SAA Gardening Conference 2017

Kindly sponsored by










Date: Thursday 2 November 2017

Venue: Events Centre, Trinity Park, Ipswich, IP3 8UH

Tickets: Book here 



Drop a pin in a map of Britain today and within almost any ten-mile radius, there will be glorious gardens worthy of celebrations. To the huge benefit of the nation, the last thirty years there has emerged a new golden age of garden creation and Britain’s magnificent gardens come in an endless variety of size, date, style and purpose. These much admired gardens are partnerships of planting and garden design and marry together gardens, houses and landscapes with people and history. They create atmosphere that, with visual beauty, reaches the inner soul, and becomes the stuff of memories.



This conference aims to salute the valiant efforts of countless owners, designers and gardeners – professional and amateur whose success is enjoyed by so many.


  • 9.30am                 Registration and Coffee


  • 10.00am               Chairman’s Introduction - Giles Coode-Adams.  A Past President of The Royal Horticultural Society.


About Giles Coode-Adams

Giles started his horticultural career by joining the staff at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew as chief executive of the Kew Foundation in 1991. During his time there, he was one of the founders of the Millennium Seedbank. After stepping down from Kew he joined the council of the Royal Horticultural Society in 2002, becoming Treasurer in 2006 then President in 2008. After retiring from the RHS he became Treasurer of the Kew Foundation. He is chairman of the advisory committee at Westonbirt Arboretum and at Bedgebury Arboretum, and is on the advisory committee at the Hillier Arboretum, a member of the finance committee at the Linnean Society and a member of the Scientific and Education committee of the International Dendrology Society.

Through his involvement with the Millennium Seedbank he has become closely involved in international plant conservation.


  • 10.10am               A Feast of Glorious Gardens – open to all - George Plumptre. Chief Executive of the National Gardens Scheme


About George Plumptre

As a teenager, George would cycle down the lanes in Kent with a yellow sign under his arm, looking for the prime spot for it to attract visitors to the 15 acre garden at his family’s country estate Goodnestone Park.  Now he is responsible for the thousands of yellow signs that will be dotted across the country each year. His green fingered credentials are clear: he was previously a journalist and Gardening Correspondent of The Times, he founded the internet company that is now the UK’s largest online only garden specialist Art is another passion and George has worked at Sotheby’s and at Bonhams where he was Director in charge of Business Development.  George has written twelve books on gardening and on history.

The NGS  is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. Nearly 3,800 gardens open under the scheme, 60 of them having done so every year since the scheme was launched in 1927. Each year over £2million is given to the beneficiaries that include Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, and Perennial - the charity that helps horticulturists who are facing difficulties.                             


  • 11.00am               Gertrude Jekyll’s English Homes and Gardens – template or handcuffs -  Caroline Holmes

About Caroline Holmes               

Caroline Holmes has been a popular choice at our previous events and returns with a fresh subject. She lives in Suffolk and is a Garden Historian who delves into the myriad ways people and plants have historically shaped landscapes and what we can learn from them. She lectures for the RHS, NADAS, University of Cambridge’s ICE, tour companies and internationally.  Author of 11 books, her latest “Water Lilies and Bory Latour - Mariac, the genius behind Monet’s Water Lilies” includes correspondence with Jekyll. Caroline is also a broadcaster on Radio and TV. Her consultancy design work ranges from Poison Garden to Operatic Borders to Renaissance intellectual voyage. Director of UK Countryside Tours.  


  • 12.15pm               Two course hot lunch and shopping time with the trade exhibitors.


  • 1.45pm                 Conservatories and Greenhouses - Present & Future. John Lawson – Director of Alitex Greenhouses


About John Lawson       

Alitex has a world-wide reputation for top quality structures from the National Trust, famous 12x8 foot greenhouse to the grandest, most sophisticated structures at home and, in particular, abroad. John’s talk will be superbly illustrated showing structures that most of can only dream of.                      


  • 2.30pm                 A Naturalistic Approach to English Gardening.  Keith Wiley – Garden Creator and Manager 


About Keith Wiley               

Keith was garden manager at The Garden House, a 10 acre garden on the edge of Dartmoor for twenty five years. There he created what has been described by national commentators as “one of the most exciting and innovative gardens and the best examples of leading edge horticulture in this country.”   He is a proponent of a new naturalism movement in gardening, which seeks to work in harmony with nature, allowing plants to thrive much as they would in nature. He takes inspiration from natural landscapes to create areas of planting in his gardens inspired by sights from around the world. Keith has written three books and has featured in a photographic exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London as “one of the most distinguished people in Britain whose work has influenced our ideas about nature, gardens and the world of plants “.


  • 3.30pm                 Tea, biscuits and shopping time with the trade exhibitors


Ticket prices:

SAA and SGT Members         £40.00 (inc VAT)               

Non members                       £45.00 (inc VAT)               

Delegates under 30 years    £20.00 (inc VAT)               


To book your tickets please click here.


For additional information or any queries please contact Helen Fomenko on 01473 707 124 or email.