Who was speaking at Forde Abbey in 2017?

Our speaker programme at Forde Abbey brought together two delightful ladies; Charlie Dimmock and BBC One Show’s Christine Walkden, ably assisted by Cleeve Nursery’s Alan Down and was held in the stunning location of Forde Abbey’s Great Hall.

Christine walkden

Christine is known for down-to-earth, no-nonsense style and irreverent approach, whether giving advice as BBC One Show’s resident gardener or hosting her latest BBC series Glorious Gardens from Above.

A keen gardener from the tender age of 10 when she took on her first allotment, Christine started growing vegetables and flowers and enterprisingly sold them to school teachers and local residents!

Christine is always willing to get her hands dirty and happily shares her passion for plants. Whether championing growing vegetables or enjoying Britain in Bloom she is always ready with her trusted gardening tips.

A regular panelist on Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time,  she is a past winner of the Garden Writer’s Guild Radio Broadcasting Award. She also leads garden tours and field trips throughout the world including China, Asia, USA, Africa and many European countries.

Toby says, “Christine is always a firm favourite with visitors and has been a friend of our GardenFest at Powderham so we are really thrilled she has agreed to join us at Forde.”


charlie dimmock

Back on our screens with BBC’s Garden Rescue, Charlie Dimmock has been an on and off-screen favourite since her days presenting the hit makeover show Ground Force with Alan Titchmarsh and Tommy Walsh.

Growing up in the New Forest, Charlie trained in horticulture and was catapulted to fame after a TV producer spotted her water gardening skills at Romsey Garden Centre. She made a TV pilot for Ground Force, the show was commissioned and became an instant hit. At its peak the show reached 12 million viewers, making Charlie one of the most recognisable and well-loved names in gardening.

Toby says, “I’m delighted Charlie is coming to Forde. I know how busy her schedule is so it’s wonderful she is taking the time to come down. I’ve known her for years and she is great company and a really good speaker. We’re all in for a real treat!”


toby buckland

Toby is host of both GardenFest at Powderham Castle and the new Garden & Harvest Festival at Forde Abbey.

Known for his practical and entertaining approach to gardening, Toby is a trained horticulturist who enjoys explaining the finer points of gardening with the knack of making difficult gardening skills easy to beginners.

Toby writes weekly for Amateur Gardening magazine, and is a regular columnist for the Times Home Supplement and Telegraph Gardening. For the past five years he has run a boutique garden centre at Powderham Castle in Devon with his wife Lisa whilst making regular appearances on-screen, including BBC Great Garden Revival and the BBC’s coverage from RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

You can hear Toby every Sunday morning presenting BBC Radio Devon’s Sunday show from 9am-midday. Phone in with your gardening questions!