Speakers

We are delighted to confirm that The Beth Chatto Symposium 2022 ‘Rewilding the Mind’ will be hosted by TV presenter and garden designer Arit Anderson, a familiar face on BBC's Gardeners' World.

Arit will be introducing a programme of truly inspirational and diverse speakers from a multitude of disciplines, listed here in alphabetical order:

Speakers
Speakers
Adam Hunt
Principal, Urquhart & Hunt

‘I am interested in how we relate to the land through myth and culture, finding out how to remember the age-old love affair we have always had with nature.’  

Adam is a plant-lover, landscape designer, and ecologist.  His passions are walking in nature, growing vegetables, mythology and re-wilding.  

He has extensive experience of running landscape projects in the commercial, public and private sector.

He was one of the original team who founded Trees for London (now Trees for Cities), Dorset Local Food Links and The Walled Kitchen Garden Network. Adam often uses sacred geometry as a basis for his designs in the land and gardens, which he also applies to working with Islamic gardens. 

1986-89 BSc, Botany, University of East Anglia
1994-95 MSc, Plant Ecology, Birkbeck College, University of London

Speakers
Prof Alastair Driver BSc (Hons)
Conservationist

Professor Alastair Driver is one of the UK’s best known conservationists and is cited in “Who’s Who” for influence and distinction in the field of environmental conservation. He is one of the country’s leading proponents of rewilding and is an expert naturalist and ecologist with 44 years’ professional experience and hundreds of conservation projects under his belt.

He became the first Conservation Officer for the Thames catchment in 1984 and went on to become the National Head of Conservation for the Environment Agency for England and Wales from 2002 – 2016.

Since Jan 2017, he has been the Director of Rewilding Britain and plays a key role in influencing government environmental policy at the highest level and establishing rewilding projects in England and Wales.

Alastair also holds several pro bono roles, including Hon Prof at University of Exeter and Specialist Advisor for the National Trust. In Jan 2022 he was appointed to the inaugural Natural England Landscape Advisory Panel.

Speakers
Dan Pearson OBE
British Landscape Designer, Horticulturalist, Writer and Gardener

Wisley Cert (Hons)
Kew Dip (Hons)
MSGD
Hon FRIBA
RDI

Dan Pearson is a British landscape designer, horticulturalist, writer and gardener.

His work is characterised by an innate sensitivity to place, an intuitive and light-handed approach to design, a strong ecological approach to benefit biodiversity, bold and painterly naturalistic plantings and deep-rooted horticultural knowledge.

He is a member of the Society of Garden Designers (MSGD), an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (Hon FRIBA) and a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI). He was a member of the Jury for the 2011 RIBA Stirling Prize and since 2014 has been a Garden Advisor to the National Trust at Sissinghurst Castle.


In 2022 he was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.

Speakers
Prof Dave Goulson, FRSE FRES
Professor of Biology at University of Sussex

Professor Dave Goulson is Professor of Biology at University of Sussex, specializing in bee ecology.

He has published more than 350 scientific articles on the ecology and conservation of bumblebees and other insects, plus seven books, including the Sunday Times bestsellers A Sting in the Tale (2013), the Garden Jungle (2019), and Silent Earth (2021).

Goulson founded the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in 2006, a charity which has grown to 12,000 members.

In 2015 he was named number 8 in BBC Wildlife Magazine’s list of the top 50 most influential people in conservation.

For each of the last 4 years he was named as a “Highly Cited Researcher” by Thompson ISI.

He is a trustee of Pesticide Action Network, an “Ambassador” for the UK Wildlife Trusts, and president of Pesticide Free Scotland

Speakers
Errol Rueben Fernandes
Head of Horticulture at the Horniman Museum and Gardens

Errol Fernandes is the Head of Horticulture at the Horniman Museum and Gardens in South London where he manages the 16 acres of stunning gardens. The Horniman Museum is the only museum in the country with a social anthropology, natural history and gardens collection. This unique position allows them to traverse and explore the areas where we overlap and intertwine with nature and the gardens are essential in helping to communicate this narrative.

Having had a love of nature and a passion for gardening from a very young age, Errol seemingly diverted away from the horticultural path to study fine art and went on to develop a career as a painter and curator, exhibiting internationally before studying for a Masters in Art Psychotherapy. Errol then went on to practice as an art psychotherapist within adult psychiatry and also worked with children and adolescents and slowly began to include elements of gardening therapy in his work. Errol later went on to gain horticultural and botanical training.

