References and Garden Tours

Many of my past clients would be more than happy to provide you with a formal reference should you wish to have one before making a booking. Please contact me for further details.  

People do say the nicest things after my talks, and I have been vain enough to include a selection of their comments below. 

A superb evening and so different from any other talk we have had.
Louise Clubley, Woodham and New Haw Gardeners, November 2022

Thank you so much for entertaining and informing us so well on Friday evening. I have received lots of messages thanking me for so enjoyable an evening but that was mostly due to you!
Sandra Kemp, Chorleywood Gardeners, July 2022

A quick note to thank you for a most enlightening and illuminating talk [The Painted Garden] this evening. It went down so well and our members thoroughly enjoyed it. I feel that I certainly learnt a great deal and will never look at a picture in the same way again .
Anne Attwell, Midhurst Gardeners Club, June 2022

Money well spent, our audience really appreciative.
Malcolm Ellis, Farnham U3A, June 2022

We have received many compliments from our Garden Club members re: your talk last night and the evening was thoroughly enjoyed by all … it was the biggest attendance we have had since last October!
Christine Joerin, Hambledon Valley Gardeners, January 2022

I just wanted to thank you for a very interesting and informative talk [The Devil’s Garden] this evening.  I think you got off on the right footing by announcing the “audience participation” – they really enjoyed being part of it.  I did have some very complimentary comments about your talk and wanted to know how much it was appreciated.
Pam Tyrell, Maidenhead National Trust Members’ Assn, November 2019

Thank you very much for your informative and entertaining talk last week.  I must say that you supplied us with so much information about Capability Brown.  Your enthusiasm and knowledge is excellent.
Chair, Hampton Horticultural Society, November 2019

What an interesting talk [Dig for Victory] you gave at the East Suffolk National Trust Association yesterday evening. I had no idea that agriculture was at such an all time low following WWI. Fascinating content, well described and delivered.
Audience member, East Suffolk National Trust, October 2019

You gave us a terrific talk [The Tale of the Tulip] and I can assure you that everyone in the hall really enjoyed it and found the story fascinating.  Thank you again for coming to our meeting and I hope we can book you again in the future for another topic.
Catherine Hahn, Chairwoman, The Valley Gardeners, November 2018

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for such an excellent talk to us on Monday evening.  I don’t think we have ever rapped before during a talk, [The Devil’s Garden] and I don’t think everyone has stayed sitting up so straight during a talk either.  You had such an unusual but novel approach to your subject and delivered your message engagingly and wittily.  Those who didn’t attend the meeting, thinking we were just going to get a list of poisonous plants, missed a gem of a talk
Lectures Organiser, Ripley and District Horticultural Society, November 2018

You were such a hit with our audience that another group who meet at our hall heard about you and would like you to give a talk for them.
Daphne Hicks, Hughenden Allotment and Garden Society, October 2018

As you could probably tell by our members reaction, we all thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Many of us felt we had a good basic understanding of the topic [Dig for Victory] but from the beginning you expanded our knowledge considerably with facts, illustrations and anecdotes which combined with your entertaining delivery made it a first -class talk.
Chris Taylor, Langford Gardening Club, February 2018

Thank you for coming to us and please accept the thanks of our Chairman and members of our association for delivering a splendid talk.
Lynda Power, South Bedfordshire National Trust Members Assn, February 2018

Thank you again for a splendid talk [Portrait of a Victorian Garden], fluent, informative and entertaining – and with enticing pictures!
Michael Perkins, Newbury and District National Trust Members’ Assn, February 2018

Thank you so much for your excellent talk [Say it with Poison] to the National Trust group this afternoon. It was a huge success with our Members and you had the audience literally eating out of your hand.. Your talk was amusing, informative, laced with many references to the Romans, Shakespeare, Agatha Christie and others….. It actually made me think that my love of my garden and gardening was going to kill me!!
Jenny Vye, East Kent National Trust Members’ Assn, October 2017

It’s a real pleasure to be able to send all our thanks for a fascinating talk [Dig for Victory] last Thursday. Everyone really enjoyed it and it made a very special evening.
Diana Cashin, Culverley Road Residents’ Assn, January 2017

I am writing this letter to you on behalf of the Probus Club of Pinner to thank you for your most interesting talk [The Painted Garden] to the Club on Monday. Several members said to me afterwards how much they enjoyed it and my congratulations and thanks go to you for such a comprehensive talk.
David McDougal, Chair, Pinner Probus Club, October 2016 

Thank you so much for giving the Battle & District U3A such an entertaining and informative talk, it was absolutely fascinating.and enjoyed by all. We invited you to give us a talk as you were ‘highly recommended’, your talk certainly didn’t disappoint, thank you.
Terri Coombs, Chair, Battle and District U3A, June 2017

A very big thank you for last week’s talk. I’ve had so many compliments about it, both the talk itself and then the wide range of questions that you answered. I think the comment ‘he was so interesting and knowledgeable’ sums it up.
Sue Brimlow, Chair, Tunbridge Wells U3A, March 2017

