Who speaking at Powderham Castle in 2019?

Our speaker programme for Powderham Castle 2019 is shaping up well! See who’s booked so far, below:

Frances tophill

Frances is part of the presenting team for ITV’s Love Your Garden, together the team have travelled all over the country giving surprise transformations to the outdoor spaces of some very deserving people. Frances’ role is predominantly plant-based, working in the garden throughout the whole construction of the site and lending a helping hand with the landscaping when it is needed.

In 2016 Frances joined BBC’s Gardeners’ World doing a few strands for the programme, one on vegetable seed trials which she worked on from her local RHS garden, RHS Rosemoor and another on gardens situated in extreme locations.

Frances is involved with the RHS campaign for school gardening and is passionate about enthusing young people to get into horticulture. She is working on a number of community gardening projects in the South West and is also helping the redevelopment of some costal gardens that were damaged by the 2014 storms. This is a particular passion of hers having grown up by the sea and was also part of her degree specialisation.

Frances is a popular choice for gardening talks and has appeared at Blenheim Palace Flower Show, Hampton Court Flower Show and the Eden Project Green Fingers Festival to name a few. Hailing from Deal in Kent, Frances now lives in Exeter having completed her BSc in Horticulture with Plantmanship at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 2013. Frances got into gardening from an early age, helping out around the garden at home and after overly ambitiously designing a terraced landscape in a planter, given to her by her mum, age 7, she was hooked. As well as all things gardening Frances is a budding crafter and currently doing a pottery course.

Frances’ first book, First Time Gardener, was published in 2015 and her 2nd book, The Container Gardener was published in April 2017. She has also written a column for Coast magazine on highs and lows of coastal gardening.

joe Swift

Joe has been gardening since he left school and is a fully trained garden designer. He has been one of the main presenters on BBC2’s flagship gardening show Gardeners’ World since 1998 and also regularly appears in the BBC’s coverage of RHS Chelsea, Hampton Court, Gardeners World Live and Tatton Park Flower shows. Over the years Joe has fronted Open Gardens, Small Town Gardens, Garden Makers and Garden Invaders. He appeared on Celebrity Masterchef and many other programmes as a guest. Joe has designed many gardens for TV, including one for Comic Relief, many for Gardeners World plus all of the Alan Titchmarsh’s How to be a Gardener 2 series. He is also a co-founder of Modular Garden- a garden design and build brand.

Joes writing includes a regular column in The Times Weekend section, Gardeners World Magazine and various other magazine articles. He has written 3 books – The Plant Room, and Joe’s Urban Garden Handbook, and Joe’s Allotment.

Joe is the President of the National Garden Scheme, and Patron to many gardening charities including The Horniman Museum and The Harington Scheme.

He plays bass guitar, is a life long Arsenal fan and plays football and golf whenever he gets the chance!

Jim Buttress

Jim  has become synonymous with our garden festivals and he’ll be joining us again at Powderham 2019.

He’s one of the UK’s leading gardening experts and a busy man on the UK’s horticultural show scene. He was superintendent of the Royal Parks for 25 years and his clients have included Her Majesty the Queen.

John Challis

John Challis, the actor best-known for playing Boycie in the BBC’s most successful ever sitcom Only Fools and Horses joins us at Powderham this spring. John will be sharing how he and wife Carol restored the ancient abbot’s lodging and garden at Wigmore Abbey in Herefordshire. The 800-year old building was the inspiration and location for the Only Fools spin-off The Green Green Grass of Home which sees Boycie and on-screen wife Marlene flee Peckham for a new home after falling out with gangsters. John is back on our screens playing Monty, the love interest to Sherrie Hewson’s Joyce Temple-Savage in ITV’s Benidorm.

John will be at the festival both days, being interviewed by Jim Buttress and signing books.