional shelter and habitats for garden wildlife in the garden (find out if it is worth putting up nest boxes, creating ponds, hedgehog habitats etc and if you could do ONE thing what is best – depending on your garden).


For more information on each session and session times please click here.


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