Errol's approach to landscape management, horticulture and design is creative, thoughtful and sensitive. Errol is particularly interested in ecological and sustainable horticulture and develops planting schemes that sit comfortably alongside nature, have a low impact on the environment both in terms of implementation and maintenance but he also strives to push the boundaries of contemporary horticulture and design practice.

Working with communities sharing knowledge, nurturing collaborative working practices and inspiring the next generation of horticulturalists are principles that are central to his work.

Speakers
Fergus Garrett
Head Gardener of Great Dixter

Trained in Horticulture at Wye College, London University.

Fergus worked in Kent for Rosemary Alexander of the English Gardening School

Beth Chatto at the Unusual Plants Nursery, now Beth Chatto’s Plants & Gardens, in Essex

and then for the Sackler family at Cap d’Antibes and Gstaad.

Tom Wright introduced Fergus to Christopher Lloyd, the legendary gardener and garden writer at Great Dixter on a student outing. ‘I thought Dixter was a slightly curious place. The only other gardening I had done apart from my grandmother’s garden was in Brighton parks which were clipped and formal quite unlike the wildness of Dixter.

Speakers
Dr Gemma Jerome FLI
Director of Building with Nature

Dr Gemma is the Director of Building with Nature, a national benchmark and accreditation system for green infrastructure.

She is an environmental planner specialising in the delivery, management and maintenance of development that puts nature at the heart of its decision-making.

Building with Nature (BwN) is the UK’s first Standards Framework for high-quality green infrastructure and provides industry with how-to guidance to create great places for people and wildlife.

She recently co-chaired the British Standards Institute panel for the BS8683 Biodiversity Net Gain standard, sits on the advisory group for the Natural England Green Infrastructure Standards Project, and has acted in an advisory capacity on various Government roundtables directing design quality and placemaking.

Gemma became a Fellow of the Landscape Institute in 2020, in recognition of her services to industry, and acting as a bold and fresh ‘voice’ for nature in the planning and development sector.

Speakers
Giacomo Guzzon
Head of Planting Design Gillespies

Giacomo Guzzon is a landscape architect, academic tutor, and lecturer in planting design at the University of Sheffield, the University of Greenwich, and KLC School of Design in London.

In addition to his academic activities, he is a Senior Landscape Architect and Head of Planting Design at the international landscape architecture firm Gillespies in London. He leads the planting research group and organizes internal training and planting-focused visits. 

Recently he has become a member of the Urban Design London (UDL) Design Review Panel to provide expert, impartial design advice and guidance on projects throughout the capital.

Giacomo contributes to a variety of international conferences and publications. He has been the interpreter at the International Landscape Conference ‘Aketipos’ in Bergamo, Italy, for several years, has lectured at the Thei Institute in Hong Kong, at the Perennial Plant Conference in the USA, at Garden Masterclass in the UK, and at landscape conferences in Lithuania and Slovenia.

Giacomo is also a prolific writer on the well-known ‘The View from Federal Twist’ blog based in the USA.

Speakers
Henrik Sjöman
Swedish University of Agricultural Science (SLU) and Scientific Curator at Gothenburg Botanical Garden

Henrik Sjöman works at both the Swedish University of Agricultural Science (SLU) and is a Scientific Curator at Gothenburg Botanical Garden

His work is predominantly focused on researching site adapted plant use and design for urban environments.

How the capacity of different plants vary, in context to its urban environment, in delivering important ecosystem services - has become the prime driver in Henrik’s work.  And as such, how to extend the knowledge of diversifying the urban treescape.

The focus has been on understanding and developing knowledge of single plant use to more complex urban forest plantations with their unique demands but also their different complexity in design and plant selection, including common as well as more untraditional species.

Speakers
Jo Mckerr
Garden Designer & Director of Theatre and TV

Jo Mckerr grew up in rural Somerset in the South West of England before building a directing career in Theatre and TV. 15 years ago she retrained as a Garden Designer in London. In 2011 she and her family bought a derelict 18th century barn and 2 acre brownfield site on the edge of Bath which she has spent the last 10 years sympathetically transforming it into a progressive and beautiful wildlife garden.

