Thursday 14 December 2023

Last Garden Club Talk Of The Year

Last night I gave my last garden club talk of the year. 

It was in Bourton On The Water For Bourton Vale Horticultural Society and it was such fun! 

I knew it was going to be a good one straight away as everyone was laughing and joking before I'd started. I think it was a great fun evening, everyone laughed at the right points and hopefully came away with something they'd like to try (this talk was my preserving one so there's lots of information in there). I also sold quite a few items, which will always please me! My new bit - standing on one of my scoops to show how tough they are - goes down really well! 

Looking back on the year for my speaking engagements it's been brilliant. I have done 24 talks this year (plus one cancelation for snow and one where they double booked me but advertised the other guy) - 

25th Jan - Malvern Garden Club - Unusual Fruit and Veg I

8th Feb- Blakeney Garden Club - Preserving the Harvest

16th Feb - Southam (Gloucestershire) - Unusual Fruit And Veg I

8th March - St. Michaels - Tenbury Gardeners - Unusual Fruit And Veg I - Cancelled due to snow

13th March - Bishops Cleeve Gardening Group - Unusual Fruit And Veg I

6th April - Dymock diggers - Preserving The Harvest

10th April - Llanthony - Preserving The Harvest

15th April - Worcester black pear gardening club - Unusual Fruit And Veg I

19th April - Gothering - A Talk About Our Homestead & How We Got Here

20th April - Kington - Preserving The Harvest

1st May - Colwall - Unusual Fruit And Veg I

17th May - Winchcomb - Unusual Fruit And Veg I

31st May - Little Thorne - Unusual Fruit And Veg II

8th June - Alderton - Preserving The Harvest

10th June - Hellen's Garden Festival - Q&A Session

27th June - Hereford Fuchsia Society - Unusual Fruit And Veg I

18th July - Leominster - University of the Third Age - A Talk About Our Homestead & How We Got Here

12th September - Slimbridge - Preserving The Harvest

15th September - Lower wye Valley - Unusual Fruit and Veg

21st September - Newent - Preserving The Harvest

27th September - Severnside cottage gardening society - Unusual Fruit And Veg II

10th October - May Hill garden club - Preserving the Harvest

8th November - Wellington Heath Garden club - Preserving The Harvest

13th Novemeber - Dodford Gardening Club (B61 9DD) - Unusual Fruit and Veg I

14th November - Pudleston Gardening club - A Talk About Our Homestead & How We Got Here

13th December - Bourton Vale Horticultural Society - Preserving The Harvest

Some of these were the first time I'd spoken at a club and some were the second or third visit. 

As I'm quite a friendly chap who spends a lot of time on my own in my workshop I really enjoy going out to these clubs to meet people. It certainly strokes my ego when it goes well and I hope it makes an enjoyable evening for any that make the effort to come see me. 

I put a lot of effort into my talks and I'm always trying to improve them, altering bits or changing out slides. When I did a talk with Tasmin Westhorpe earlier in the year we had very much the same ethos and she even said a phrase I'd been using word for word - "I treat these talks like stand-up". Now that's not to say we're trying to get a laugh all the time, more that we look at how the talks went and constantly try to improve them, tweaking them each time, learning what works and what doesn't. 

I'm very aware that although I think all my facts are super interesting not everyone there will be into what I'm into. My first job is then is to entertain, to be positive, enthusiast, bring my "A" game, then to try to educate or describe whatever subject it is I'm teaching or talking about. I bounce about, I tell funny stories and I talk at 100 miles per hour, but that's 100% who I am anyway (hopefully this comes across in my YouTube videos as well). 

I did a talk in Wales earlier in the year and I was speaking to the chairperson (who I have met a few times) and she said that she'd rather someone was 80% good at speaking and 20% the authority on their subject, as that's really what people at these clubs want, to be entertained. Now hopefully I can be better than that on my subject...

I have a few highlights from my talks this year, Hellen's Garden Festival is always amazing and I feel semi well know having spoke there for years now, getting to hang out and have a special lunch with people like Terry Walton and Tasmin Westhorpe. 

I also gave a talk at a village somewhere (I can't remember which one now) where they funded the talks on a pay if you come basis and it was more like a social club. I was talking to an old lady afterwards and she told me she hadn't been out of her house for two weeks as has mobility issues, but she was really glad she made the effort! Gave me a warm feeling! 

Alderton Garden Club was great fun because the chairman was incredible and did his own gardening advice each month, but told with real wit and knowledge. He really could be on TV and would knock the spots off Monty "boring as plain porridge made with water instead of milk" Don. 

I also gave a talk (again can't remember where sorry) where they had to keep getting more and more seats out as they had so many guests turn up, I'd given a different talk a few weeks before at a village not too far away and people had decided to come to this one as well, plus some that had seen it on the internet. I was told afterwards that it was the largest number of non members they'd had turn up to a talk. It was the talk I give about our life and how we got where we are and that night I was on fire for some reason (some nights you just are it seems) and every joke and anecdote landed and I ended up with so many questions at the end. 

I'm looking forward to my "speaking season" next year (and 2025). So far I have 19 talks booked in front of me, hopefully I'll get a few more as the year goes on as well. It creates some real memories for me and connects me to people who are interested in the same type of things. 

Maybe I'll see you at one next year?


  1. Sadly these days I find Monty really boring..............

  2. Great job, Kev!

    I have had to do a fair amount of speaking for my career field in the past as well. Like you, I find that the right mix of humor and information makes for a much more well received and enjoyable talk (for both the audience and me). And getting feedback from people how much they enjoyed it makes it all the better.

    Standing on your scoop sounds like a great testimonial and a unique aspect of your talk.


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