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Join us in the Cotswold market town of Malmesbury for the new Gardens Illustrated Festival. Enjoy a fascinating programme of talks from leading experts, garden tours and workshops. You can also browse our marquee located within the Abbey grounds where you can buy from carefully selected nurseries and gardening suppliers, and sign up for our Plant or Design Clinics to help sort your gardening queries.

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Friday 17 April

Ticket price £25
8:00pm - 9:30pm (Abbey)
The Authentic Sissinghurst - re–capturing the distinctive qualities of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson’s garden

This evening discussion will be set in the beautiful surroundings of Malmesbury Abbey and provides a very exciting opportunity to discover the plans for one of the nation's most beloved gardens, Sissinghurst Castle in Kent.

Head gardener, Troy Scott-Smith will set the scene and talk about his work in the garden and his vision for the future. Award-winning designer Dan Pearson will explain all about his involvement at Sissinghurst, his work with Troy and their plans for the garden.

The talk will conclude with Chris Marchant, plantswoman and Director of Orchard Dene Nursery chairing a discussion between head gardener and designer. Finally, the audience will also have the opportunity to ask questions of their own.

Saturday 18 April

Ticket price £13.50
11:00am - 12:00pm (Abbey)
Fergus Garrett - Designing with Plants at Great Dixter
Great Dixter is one of the country's most innovative, dramatic and complex gardens; the planting combinations never fail to thrill and excite the visitor to Great Dixter. In this illustrated talk Head gardener Fergus Garrett will explain how he and his team achieve such incredible schemes and share a little of the Dixter magic with the audience.
11:00am - 12:00pm (Wesleyan Room)
Alys Fowler - Letters to a Bee Keeper
The pollinator problem and why our gardens matter. The plight of the pollinators has gained huge publicity over the last few years. Alys will unravel some of the issues surrounding their decline and look at how our gardens, in particular how we treat our soil, can be part of the solution.
11:00am - 12:00pm (Assembly Hall)
Derry Watkins - New Plants - Choosing and Using
Derry is renowned for her tempting and unusual selection of plants grown in her garden and offered for sale in her nursery. In this talk she picks out some of her recent new finds that have proved themselves garden worthy.
1:00pm - 2:00pm (Abbey)
Tom Stuart-Smith - The Language of Place - Gardens and Culture
Over the last four years Tom Stuart-Smith has been doing a lot of work abroad, in the USA, Morocco, India and Spain. How does an approach nurtured in the herbaceous borders and meadows of lush old England adapt to working in very different environments? The kind of typologies of gardens that are appropriate to the English landscape don’t apply to the waterways of Kerala or the Medina of Marrakech. Tom will look at recent and very varied work that tries to extract and condense some essence of a place and its culture into a landscape setting.
1:00pm - 2:00pm (Assembly Hall)
Annie Guilfoyle - A Creative Approach to Small Gardens
Small gardens can be challenging but garden designer Annie Guilfoyle will aim to turn the tables and show how the negatives can become the positives. This illustrated lecture will include how to organise the site, which materials work well and how to approach the planting, all in order to make your garden feel larger. It will inspire you how to design your small garden with big ideas.
1:00pm - 2:00pm (Wesleyan Room)
Sarah Price - Planting Styles: A Review of Sarah’s Work
From her Chelsea show gardens to the re-invigorated Old English Garden in Battersea Park for charity Thrive, and her involvement in the gardens at the London Olympic Park, Sarah discusses her work and approach to plant selection and combinations. She will be in conversation with Gardens Illustrated editor Juliet Roberts.
3:00pm - 4:00pm (Wesleyan Room)
James Alexander-Sinclair - Dancing in Borders
Venture on a trip if you dare, through seven gardens with James Alexander-Sinclair. Touching on garden design, planting combinations and the occasional rant, James will reveal the secrets of his successful designs and inspire you with his clever designs and sharp wit.
3:00pm - 4:00pm (Assembly Hall)
Jason Ingram - Gardens Through the Lens
Illustrated by his beautiful photographs taken through the seasons, Jason will discuss how he captures the spirit of a garden in wide and macro detail, responding to the light available. Throughout the conversation he will reveal technical tips and tricks of his trade.
3:00pm - 4:00pm (Abbey)
Sarah Raven - The Home Cutting Garden
Sarah was one of the pioneers in reviving the art and craft of growing garden plants for cutting - decorating the home as well as being a garden feature. She will talk about the range of easy and reliable annuals and biennials and tender perennials she favours for flower arranging.
5:00pm - 6:00pm (Abbey)
Anna Pavord - The Flowering of Tuscany
At the beginning of the 20th century there were more than 40,000 expatriates, English and American, in Tuscany. They had all come to re-invent themselves in some way and an important part of that process was to restore a garden. The Actons at La Pietra, the Berensons at I Tatti, Lady Sybil Cutting at Villa Medici were all part of an extraordinary gardening web, much of it woven by the brilliant young English designer, Cecil Pinsent.
5:00pm - 6:00pm (Wesleyan Room)
Rachel Dein - The Ultimate in Pressed Flowers
Rachel Dein will talk about the process of how she makes her work casting flowers and plants, her development as an artist from art college to working as a prop maker, and recently starting up her own studio and selling her work. Rachel will reflect upon a lifetime's love of plants, and wanting to capture their vitality and beauty permanently - inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement and artists such as Karl Blossfeldt. Rachel will also discuss her key moments in the history of botanical art.
5:00pm - 6:00pm (Assembly Hall)
Noël Kingsbury - Travels with NK
Travelling to look at gardens introduces us to different plants, climates and ways of doing things. Sometimes challenging, often inspiring, always informative, and occasionally frustrating, looking at gardens around the globe can be a wonderful way to understand another culture. An entertaining look at the ups and downs of 20 years plus of garden travelling across five continents, meeting inspired designers, dedicated gardeners, lax security guards, overfriendly drug warlords and others. 
6:30pm - 7:30pm (Wesleyan Room)
Tom Mitchell - The Modern Day Plant Hunter
6:30pm - 7:30pm (Assembly Hall)
Frank Ronan - The Invisible Garden
What is a garden? We get into gardening, by and large, out of some unspecific liking for nature. Then we go though a process of struggling against nature, whatever that is, until we have made an entity that might be entirely beautiful, but is artificial on every level. Is it possible to resolve this contradiction? Would the ideal garden be one where there was no physical evidence of anyone having gardened there at all?
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