Jo is committed to the use of organic minimal intervention principles borrowed and adapted from regenerative agriculture; agroforestry; planting designers; ecologists  and pre-industrial farming techniques. The garden consists of a large wildlife pool fed by recycled rainwater, a drought tolerant gravel garden, a hazel coppice and large tracts of (mostly native) wildflower meadow planting. 

She uses her garden to experiment, write and teach about managing and designing  landscapes that are low intervention and high aesthetic. Cultivating a gentler approach to gardening where plantings are managed to produce a landscape that evokes an aesthetic ‘nature’ and are also better adapted to their environment, encourage biodiversity, restore habitat and rekindle natural processes. Her garden is home to several rare and endangered species and populations are growing. She believes it is possible to grow not just resilient gardens but regenerative ones. 

Speakers
John Little
Creator of Grass Roof Company, Urban Planting & landscaping

John argues against long standing protocol within public space and horticulture.

He suggests structural complexity is overlooked in landscape design and is more important than plant choice

Since starting the grassroofcompany in 1998 he has designed and built over 300 small greenroof buildings, combining deep biodiverse green roofs with walls of breeding and hibernation space.

After 18 years caring for the greenspace on Clapton Park estate, Hackney, he produced a sustainable grounds maintenance contract that puts people first.

In 2007 John’s company was awarded Silver Gilt at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for a garden based on the work they pioneer for the green spaces within social housing. John worked closely with the residents of the Clapton Park Estate, Hackney – in fact it was the first time a council estate had entered the show. 

He questions our obsession with specifying top soil in all new projects, especially on highways and new developments. Habitat trials at his home include a garden designed with spoil from the local road widening scheme, industrial and construction waste

In 2008 he launched a range of small green roof shelters based on shipping containers and designed portable structures including bike and bin storage

 

Speakers
Dr Mike Edwards
CEO & Co-founder Sound Matters

Dr Mike Edwards (PhD) has over 25 years’ experience as a sustainability consultant and climate change advisor.

He has worked for a number of NGOs including The Elders Foundation where, as Climate Change Advisor, he supported the climate change work of Gro Harlem Brundtland, Kofi Annan and President Jimmy Carter amongst others.

Not only does he have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the current threats to both people and planet, he also has a unique ability to communicate these issues across all levels of business and academia.

In addition to his work as Chief Listening Officer (CLO) at Sound Matters, Mike is Lecturer in Arts and Ecology at Dartington Trust, an Honorary Research Associate at University College London (UCL) and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS).

Mike is also a musician and is considered one of the world’s most accomplished didgeridoo players having performed at festivals around the world and released four CDs to international acclaim.

Speakers
Poppy Okotcha
Horticulturist

Poppy Okotcha is a trained horticulturist and regenerative grower, on a mission to inspire people to engage with and connect to the natural world.

With her joyful Instagram content, Poppy teaches people how to grow and forage their own food, whilst living and eating consciously - for personal, community and planetary health.

As a young Black woman, Poppy also advocates for those who are underrepresented and marginalised in the world of horticulture and environmentalism.

Speakers
Sarah Price
Garden Designer & Writer

One of the most prominent and sought-after garden designers in Britain.

Drawing on a life-long love of wild and natural environments, her gardens have an immersive quality and are often described as ‘painterly’.

Sarah co-designed the 2012 Gardens at London’s Olympic Park and was a planting consultant for LDA Design on the post-Games legacy design.

Sarah has collected numerous awards, most notably Gold Medals at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2018 for her M&G Investments Garden and in 2012 for The Telegraph Garden.

Sarah is a contributing editor for Gardens Illustrated, writes for House and Garden and The Telegraph.

In 2016 Sarah was awarded Garden Columnist of year by the Garden Media Guild for her monthly series on landscape design.

Speakers
Sid Hill
Founder, Designer and Gardener at Sid Hill Ecological Gardens

Sid Hill - award winning designer, gardener and ecological artisan.

Trained at The Eden Project in Ethnobotany and Landscape Design.

He has been gardening since childhood, receiving his first vegetable garden at 10 years old and helping to manage his family's edible forest garden.

Sid creates landscapes and plantings that echo wild plant communities, meadows, woodlands and wetlands, whilst producing resources, restoring environments and improving people's lives.

