Illustrated Talks from Alan Down


A range of inspiring illustrated talks which have proven very popular in the West Country but Alan will consider travelling further or talking on other gardening subjects.

All year round colour in the garden ~ how do you keep the show going all year round? It’s easy to have a colourful garden in spring and summer but what about other seasons? Alan will show how it can be done!

Winter colour ~ our winter gardens can be dull but they needn’t be! Alan will show how they can be brightened with flower, foliage, bark colour and scent.

Gardening in containers ~ some properties have only room for container growing but all have room for some plants in pots, baskets and other containers. Alan will inspire gardeners by example of less common planting as well as the mainstream stuff. This might include edibles and some rather unusual containers!

Sensational Autumn Colour ~ mostly from woody trees and shrubs plus a few surprising herbaceous perennials.

Gardening to Encourage Wildlife ~ with British wildlife now very much depleted our gardens are an ever more important refuge and gardeners can do a lot to help wildlife to bounce back.

Plants grown for fragrance throughout the year ~ we tend to choose plants for their flowers or for the colour of their leaves but there are many plants that should be in our gardens for their scent alone! Many winter flowering plants have strong scent but this talk highlights scented plants to grow all year round.

Great foliage plants ~ many plants have dramatic leaves that create the suggestion of tropical gardens! Some have beautiful leaves that make good contrasts with flowers or with other good foliage plants. Alan will highlight those that can be grown outside with confidence in our part of the world. This talk can be delivered at a basic level or at a more advanced and level.

Encourage wildlife to your garden ~ an increasingly popular and important subject as our towns and roads swallow up more of the countryside and our agriculture becomes more intensive in an effort to feed the Nation. Alan will give you practical suggestions that can turn your patch into a wildlife oasis and bring your garden alive!

Success with Hanging Baskets ~ a look at all the key factors that influence success including plants, compost, containers, water, feed, etc.

Butterflies and Gardening ~ plants to encourage butterflies and techniques to control problematic ones!

Great Value Plants & a few Plantsman’s Choices ~ with an emphasis on good garden performers!

Heavenly Hellebores ~ Growing, propagation, variety range and pest and disease control.

Magnificent Magnolias ~ from small bushes to large trees and how to grow them. Recommended varieties for gardens large and small.

Plants with attractive bark and stem colour ~ discover the best varieties of plants that will provide distinctive bark and unusual stem interest. It’s not just about leaves and flowers!

Climbing and Wall Shrubs ~ create a fabulous living drape using plants for all seasons and positions. Learn how to grow these useful plants to provide an attractive display in unusual positions.

Plants to encourage butterflies and bees ~ masses of plants can be grown in the garden that are not only beautiful to us, but are useful to bees and butterflies. Find out about the fabulous varieties of flowers that provide nectar for our buzzing friends.

Tips on Weed Control – we all have them but how best to control them? Alan looks at physical, chemical, mulching and controlling the difficult ones.

Plants for Shade – we all have shady spots and there’s masses of plants that love shade!

Where the Desert Blooms; Namaqualand – a colour filled account of flower filled Namaqualand, South Africa

Wildlife from a very small cruise boat; the Alaskan Inside Passage – Up close with whales, grizzlies, orca and salmon from a 12 berth cruise boat.

Predators of the World – big cats, reptiles, otters, dragonflies, spiders, etc.

Deer and Gardens – 6 UK deer species, their impact on garden choices and protection methods.

New! Some Gardens of the Pacific Northwest of North America – This area of North America has many great private and public gardens. The climate is similar to ours and there are many great plants people, gardeners, garden designers and of course beautiful inspirational gardens. I’ve been a regular visitor to this area for the last 10 years and fortunate to visit gardens rarely open to the public.

New! Great new and recently introduced plants that you should be growing! – There are new varieties becoming available every year and Alan picks those that he thinks you really should be growing in your garden now.


What people say about Alan’s talks –

Mrs H. “It was a lovely evening; we really enjoyed it. As before the talk was excellent, engaging, informative and humorous and the slides were super too.”

Mrs R. “we found it [talk on AYR Colour in the Garden] very interesting and informative and the images were especially clear”

Mrs B. “thank you so much for such an inspirational talk this week. I think you surprised most people with the facts about magnolias as well as inspired us all to think of planting one ( or another one!)”

Fees & Travel

If you’re interested in booking a talk by Alan do please contact him at

If you’re interested in booking a talk by Felicity do please contact her on