The Curious Gardener: marshalling nature and the joy of getting your hands dirty

Sunday 23 September | 10am–11am

Gardener, journalist and author Anna Pavord will be in conversation with Times columnist and keen gardener, Ann Treneman.

Anna doesn’t like to wear gloves when she is out in her garden. “I like to feel the plants. I like to feel the earth. I get a real sensuous pleasure from the touch of the plants and from the touch of the earth.” Anna has a gift for writing about the natural world of plants, not just her own garden in Dorset but the wider landscape as well, combining a lifetime of expertise with everyday common sense. Even after all these years, she remains forever curious.

Anna, who has written about gardening for the Independent since 1986, was known for years as “The Tulip Lady” after her best-selling book The Tulip charted the fascinating history-making impact of that bulb. Her love of bulbs (she also wrote a book called just Bulb) fostered an ambition to grow all known bulbs. Although she makes it a rule to plant at least 20 new ones each year, so far she’s only reached 400. When asked by a journalist how she became so obsessed, she replied: “Why do you marry the man you do? You have to remain intrigued. They have to surprise.” (She has been married to Trevor Ware for 52 years.)

Anna’s most recent book is the lyrical Landskipping, a celebration of landscape. Chatsworth seems the perfect setting to talk about that and all topics gardening, far and wide. Last year Anna appeared on Desert Island Discs, revealing how Freddie Mercury of Queen was just as important in her list of all time greats as Purcell.


Anna Pavord and Ann Treneman
Anna Pavord and Ann Treneman

Banner image: Anna Pavord's Dorset garden