He is passionate about working with plants to solve contemporary issues and regenerate landscapes.

Speakers
Dr Sue Stuart-Smith
psychiatrist, psychotherapist and author

Dr Sue Stuart-Smith, a prominent psychiatrist and psychotherapist, graduated in English literature at Cambridge University before going on to train as a doctor.

She worked in the National Health Service for many years, becoming the lead clinician for psychotherapy in Hertfordshire.

She teaches at The Tavistock Clinic in London and is a Consultant at DocHealth, a not-for-profit service helping doctors suffering from stress and burnout.

She is married to Tom Stuart-Smith, the celebrated garden designer, and, over thirty years together, they have created the wonderful Barn Garden in Hertfordshire. 

Her book, The Well Gardened Mind, was published in 2020 and became a Sunday Times bestseller and a Times and Sunday Times book of the year. It has since been translated into fifteen languages.

Speakers
Tom Stuart-Smith
Landscape Architect

Tom Stuart-Smith is a landscape architect whose work combines naturalism with modernity and built forms with romantic planting. He read Zoology at the University of Cambridge before completing a postgraduate degree in Landscape Design. Tom has since designed gardens, parks and landscapes throughout the world.

He has also designed eight award winning gardens for the Chelsea Flower Show, all of which were presented with gold medals and three ‘Best in Show’.

Tom regularly gives talks and lectures, and continues to write occasionally for the Guardian, Financial Times and Daily Telegraph, amongst others. An exhibition on his work, the first about a living garden designer in the UK, was held at the Garden Museum in 2011.

Tom is a Vice President of the Royal Horticultural Society, a Trustee of the Garden Museum, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and a Fellow of the Landscape Institute.

In May 2021, Thames & Hudson published a critical monograph of his work, written by Tim Richardson, which features twenty-four gardens from around the world.

Throughout his career Tom has also developed his own family garden at home in Hertfordshire, which is open to visitors each summer, by appointment.

Speakers
Ton Muller
Head Landscape Designer at the Municipality of Amsterdam

Ton Muller is head Landscape Designer at the Municipality of Amsterdam.

He is working as a Landscape designer, green supervisor for large scale building projects, a teacher and a planting expert for a wide range of complex green urban projects.

His work is rooted in a Dutch tradition of nature based green and planting design in public realm.

He is pioneering new habitat based approaches to planting in public spaces.

His work revolves around urban landscapes that are tuned to nature and is based on more than 25 years of work as a landscape designer and application in practice: he collaborates with urban planners, ecologists and architects.

Currently he is running an educational program for young landscape designers, becoming planting experts in urban context.

His work brings together themes like biodiversity, city climate, water management, health and community building - where design, implementation and maintenance are essential.

Speakers
Dr Wei Yang
Chair of Wei Yang & Partners

Dr Wei Yang is Chair of Wei Yang & Partners, an award-winning master planning firm in London.

She is a Fellow of Academy of Social Sciences and was President of the Royal Town Planning Institute for 2021.

She is a lead figure in researching, promoting, and implementing 21st Century Garden City and green & low-carbon development approach worldwide. She is a popular keynote speaker and co-author of a bestselling book, Humanistic Pure Land and Garden Cities (2021).

Wei champions a revival of spirit and a modernised planning profession to tackle the global challenges in a systematic way, and thus to achieve collective wellbeing and fulfilment for all. She is Co-Chair of Digital Task Force for Planning and co-author of A Digital Future for Planning – Spatial Planning Reimagined (Batty & Yang, 2022) which outlines blueprint for digital transformation of spatial planning and the sector’s future.

Actively promoting joined up thinking between different professionals, Wei is an Honorary Professor at University College London, a Board Member of the British Library, an Independent Trustee of the Landscape Institute, a Board Trustee of Milton Keynes City Discovery Centre, and the Global Planners Network (GPN)’s representative at UN Habitat Professional Forum.




All proceeds generated from Rewilding the Mind, will go towards furthering the work of Beth Chatto Education Trust.
Julia Boulton, Chairman Beth Chatto Education Trust & Beth Chatto's Granddaughter
Julia Boulton, Chairman Beth Chatto Education Trust & Beth Chatto's Granddaughter
Registered charity: England and Wales No.1162486
 
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