An Evening with Chris Beardshaw

On Wednesday, the Burton and Rossett Horticultural Society was proud to host ‘An Evening with Chris Beardshaw’ at Darland High School, Rossett.

In front of a sold-out audience of 250 gardeners and gardening enthusiasts—perhaps the largest single event the Society has ever held in its 140-year history—Chris shared stories from a life devoted to horticulture.

Those of you who watch the BBC’s Chelsea Flower Show coverage or listen to Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time will be familiar with Chris’ thoroughly engaging style of presentation; the evening flowed effortlessly through entertaining anecdotes and horticultural essentials.

Chris’ talk was split into two very distinct subjects: ‘The Furzey Garden’ and ‘100 Plants that Almost Changed the World’.

The Furzey Garden story is one that simply could not be made up. From a prosecutorial vicar with almost divine powers of persuasion, to a thatched building lost somewhere in Wimbledon, to a Chelsea gold medal winning garden, the anecdotes just kept on coming.

The rich history of this amazing garden, the aim of the Furzey Gardens Charitable Trust, and the vision and drive of the aforementioned Reverend Tim Selwood are all worthy of your attention. What our audience could not fail to take away from this part of the evening was that anything is possible if the commitment and desire is present amongst those who aim high.

The second part of the evening saw Chris take a more irreverent look at horticulture and the plants that ‘almost changed the world’. If you want to see the full list of 100, you should certainly buy Chris’ book, then you too can know what links nettles with suppleness, pineapples with cannibalism, lettuce with the Catholic Church, and carrots with a battleship…

As if all this were not enough, Chris was also kind enough to take questions from our audience, following the cheese and wine. From top-tips on moving spring-flowering plants in spring, to Chris’… revealing first meeting with Alan Titchmarsh, this session was as entertaining as it was informative.

This was the Society’s first major event, and we are very pleased that the evening was such a great success. The Committee would like to thank Chris for being so generous with his time. We would also like to thank Bellis Brothers for sponsoring the event, and providing every member of the audience with a free gift. And finally, we would like to thank our audience—members of the Society and guests—for attending in such high numbers.

As our Chairman, John Whiteley, put it: “we have set the standard; now we must maintain it”. We aim to do just that. 

Please do comment below if you attended this event; we would love to hear your feedback. Our 2015/16 programme is now finalised, and you can keep up-to-date with the Society’s events by subscribing to our newsletter. If you would like to become a Member of the Society for just £6 per year, please do get in touch.