New for 2019

Perfect Pruning

Once you understand the basics, pruning is as easy as falling off a log.”

Pruning. The very mention of it can strike fear into the heart of even the most experienced gardener, however perfect pruning is easy when you understand the basics. Starting with the reviewing the best tools for the job; then considering a season by season guide to what to prune when and how – this is the talk many gardening clubs have been asking for.


Photographing your garden

Would you like to be able to take awesome images of the plants in your garden, as well as being a gardening club speaker, Doug is also a published and respected photographer.

In this talk Doug shares tricks and techniques to photograph both gardens flooded with golden sunshine, and also individual flowers. Plants are so much easier to photograph than people, they might dance in the breeze, but they don’t need to be reminded to smile!


A Game of Tones

As summer fades, gardens get ready to put on one last defiant, yet flamboyant show, before the winter frosts begin.

Amusing, inspiring and informative. This new talk considers both why and how leaves turn colour, before moving on to review the best trees and shrubs for autumn colour, autumn gardening traditions, and of course the folklore and the stories behind our favourite autumnal plants.


Monkey cups, hens n chicks, and fresh air

Doug’s cottage is filled with around 50 different houseplants, ranging from orchids, succulents and ferns through to more sinister flesh eating favourites.

In this talk Doug introduces a few of his favourites, telling their fascinating stories and sharing tips for success.


Winter thrillers

Scent, stems and stunning colour, a winter garden can have it all…

Winter gardens, filled with colour and scent really lift the spirits on even the coldest winters day, in this talk Doug reveals the secrets of creating a stunning winter garden.


Growing better tomatoes

“It is impossible to think a sad thought while eating a home grown tomato, warm from the sun”

Doug started his horticultural career growing tomatoes, and has travelled widely looking at tomato production techniques. This talk is the ultimate tomato growing masterclass reviewing the best varieties to try, outdoor and indoor cultivation along with ways to avoid pests, diseases and disorders.

One club who have booked this talk are running a tomato competition with each member getting a seedling to grow, with a prize for the heaviest ripe  tomato brought to their September meeting.


Wild Yorkshire

It all starts when you head off to the wild places

Yorkshire is filled with the most wonderful wildlife and all you need to enjoy it are a pair of walking boots and a camera.

In this talk, Doug tells the stories of our wild places, introducing us to the plants and animals that call those places home.



6 of the best

these are my most popular talks

10 ways to a better garden

This has become established as Doug’s most popular gardening talk, (indeed if Doug was a chef, this would be his signature dish) and has been enjoyed by over 200 groups in the last few years.

Gaining inspiration from some of the finest gardens in the world, this talk temps you to consider 10 easy ways to create your very own dream garden.

The talk concludes with a very personal look at over 20 favourite plants, reminding us to fall in love with our gardens all over again.


The way we were…

This is fast becoming one of my most popular gardening talks. It builds on a growing passion for collecting and reading old gardening magazines, brochures and books, which as you will see are filled with some strange curiosities…

So how did we garden over 60 years ago and just how much have things changed from the humble shed, to the flower show and of course the very latest products and devices to make gardening easy?

Using the catalogues and gardening magazines of yesteryear as inspiration this talk ponders on adverts for lightweight concrete greenhouses, and why only pipe smoking men seemed to be used in adverts!


10 NEW must have plants

Working with some of the largest plant producers in the UK, I am very fortunate to see many new plants before they are launched..

Traveling widely in the UK and visiting many of the leading gardens, which are crammed with fantastic plants gives the opportunity to view many of the newest introductions, many of which we are putting through their paces on the BBC Radio Humberside allotment.

Here are just 10 of these plants, which are worthy of a place in every garden…


Superheroes – The Plant Hunters

This talk is a celebration of the lives of the Plant Hunters, men who went out all over the world for the love of rare and unusual plants…

Plant Hunters – people who braved hardship, evil warlords, cannibals and almost certain death, to bring us so many of the plants that we grow today. As one of the horticultural heroes says, “people have no idea what goes into that tiny packet of seeds.”

This talk is dedicated to them and tells their amazing inspirational story.


The Holly, the Ivy, and other Christmas stories

A great favourite for that Christmas meeting, where a short amusing talk is in order, before a buffet or similar. Some clubs have booked this with a short Quiz for a fun and festive evening!

