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19 Feb 2017

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Howard Wills

 Fernwood Nursery, Peters Marland, Torrington, Devon, EX38 8QG

Telephone: 01805 601446

Website: www.fernwood-nursery.co.uk

Email: hw@fernwood-nursery.co.uk

I am a life-long gardening enthusiast (plantaholic!) with many years of experience of growing a wide range of plants. I also run a small nursery specializing in Sempervivums and related plants.

I hold Plant Heritage (NCCPG) National Collections® of the genera Sempervivum, and Jovibarba (Alpine Houseleeks)

We have exhibited at all the major Royal Horticultural Society Flower Shows and our exhibits have been awarded RHS Gold Medals at Chelsea Flower Show, Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, Gardener’s World Live, Tatton Park Flower Show, Malvern Flower Show and RHS Wisley Flower Show.

The talks are professionally presented and illustrated with digital slides. I bring all my own projection equipment and can offer plants for sale if required.

The talks cover a variety of plant related topics as described below.

Fees and expenses

I charge £75.00 for the talk plus 35P/mile travelling expenses. (2017)

Please contact me by email, telephone or post for further details.

A copy of my current talks leaflet can be downloaded as a PDF file, (670KB) here: Plant Talk Topics.


Talk topics


Sempervivums (Houseleeks) and related plants

I hold the Plant Heritage National Collections® of Sempervivum, and Jovibarba. Based on a lifetime of growing experience I give an illustrated account of these beautiful, hardy, alpine succulents and their natural history, cultivation and garden uses.

Phormiums (New Zealand Flax)

In this talk I give an introduction to the species and cultivars of New Zealand Flax, and their cultivation and uses in the garden. I also demonstrate how Phormium leaves can be used for plaiting and weaving crafts.Until 2011 we held a Plant Heritage National Collection® of Phormium.

A plant lover’s tour of New Zealand

This is an illustrated account of our 2007 visit to New Zealand when we toured both islands with the aim of seeing as much as possible of the scenic wonders and natural vegetation of the country. We also visited a number of famous botanic gardens of New Zealand.

The Beauty of Leaves

It is easy to admire plants when they are in flower but we can overlook the importance of their foliage during the rest of the year. In this talk I give many examples of the amazing range of shape, size and colour of leaves and show how they can be used to great effect in the garden.

Plants, gardens and landscapes of Madeira

Madeira is known as ‘the floating garden in the Atlantic’ and is a paradise for plant lovers. As well as amazing scenery and its own unique and fascinating native flora, its gentle climate also supports a wide range of the world’s most beautiful cultivated plants.

Numbers, patterns and plants

This talk is a non-technical guide to looking at plants from a numeric point of view. Using a wide range of photographic examples I talk about the beauty of plants, and provide a ‘gentle’ introduction to the mathematics of plant structure, growth and development.

The wonderful world of Flowers

The colours, shapes, patterns and scents of flowers are a wonder to us all, but a basic understanding of their biological functions can add greatly to their interest. In this talk I show a wide range of different flowers to illustrate their structure, function, and evolutionary relationships.

Nature reserves of Costa Rica

The stunningly beautiful country of Costa Rica with its Pacific and Caribbean coasts, volcanos, cloud forests, jungles and gardens is a paradise for nature lovers. For its size it has probably the greatest biodiversity of any country and almost a third of the land is environmentally protected.

Plants of the Italian Dolomites

The Dolomites of Northern Italy are considered by some to be the world’s most beautiful mountains. They were declared a World Heritage Site in 2009. The range and variety of the plant life is amazing and the presence of ski lifts means that there is easy access to high levels in the spring and summer.

Exhibiting at RHS Flower Shows

We have been awarded RHS Gold Medals  for our exhibits at all the major RHS Flower Shows including Chelsea, Hampton Court, Gardener’s World Live and Tatton Park. In this talk I give a ‘behind the scenes’ account of show preparation, transport, display setup, judging, selling and breakdown.

Gardening for wildlife

One of our aims in developing our garden at Fernwood has been to encourage, support, and study our native wildlife and wild flowers. In this talk I describe our methods and results and give a number of suggestions for those wishing to enjoy their garden in an environmentally sensitive way.

Gardening with a digital camera

In recent years the introduction of relatively inexpensive digital cameras has revolutionised amateur photography in the garden. In this talk I show the results of digital photography in our own garden, and describe various other ways in which we have found a digital camera to be a useful ‘garden tool’.
Digital Camera

Plants, gardens and volcanic landscapes of Tenerife

Tenerife is the largest, and the most spectacular of the Canary Islands. Its warm climate supports a wide range of endemic and introduced plants and the volcanic scenery is amazing. In this talk I describe our 2008 visit to Tenerife to explore the landscape and the plants.

Great British Gardens

Great Britain has a large number of wonderful gardens showing an incredible range of plants and a fascinating diversity of gardening styles. In this talk I describe a selection of gardens that are open to the public and which we have particularly enjoyed visiting.

A trek in the Himalayas

In October 2009 my wife and I went on an unforgettable trip to Nepal with the aim of trekking to Annapurna Base Camp in the Himalayas. We describe our experiences of this journey: the amazing country, it’s charming people and the wonderful natural scenery and wildlife.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone was established in 1872 – the first National Park in the world. It contains spectacular volcanic scenery and numerous geothermal features. More than 300 geysers – approximately half the world’s total - are found within the park. It is home to bears, bison, wolves, hundreds of birds and over 1100 native plant species.

California National Parks

The state of California is home to 13 amazing National Parks. The scenery is magnificent and the parks are home to some amazing animals and plants including the oldest, tallest and largest trees in the world. In this talk I describe some of the highlights of visits to Redwood, Sequoia, Yosemite, Inyo and Lassen Volcanic National Parks.


  Download the current talks leaflet here Plant Talk Topics.pdf


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