Owner of the Dillon Garden comes to Writtle College

Company: Writtle College

A gardening writer and the owner of the Dillon Garden in Ireland will be delivering a talk at Writtle College this week as part of the James Hearsum Lecture Series.

Helen Dillon will be coming to the College on 4 December to recount her experiences of the Dillon Garden in Ranelagh, Dublin.

She is the third speaker in the lecture series, the brainchild of former horticulture student James Hearsum. Now in its eighth year, the comprehensive and illustrated lectures are delivered by professional horticulturists, contractors and designers.

Helen said: “I’ve known of Writtle College for many years and I’m much looking forward to my visit. My talk will be called Dig it Up and Throw it Away and is the story of a Dublin garden that has been made over the last 41 years, where many dramatic changes have taken place.”

Helen will explain that she needs to be a creator rather than a curator; that gardens must change and evolve to have vitality.

She will stress the importance of editing and de-cluttering your garden, always remembering that ‘the best manure is the shadow of the gardener’. She will explain how it often hasn’t occurred to gardeners to remove a plant that isn’t thriving, a piece of design done ages ago which never really worked, or a tree which is damaging much of the garden by casting too much shade.

Helen will ask ‘why grow plants particularly susceptible to slugs?’ Even her roses have been heavily edited – from over 60 cultivars down to just 15. 

The acclaimed modernist landscape designer Steve Martino travelled from the USA to be the headline and opening act at this year’s horticulture lecture series on 16 October. He was followed by Sarah Eberle, renowned UK garden designer, on 27 November.

After Helen’s lecture, Dr Tim Entwisle, Director of Conservation, Living Collections and Estates at Kew Gardens, will come to Writtle College on Tuesday 15 January.

Nick Macer, founder of specialist plant nursery Pan Global Plants in Gloucestershire, will finish the series on Tuesday 5 March.

This eighth lecture series has been organised by Greg Allen, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Studies at the College, with a team of first, second and third year students.

Mr Allen says: “These speakers will approach aspects of horticulture and design from varying perspectives.  Their lectures will include lavish illustrations and there will be an opportunity for questions and discussions once the lectures are complete.

“Hosted by students of Writtle College, with support of the tutors, we hope this series will open up debate about the direction of gardening, landscapes and horticulture.”

All the proceeds of the lecture series go to the Writtle College Students’ Union and are used to provide travel bursaries to some of the most important gardens in the world.

The lectures start at 7.30pm in the Northumberland Lecture Theatre at the College. The lectures cost £9. Tickets and further details are available from theWrittle College Students’ Union or via Greg Allen on 01245 424200 or gta@writtle.ac.uk

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