Thank you for your brilliant talk [Portrait of a Victorian Garden] recently at our gardening group.  It was really enjoyable and everyone I spoke to was impressed by your knowledge and Powerpoint wizardry!
Sue Goodger, Bromley U3A, February 2017

Your talk [The Capable Mr. Brown] was very well received – thanks for giving us such a fascinating evening.
Alan Chacon, Plaxtol Village Mens’ Group, February 2017

I know that your lecture was eagerly anticipated by our members and, as you know, the lecture theatre was full virtually to capacity.  I have had a good many appreciative comments and it is clear that your talk was greatly enjoyed.
Dr. Philip  Putwain, Ness Botanic Gardens, February 2017

The talk you gave to Yateley and District Gardening Society [Dig for Victory] was fantastic.  I have so much positive feedback about it and when the Committee met last night they were still talking about it!
Diane Buckle, Speaker Secretary, Yately and District Gardening Society, July 2016

Just wanted to thank you for a very enjoyable and very very interesting evening. I have already had a couple of members tell me that they found you so articulate and easy to follow and enjoyed the talk immensely.
Sue Lowing, Talks Organiser, Ramsden Heath Horticultural Society, June 2016

I attended your talk last week at Hurst Green Gardening Club [The Capable Mr Brown]. It was (or rather you were) brilliant, witty, innovative and the talk was packed with historic facts and perspectives and delivered so cleverly that it enabled me to see Mr Brown and his work through ‘fresh eyes’. Thank you and I look forward to hearing you again.
Email received from audience member, Hurst Green Gardening Club, May 2016

Just to thank you again for a great talk today. It was a perfect and professional presentation in terms of content, images, delivery and personality. And you made people laugh too! We had lots of excellent feedback afterwards. I would be very happy to recommend you to any of the other SE regional groups in our network.
Sue Curant, University of the Third Age Lymington, April 2016

On behalf of the Rosewood Ladies Club I would like to thank you for a brilliant talk [Say it with Poison] last night. Its format was totally unexpected but most informative and enjoyed by all present.
Helen Fisher, Organiser, Rosewood Ladies Club, March 2016

I cannot emphasize how much I enjoyed your talk [The Tale of the Tulip] to Wye Historical Society last week. It was an inspiration, and hugely instructive, but also FUN! I cannot believe how much you packed in, and your enthusiasm was infectious. I just wanted to say that by sheer coincidence a friend had lent me a book – ‘The Miniaturist’ set in 17th Century Amsterdam, and because of your talk I was very differently equipped to enjoy and benefit from the book.
Audience member, Wye Historical Society, November 2015

I think you know, from the comments you received after the meeting, how well received “The Tale of the Tulip was.
Kathleen Ryder, Greenwich U3A Greenfingers Group, October 2015

Thank you so much for coming to speak to our club again and for giving us such an entertaining morning.  I’m sure you could tell how much we all enjoyed your talk; the way you combined erudition with humour was just brilliant!
Elizabeth Adams, Sidcup Contact Group, July 2015

My friend and I attended your talk [Say it with Poison] at Ruxley [Manor] Garden Centre today. We thoroughly enjoyed the humour throughout the talk, very original, extremely entertaining and very informative. We didn’t realise you take your life in your hands every time you go out into the garden!!!
Audience member, Ruxley Manor Garden Centre talk, July 2015

Thanks again for the talk [The Devil’s Garden].We thoroughly enjoyed the humour throughout the talk, very original, extremely entertaining and very informative. Our members are still laughing and talking about it. One chap was due at another meeting but  once you started talking he became so engrossed he forgot to leave for his appointment!
Helen Farndon, Amersham U3A, April 2014

Thank you for the excellent session given at our recent Over 60s morning at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery. There was great interest in your talk [The Painted Garden] and everyone said how much they had enjoyed the morning. We appreciate your assistance in making our continuous programme of Over 60s mornings a success and look forward to working with you again in the future.
Fiona Edwards, Over-60’s Talks Co-ordinator, Northampton Museum, March 2015

Your talk “A Nice Cup of Tea” presentation to our local history group’s October meeting was brilliant!  Not only informative but entertaining also. I look forward to [your] return visit in the not too distant future.
Pauline Clement, Beckenham U3A, October 2014

Thank you so much for last nights talk [Say it with Poison], we all enjoyed it so much. I asked everyone when I returned from dropping you at the station if they liked the talk and they loved it. Some even said it was the best talk we had ever had!
Karen Gardner, Wickford Horticultural Society, June 2014

Yesterday’s talk was both interesting and fascinating and, for those of us who remember the war, Dig for Victory bought back memories of air raid shelters, rabbits and growing vegetables. Thank you very much, and you will have realised from the applause just how much our members enjoyed the talk.
Estelle Josset, Talks Secretary, U3A Bromley Gardening Group, September 2013

