Garden Talks by Sue

Talks for 2023

I enjoy giving talks.  I’ve recently been approached by a couple of local garden clubs asking to book a talk for their 2023 programme of speakers, so I’ve just refreshed the list of topics that I offer.  Two new additions have been prompted by the growing interest amongst our garden visitors and supported by media coverage.  These are ‘Rewilding your Garden’ and ‘the Woodland Garden’.

Here’s a list of topics I am happy to talk about.  I show photographs (mainly of our garden here at Nant-y-Bedd) to illustrate my talk, and I’m happy to answer questions throughout the talk or afterwards.

  • Wild Gardening at Nant-y-bedd Garden

The garden here at Nant-y-Bedd sits comfortably within its landscape and welcomes the spontaneity of self-seeders and wildflowers. But it is also a productive organic vegetable and fruit garden, a haven for wildlife and a tranquil space to relax. This workshop explores how this balance is achieved and how this could translate to your own garden. 

  • The Woodland Garden

The garden at Nant-y-bedd has been created, and is continuing to develop, around the under-pinning principles of forest gardening. There’s a huge variety of trees and habitats from mature walnut, sweet chestnut, hazel and Douglas Fir (immense trees) to more recently planted Sichuan peppercorn, honeyberry, juniper, wild service and Amelanchier, mulberry and autumn olive.  Ground layer crops include wild garlic, three-cornered leek, prostrate raspberry and musk strawberries, wood sorrel and ground elder, sweet cicely and sweet woodruff.  Shrub and vine layers include wild raspberry and elderflower, blueberry and hops.  Woodland products such as leafmould, wood chip for mulching and making compost are important, and Sue has been experimenting with composted woodchip as a growing medium, and Hugelkultur – which is growing crops on rotting wood.  

  • Re-wild Your Garden

There’s much talk about ‘rewilding’ the countryside. I’ve been going on about ‘Wild Gardening’ for years, so when Stephen Anderton, Garden Writer for the Times and author of many gardening books, asked if he could come and interview us for a garden-related piece he had been asked to write for a Times supplement on ‘Rewilding’, we were more than happy to agree. In this talk we look at Stephen’s ‘Nine top tips to bring more life into your own backyard’ showing you how we have been doing it at Nant-y-bedd for more than 40 years, hoping to inspire you to adopt some of them in your own gardens.

  • Compost Making for Gardeners

Composting is a key element of gardening in tune with nature.    Healthy soil helps to create resilient plants, giving them everything they need to help fight off pests and diseases.  Adding home made compost is one of the best ways to support the microbiology in your soil and ensure a thriving ecosystem.

This talk covers the theory behind the process of successful compost making and different approaches including traditional bins and how to make a compost windrow.  Sue will cover:

  • Why we should all make compost
  • The basics of a controlled aerobic composting process including what materials are suitable for composting, the importance of mixing materials and temperature control.
  • How to sort out a compost bin which isn’t performing
  • How to speed up the process
  • How to use your compost in the garden, potting mixes, mulches and no-dig veg growing
  • How to make leafmould and its uses in the garden
  • Unusual Ways to Grow Veg

Organic, no-dig, Polyculture, edible flowers, Heritage varieties, saving your own seed, eat your weeds, perennial vegetables, plants for 

pollinators, self-seeding veg growing, organic methods of controlling pests…there’s no bare soil, double-digging or chemicals in the veg plots at Nant-y-bedd.

A ‘virtual tour’ of Nant-y-Bedd Garden.

This talk describes the inspiration behind the garden, how it’s been created over the last 40 years, and takes you on a tour of what there is to see today.

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