How well do you know your festive plants and the tales they have to tell?

This is a talk of fables, folklore and legend; looking at the Holly, Ivy, Mistletoe and of course the king of all festive plants the Christmas Tree.


The Drunken Gardener

This very popular talk is ideal for Christmas Meetings, and of course, to liven up an AGM, especially when accompanied by wine and nibbles…

This talk looks at the role that many of our garden plants have in the creation of some of the worlds finest drinks…

Taking inspiration from nettle beer, through to more exotic beverages such as pulque this talk takes an amusing and sideways look at plants, gardens and favourite tipples.


Classic talks

Flowers, foliage and Fat Rascals

RHS Harlow Carr is one of the finest gardens in Britain…

I have been a regular visitor to RHS Harlow Carr for over 20 years.

I am also fortunate enough to work with the team at RHS Harlow Carr as an academic tutor in the School of Horticulture and regularly lectures at the garden.

This incredible garden just keeps getting better and is now one of the finest gardens in the Britain.

Starting with an insight into the history of the garden, this talk then goes on to look at many of the stunning plants that make a visit to Harlow Carr magical.

(And I think we all know where the Fat Rascals come from!)


 Flowers of verge and byway

The Yorkshire countryside is filled with an array of wonderful wildflowers, if you know where to look…

It does make a wonderful excuse, when clambering up steep hillsides, you can fall to your knees, explaining that you just need five minutes to photograph this wonderful wildflower…

And I have to say I spend a lot of time on my knees, camera in hand photographing the wildflowers of Yorkshire and Derbyshire.

This talk is filled with superb slides of wildflowers and tells their stories…


The Secret Gardens of the Lake District

10 years of garden visits and not a wet day…

I am very fortunate to be an Associate Tutor with the Field Studies Council, at their Blencathra centre.

It is from this base that I lead a gardening holiday/study course,

This talk includes all the greats such as Levens Hall with its amazing ancient topiary are featured, along with a plethora of lesser-known gems.


Gardening in the future

A lighthearted, but informative review of the latest innovations and discoveries that are going to change the way we garden…

I was asked by Chris who runs Wheldrake Gardening Club if I had thought of giving a talk about where gardening is going. Chris was wanting a talk that was:

  • Lighthearted
  • Informative
  • Gives a round up of Research and Development
  • Looks at new and novel ways of controlling Pests and Diseases
  • Suggests new ideas from tree planting to digging

Here is what Hilary of Normanby Gardeners had to say about the talk…

“I just thought that I would let you know that we found the talk fascinating. One or two members had thought that it might be rather too scientific but pronounced it to be “brilliant” at the end of the evening. As usual the subject was very entertaining as well as informative. We would recommend it to other gardening clubs searching for a talk which a change from the usual subjects.”


Gardening on the edge

Gardening on the edge – Coastal Plants and Gardens” is the name of one of Doug’s Newest talks, which is suitable for general interest groups such as WIs and Ladies Luncheon Clubs, as well as Gardening Clubs.

I am currently reclaiming my garden after letting my house out for a few years, the new garden will have a strong coastal influence.

In this talk we visit some wonderful coastal gardens, consider plants to grow near the coast, along with how to achieve that coastal look.


Wicked Plants

This is a talk looking at plants that hurt, mame and kill, in some rather ingenious ways…

Just when you thought it was safe to go out into the garden.

Something a little bit different…


A touch of Cornish

Ten years in the making ,this talk provides a whistle stop tour of some of the finest gardens to be found in Cornwall; where frost is rare and the gardens are exceptional.

This is a land of giant Echiums and tree ferns, Camellias and Rhododendrons,

we visit Eden, Heligan and a host of smaller unknown gardens.

Oh yes, and the national museum of lawn mowers!


Gardening for the winter solstice

Even when the days are at their shortest our gardens can still fill us with joy!  Indeed it has been said that if our gardens don’t fill our hearts with joy every day of the year then we have got it all wrong!

In this talk for the winter season we consider a range of plants that are at their best on the shortest day of the year when our gardens need colour the most.


Why plants talk to insects & why pumpkins can’t fly?

In this fun gardening talk we take a sideways look at the science of gardening…

  • Why do some plants talk to insects?
  • Do trees sweat
  • Can plants kill each other
  • Can plants talk to each other, and if so what do they say?
  • How your plants talk to you – if you are listening
  • And of course, why pumpkins can’t fly?