Very many thanks for your excellent talk yesterday [A Nice Cup of Tea] – a real ‘tour de force’.
David Crutchley, Lectures Organiser, Fetcham U3A, February 2013

Your talk was excellent and several members of the audience said so after you had gone. I’m sure we will ask you to come back and I will pass on your details to other group talks organisers who are always on the lookout for recommended speakers.
Sue Ellman, Hampstead National Trust Members Group, February 2013

Your tenacity in getting to us [Waterloo station completely closed down because of bad weather!] and your ability to deliver such a good lecture despite the traumas of getting to us is the true sign of a very professional person.
Mollie Sullivan, National Trust Epsom and Ewell Centre

So many of our members said how they enjoyed your talk, and we would definitely like to book you again please.  It seems awful to be planning for next year when this one has only just started but then it is a necessity when we find such a good speaker as yourself!
Quita King, NHS Retirement Fellowship SW Surrey Branch, February 2012

I am writing to thank you once again for such an inspirational talk [The Art of the Folly] last night. I have rarely seen the group so delighted and enthusiastic after a meeting. Quite a tour de force.
Margaret Mann, Mapesbury Residents Assn Gardening Club, November 2011

How could we possibly not thank you for such an entertaining talk?!
Mary Downes, Programme Secretary, Cookham and Dean HS, October 2011

I must take this opportunity to thank you once again for the very informative and enjoyable talk [The Devil’s Garden] on a subject that is not touched upon by gardening clubs. It was enjoyed by all.
Peter Whitehall New Barnet Horticultural Society, August 2011

Thank you so very much for the really excellent talk [Dig for Victory] on Tuesday. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it – lots of nostalgia, lots of memories. We could have listened to you longer!
Carole Fryer, Stone History Group,October 2010

Your excellent presentation was enjoyed by all and many members’ comments were extremely favourable…. the depth of your knowledge about [Capability Brown] brought new insight of Mr. Brown to us.
Alison Weir, Ballinger Horticultural Society, March 2010

Thank you for giving us such a magnificent talk.
Jackie Evans, Chairman, Sidcup Horticultural Society, October 2009

I thought I’d send you a quick e-mail to tell you that you were the talking point in our conversations at our National Trust Christmas lunch today.  Loads of members came up to tell me how good you were and how clever I was to find you!! So I think another booking is definitely on the cards.
Jackie Trifiletti, Epsom and Ewell National Trust Members’ Association, December 2009

I have been showered with thanks and appreciation, which I am happy to pass on to you. Our Members really enjoyed the talk and found it all deeply interesting.

We would like to thank you for your very good talk to us last week. It was refreshingly different from the rest of this year’s programme.
Caroline Briden, Yarnton Gardening Club, November 2009

Russell has been here twice to speak to Eden Friends and on both occasions his talks attracted a large audience. I can unhesitatingly recommend Russell as a fine speaker, very knowledgeable with an engaging style and a wonderfully diverse range of subjects. The Friends thoroughly enjoyed both evenings and have requested that he return here later in the year.
Carolyn Trevivian, Friends Administrator, Eden Project

A big thank you on behalf of our Society for the interesting and most informative talk you gave us last Thursday [Dig for Victory]. It certainly brought back memories for a great many of our members.
Eileen Williams, Programme Secretary, Brenchley & Matfield Local History Society

You showed us a side of the Capability Brown story which most of us did not know.
Alison Beardwood, Secretary, Walsall Association of National Trust Members

I am writing on behalf of our members to thank you for such an interesting and enjoyable talk [A Nice Cup of Tea] last Thursday. Having spoken to a number of our members, it seems that it came across extremely well and they all thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
Tony James, Hertford Association of National Trust Members

An excellent lecture, informative and interesting.We very much appreciate the time and trouble you take in preparing your lectures, and that on The Painted Garden was most interesting and enjoyable. People were remarking too on the quality of your slides, the clear way you were speaking and the care you took when reading literary extracts.
Betty Wheel, Secretary, John Lewis Partnership Garden Society

I loved the way you started by talking about gardening for posterity. I think that that is such a wonderful concept and explains to me so much of what good gardeners do. We remember the best gardeners by their gardens and the way they changed our thinking about gardening. You certainly made me want to visit some of Capability Brown’s landscapes
Nancy Korman, De Beauvoir Gardeners

Your audience for “The Literary Garden” was the biggest we’ve had this year and the Over 60s loved the participation element, and the ‘Dig for Victory’ talk was informative and sparked the interest of many members of the audience.
Sarah Orton, Education Officer, Northampton Museum

Thank you so very much for coming and giving us such a brilliant lecture [Dig for Victory] last Saturday.  I know that everybody was thrilled with it and when I got back to the hall there was a buzz of conversation about experiences and memories.
Sue Morrell, Lectures Organiser, Wimbledon National Trust Association

A most excellent and well constructed lecture.
An excellent speaker – fascinating subject.
This particular lecture was outstanding and very enjoyable – a very approachable man.
Feedback received after “The Painted Garden” study day at Petworth House, November 2006

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