SGT Winter Lectures

Live and on Zoom

Live talks on are Saturdays at 2.30pm, tickets £7.50 – email or write to the Chairman to book a place.

Zoom talks are on Thursdays at 6.00 pm. These are free to members, but we are currently limited to 100 participants for each talk. Zoom links will be sent to members before each lecture; no booking is required – first come, first served!

Zoom talk: Thursday 5 October 2023, 6pm

Suffolk’s Unforgettable Garden Story: The importance of volunteers in protecting underrepresented landscapes

By Christopher Laine and Karina Flynn

Suffolk's Unforgettable Garden Story

Suffolk contains a wealth of fascinating and beautiful historic designed landscapes, yet only 23 are officially designated as ‘Registered Parks and Gardens’ affording them protection within the planning system. In this talk, Christopher Laine and Karina Flynn will discuss the Suffolk’s Unforgettable Garden Story project (funded by Historic England) and the important work that volunteers are undertaking to research, record and highlight the value of the county’s non-designated historic designed landscapes, and how this will help protect those sites for the future.

Christopher is the Historic England Landscape Architect for the London and South East Region and the East of England Region; Karina is the Volunteer Support Officer for The Gardens Trust’s Suffolk’s Unforgettable Garden Story project.

Live talk: Saturday 16 December 2023

2.30pm in the Music Room at Earl Stonham House, Church Lane, Earl Stonham IP14 5ED (by kind permission of Andrew Deacon)

The Society of Dilettanti: bacchanalian antics and   building the Antique

 By Dr Laura Meyer

The Tower of the Winds Shugborough Staffs

The Grand Tour with its ancient ruins and sun-drenched landscapes became an educational rite of passage for the classically trained. This lively lecture considers how the Society of Dilettanti – an 18th-century gentleman’s club – embodied their motto of ‘Grecian taste and Roman Spirit’ in both the literal sense of worshiping Dionysus and Bacchus through heavy drinking, as well as by the scholarly promotion of antiquity. As travellers and gardener designers, their famous publications exerted a profound influence on the Georgian landscape garden.

Laura is an independent lecturer and researcher, with an MA in Garden History and a PhD in 18th-century patronage from the University of Bristol. She has published extensively, particularly on Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, Humphry Repton and the historic gardens of Cambridgeshire. Laura works as a consultant for the National Trust and Land & Heritage, researching and writing Conservation Management Plans. She also lectures regularly for Cambridge University Botanic Gardens.

Photo: The Tower of the Winds, Shugborough (Staffs).

Zoom talk: Thursday 11 January 2024, 6pm

‘The canale beautiful’ – a garden fashion in Europe (and Suffolk) from the 1530s to the 1730s.

By Edward Martin

Canal at Tendring Park, Stoke-by-Nayland

One of King Charles II’s first acts as a restored monarch was to build canals in his gardens at Hampton Court and St James’ Palace. These were not to be used by commercial barges but were long and thin water features in formal garden settings. His example led to a fashion for ‘garden canals’ and this talk will explore their origins, their Continental parallels and, in particular, their enthusiastic adoption in Suffolk, where over 50 examples were constructed before the fashion waned in the face of the cohorts of William Kent and Capability Brown and they slid into unrecognised obscurity.

Photo: Canal at Tendring Park, Stoke-by-Nayland

Live talk: Saturday 9 March 2024

2.30pm in the Music Room at Earl Stonham House, Church Lane, Earl Stonham IP14 5ED (by kind permission of Andrew Deacon)

Sir William Hooker (1785-1865)

By Andrew Sankey-Smith

Sir William Hooker

Born in Norwich in 1785, William Hooker cultivated his love for botany from an early age; he managed a brewery in Halesworth, Suffolk, from 1809 to 1820; became a plant hunter for Sir Joseph Banks; worked at the Horticultural Society gardens in London; and became Professor of Botany at Glasgow University. However, the pinnacle of his career has to be his appointment as Director of Kew Gardens in 1841. At Kew his drive and enthusiasm rebuilt the reputation of the greatest botanical gardens in the world, after they had suffered such a massive blow in 1820 from the twin deaths of Joseph Banks and George III in that year. He opened the gardens to the public, created the great lake, sent out Kew plant hunters again, employed women gardeners for the first time in Britain, and had two of the world’s most iconic glasshouses built – the Palm and Temperature Houses.

Andrew is a garden designer/landscaper and nurseryman specialising in cottage gardens & borders. He was chairman of the Lincolnshire Cottage Garden Society for many years. He now gives talks and course, including in the USA. His first book, The English Cottage Garden, was published by The Crowood Press in 2021 and a second book is in the process of being written.