The Joy of Worms!

At the heart of organic growing is compost…

In this humorous, illustrated, look at organic growing, we delve into the amazing world of vermicomposting, worm bins, compost piles and much, much, more!

Discover how to compost TNT, how to dispose of 20 000 dead turkeys, (honest) and how to produce all your own liquid feed!

This talk had been retired, but after a gardening club asked for it twice as they enjoyed it so much the first time, it was brought out of retirement!


Grow your own                                                

30% of the UK population have decided to try growing their own vegetables next year…

Sales of vegetable seeds are now greater than those of flowers..Find out why Grow Your Own has become so incredibly popular and why more and more people are taking up vegetable gardening.

From the construction of the first raised beds, through to the planting with unusual and rare vegetables, this talk looks at the easy way to taste and flavour.

Growing your own does not need to take time and effort indeed all you need is one square foot of ground.


How to poison pests and love the planet

One of the joys of growing our own fruit and vegetables, apart from the superior flavour, colour and texture, is knowing that they are 100% natural.

But what happens when it all goes wrong and the greenfly come marching in?

Before you reach for the spray book this entertaining talk and discover how to use nature to defeat even the most stubborn foes.

Recipes for herbal cures are given, along with tips on how to encourage beneficial insects to visit the garden.


Great Gardens

A whistle stop tour looking at some of the great gardens telling the stories behind them, including, Great Dixter, Kew, Wisley, Sissinghurst, Keukenhof, The Lost Gardens of Helligan, The Eden Project, Longwood Gardens and as they say many more….


The Greatest Show on Earth

This talk, which is popular with Gardening clubs, and Ladies Luncheon Clubs alike, has been fully revised for thew coming year. 

Chelsea is the most famous flower show in the world, but what goes on behind the scenes, what does it take to create a winning garden, and how good a judge would you be?


Tips n Tricks and other Secrets from the Potting Shed

Over the years listeners to The Great Outdoors, the programme that Blair Jacobs and I have presented for some 20 years on BBC Radio Humberside have shared their tips and tricks to make gardening easier…

  • Some are ingenious.
  • Most will save time and money.
  • Some however are just plain bizarre!


My Garden, or the 25 year makeover!

“Why do you never talk about your own garden?” Is a question often asked at Gardening Clubs, so here it is, warts and all…

My Garden.

This talk covers the moment the builders moved off site, to the process of designing the garden, the plants that Doug has grown, along with the tales of triumph and disaster along the way.


The Gardens of The National Trust

Hidcote was the first National Trust Garden, now some of our most famous and loved gardens come under the care of the National Trust, including Sissinghurst, Biddulph Grange, Coleton Fishacre and many more!


The 10 Golden rules of successful Greenhouse Gardening  

In this talk, drawing on my professional glasshouse growing background we discuss the 10 golden rules for successful greenhouse growing…


Container Gardening

Can anything compare to a perfect hanging basket in full flower, or a patio filled with scent and colour.

In this  talk Doug considers…

  • How to choose the right container
  • Perfect plants for pots
  • Creating spring, summer and autumn colour
  • How to create a container kitchen garden

Create the perfect POTio for 2018


Snuffles and tweets                                    

In this new talk we consider how to create a garden that is both attractive and friendly to wildlife.

Snuffling hedgehogs, warty toads and wild birds all need to be attracted into the garden.

Let me show you how…


Perfect plants for problem places

Perfect Plants for Problem Places started life as a Masterclass on the gardening programme I co present on BBC Radio Humberside.

The title is self explanatory, with a wide range of perfect plants for even the most difficult sites being considered.


Gardening on the other side of the Pond

This talk offers an amusing insight into Americans and their passion for plants and gardening.

Gardens featured include Harvard Universities’ Arnold Arboretum, Niagara Falls Botanical Gardens, and the justly World Famous Longwood Gardens, which was described as “how God would garden if he had the money!”

Relax and enjoy a tour some of the best gardens in the North Eastern United States, learning about the plants, and gardens of the area.


The Fruits of your labour

In this talk we look at the techniques involved in growing fruit in a Northern garden.


Edible Flowers

In this talk we considers the wide range of flowers that can be grown and used to garnish our summer salads, add fragrance and flavour to jams and jellies and of course to make dinner party guests gasp with astonishment.