We are available to give talks, travelling to Garden clubs and other societies in Shropshire and surrounding counties. The talks are illustrated with high quality digital images and we provide our own projector and screen. If required, we would bring a range of plants for sale at the event. 

Please note that we are now taking bookings for the remainder of the 2022 season, and welcome bookings for 2023.

Please note that we always do talks in person rather than via zoom. We like meeting and interacting with fellow gardeners!

Topics include:

Plant talks.

A  Passion for Penstemon - This talk examines the history of the species and cultivars and their European hybrids. It considers how to propogate and cultivate Penstemon and their imaginative use within the garden. 

Bulbous perennials - Bulbs are very much associated with Spring but this talk highlights the wide range of bulbs available throughout the seasons and considers tips for the successful growing of bulbs and imaginative planting schemes.

Hardy Geraniums ((New for 2021)

Hemerocallis within the Garden - This talk examines the history of this North American species and highlights how to use some of the vast range of dayllilies to enhance your garden.

Late Summer-Flowering Perennials - This highlights the wonderful range of perennials and grasses which can be used to extend the flowering season.

The Cut Flower Garden - The history and use of cut flowers and how to develop a cut flower garden to provide you with foliage and flowers throughout the year.

Winter interest in the Garden (New for 2021)

Garden history - general talks

A Brief History of English Gardens - A look at the development of gardens from the Roman period to the present day. This informative talk ranges fron the monastic gardens of the Middle Ages through to the gardens of the Stuarts and early Georgians; the English Landscape Movement; the eclectic styles of the Victorian era; The Arts and Craft Movement and contemporary gardens of the 20th & 21st centuries. 

The History of Walled Gardens - Our most popular and entertaining talk traces the development of walled gardens from their origins in Persia through to the current day.  It examines the factors that determined their size and shap; their location on the estates which they served; and how they were influenced by the Baroque garden trends within Europe, and the Landscape movement at home. It finishes with a discussion on the future of walled gardens and what role they will play in the community.

Houses and Gardens of The National Trust - This talk looks at the history and development of the National Trust; the wide range of gardens and houses in its custodianship including some of the tenanted properties which are rarely open to the public.

The English Landscape Movement

The English Landscape Movement -  In terms of landscape and garden design, the 18th century was dominated by four designers: Charles Bridgman, William Kent, Humphrey Repton and Capability Brown. This talk examines the factors that led to the Landscape Movement; the influence of the different designers and a look at some of their most famous works.

Charles Bridgeman - The least known but arguably the most significant of the landscape designers, Bridgman is the unsung pioneer in the establishment of ‘le jardin anglais’. He was at the heart of the transition from the geometric layouts of the early 1700’s to the landscape desins of Kent and Brown. Many of his great works such as Stowe, Hampton Court and Kensington Palace were modified by later designers.

William Kent - 

Capability Brown - (New for 2020)

Humphrey Repton - The successor to Brown, Humphrey Repton was the most prolific of the landscape designers whose four hundred commissions are immortalised in his Red Books. He helped clients to visualise the potential of their properties  whilst adapting to changes in garden styles from the Picturesque to the Gardenesque.

Gardening in the Victorian and Edwardian eras

The Victorian Garden -  Gardening in the early 19th century,  was mainly the preserve of the professionals who worked on large estates. But a new breed of gardener was emerging - the amateur gardener. This coincided with an advancement in horticultural equipment and techniques; changes in garden styles, and the discovery and introduction of new plants from around the world. It represented a century of change and was the golden age of gardening.

The Gardens of the Arts and Crafts Movement - This talk examines the Arts and Crafts Movement and its values of beauty, simplicity and craftsmanship during the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. The period is best known for its architecture, furniture and gardens, with an emphasis  on the architectural works of Voysey, Scott and Lutyens, the artists Strachan, Allingham and Stannard and the garden designs of Jeykll, with examples of their works from around the country.

The Gardens of Gertrude Jekyll - Responsible for designing over 400 gardens, Gertrude Jekyll was one of the most influential horticulturists of her time. This talk examines her life and times at her home Munstead Wood, her professional relationship with the architect E. L. Lutyens, and her influence on garden design.

The houses and Gardens of E.L. Lutyens -  Best known for his work in collaboration with Gertrude Jekyll.  Lutyens was also responsible for a wide range of iconic buildings and memorials as one of the leading architects of his time.

The Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden - This talk looks in more detail, the location, design and use of walled kitchen gardens within the Victorian era.  It examines in more detail the buildings and glasshouses associated with them; the crops and produce grown within them and the role of the gardeners who were employed to manage them.

Gardens of Europe

The Gardens of the Italian Lakes - A different talk looking at the elements of Italian garden design, including the examples of Isola Bella and Isola Madre on Lake Maggiore, and Villa Carlotta and Villa del Balbianello on Lake Como in northern Italy.

Gardens of China,  Japan and Vietnam - A look at the contrasting styles of these south-east Asian gardens.  Japanese gardens combine serenity and simplicity and apparent timelessness, whilst Chinese gardens incorporate the elements of water, vegetation, rocks and structures. Vietnamese gardens are a natural reflection of nature.  

The Gardens of Versailles -This talk celebrates arguably the greatest garden in Europe by presenting a detailed history of its development from the hunting estate acquired by Louis X111, through the ultimate symbol of the opulence in the era of Louis XIV, to the gardens enjoyed by visitors today. The scale and complexity of the gardens are unequalled in garden history, from the water features in the pleasure garden to the trianon and jardin anglais. Whilst the gardens are being restored they are a shadow of their former greatness.

Other talks

Tips for Garden Design - This is one of our most popular talks focuses on the refreshing and rejuvenation of established gardens. It covers a range of practical ideas for you to consider whether you want a complete makeover;  adopt a more contemporary colour or planting scheme;  or reconsider a problem area. It examines some of the principles of garden design with examples of good and bad schemes.  

Five centuries of Women and Gardens - Names such as Gertrude Jekyll and Vita Sackville-West are familiar to most gardeners but there are so many more. This engaging and increasingly popular talk celebrates the extensive achievements women have made to the gardens and gardening styles we enjoy today. 

A History of English Wine (with optional tasting, subject to license) - In addition to running Mynd Hardy Plants, until recently we ran an award-winning English vineyard; Morville St Gregory. The vineyard was established in 2001.  This talk examines the development of the English Wine industry; how to establish a vineyard and the pleasure and challenges in running the vineyard and producing the wine.

The challenges of running a plant nursery - (New for 2020) - We took over the plant nursery in 2014, and despite being keen gardeners all of our lives, we had no experience of running our own business This talk provides an insight into some of the highs and lows of running the nursery, from the plant fairs to the open days, the paperwork to the weather, and all the other factors which have contributed to us being poorer but happier.

For further details, including costs and availability, please email Richard or Jill at

  © Rallings 2017