• A Year at Spring Cottage
    A Year at Spring Cottage

    The high Cotswolds is not an easy place to garden, but there’s something to admire throughout the year. Follow a year in Val’s garden, which is an eco-friendly space packed with great plants.

  • Spring Bulbs
    Spring Bulbs

    What to plant where, with lots of practical information learned over a lifetime, and some new treasures too.

  • Bombproof Roses for The Modern Gardener
    Bombproof Roses for The Modern Gardener

    As an organic gardener, unable to spray for the fungal disease blackspot, I have identified some super-healthy roses and use them in my garden at Spring Cottage. Many of the old roses have Gallica blood somewhere in their lineage, but I can also grow Albas, Hybrid Musks, Ramblers and some climbers. In my mixed peony, rose and phlox borders I have added some modern shrub and floribunda roses. The talk covers the roses, their companions, rose pruning and feeding.

  • Fern Fancying – a primeval passion
    Fern Fancying – a primeval passion

    Ferns are one of my plant passions, but I’ve only been collecting them for about ten years or so, because I had to cast the shade in my south-facing garden first. Collecting them was Victorian mania, so they have a fascinating history. There are lots of variations from crested, to lacy, to tongue-shaped. I’ll talk about how to place and grow polypodies, adiantums, dryopteris, athyriums and polystichums and select the best ones.

  • Butterflies in Gardens
    Butterflies in Gardens

    I’ve always been a keen butterfly watcher and making the garden at Spring Cottage has taught me which plants they visit, the difference a mini meadow can make and much more. This talk is full of butterfly slides taken in my garden and these illustrate their preferences sometimes based on colour, sometimes on flower shape and sometimes on the sugar content of the nectar - the ‘lucozade’ of the insect world. 

  • Colour in the Garden
    Colour in the Garden

    Practical garden recipes that actually work from season to season. Whether it’s a Spring Sorbet, Summer Sunshine or Autumn Gold.

  • Dahlias

    Dahlias are a passion and this lecture explains their history, their versatility and highlights how to grow them and the best varieties on offer.

  • First-Rate Perennials
    First-Rate Perennials

    One of the secrets of gardening successfully is choosing the best plants and this lecture selects some of the best doers in the garden and it also explains to gardeners why it's such a good plant. The talk features 46 personal favourites.

  • Plant Lore and Legend
    Plant Lore and Legend

    So many of the plants we grow have associations with lore and legend and this is reflected in their names. Some - like the achillea - have classical associations with Greek heroes like Achilles and others - like the wallflower- may be associated with an old story about a young minstrel and his tragic love affair.

  • Roses and Peonies - a Marriage Made in Heaven
    Roses and Peonies - a Marriage Made in Heaven

    Moving to Spring Cottage in 2005, I was given  the chance to succeed with peonies due to having cool winters and moist, fertile soil. I have a large border of 'lactiflora' hybrids and they vary form 19th century French beauties to modern American peonies in shades of coral, vivid-red and yellow. The talk will follow the history of peony breeding, their use as a companion plant for roses and recommend varieties.

  • Snowdrops

    Snowdrops arouse strong passions and this talk explains my obsession with them. A short history followed by some of the best varieties for the garden and plenty of anecdotes about snowdrop growers - who are an eccentric bunch. This talk also explains how they came back from the wilderness when The Giant Snowdrop Company made headlines when they started to sell S. Arnott in the late 1950s.

  • Spring Cottage - Gardening with the Best Beloved
    Spring Cottage - Gardening with the Best Beloved

    The garden and cottage were both derelict so it was a matter of going back down the slippery slope and beginning again. The garden, run organically,  has flourished since 2005. This talk charts its progress from weed-ridden plot to lovely garden. It describes how to garden organically.

  • The Winter Garden
    The Winter Garden

    Putting the garden to bed by cutting everything down is an alien concept to Val who enjoys her garden in winter as much as she does in summer. She leaves many seed heads intact to shelter insect and small animal life and they look sensational in low light especially when rimed in frost. And when the sun sinks to its lowest point and the leaves have fallen, that's when the stems, branches and trunks of choice trees shine out in the minimalist garden. This lecture features some of the plants you should include in your garden to make your garden stunning in the winter months.

  • Vegetables

    How to Grow Vegetables organically. Techniques and varieties explained.

  • The Living Jigsaw Explained
    The Living Jigsaw Explained

    After decades of emphasis on pest control, often achieved through chemical means, gardeners around the world are beginning to come around to a new or, really, old way of thinking: a garden whose very diversity of plant and animal life makes it healthy, beautiful, and productive. 

    Val Bourne introduces both new and experienced gardeners to the wide diversity of birds, animals, insects, and even slugs that help bring a natural balance to a home garden and help its plants and flowers shrug off problems before they become entrenched.