Charleston’s Festival of the Garden line-up confirmed

Zadie Smith (pic by Ben Bailey-Smith)Zadie Smith (pic by Ben Bailey-Smith)
Zadie Smith (pic by Ben Bailey-Smith)
Charleston’s annual summer Festival of the Garden is returning to Charleston in Firle from July 18-21.

Guests include Chris Packham, Zadie Smith, Ingrid Pollard, Arit Anderson, Sam Lee, Luciano Giubbilei, Fergus Garrett, Cleve West, Erland Cooper, Stone Club, Andy Sturgeon, Jinny Blom, Richard Mabey, Claire Takacs, Alice Vincent and Alexandra Harris.

Spokeswoman Felicity Avenell said: “With more than 50 speakers, the festival brings together today's most ground-breaking garden designers, horticulturalists, artists, activists, ecologists, writers and musicians to disentangle our complex relationship with the land. From creating gardens for climate change to pledging service to the countryside, from planting trees to foraging in harsh environments,

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the festival places sustainable practices and deep respect for the natural world firmly at its core.

“The event takes place in the stunning grounds and gardens at Charleston, the former modernist home and studio of Bloomsbury artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. True to the ethos of the Bloomsbury group, who came together at Charleston to imagine society differently, the festival grounds will become a gathering place for gardeners, activists, natural history lovers and environmentalists to explore society through the lens of the natural world.

“The full programme of ticketed events takes place on the colourful, outdoor main stage The Yard each day, and visitors can also enjoy a free fringe programme of live gardening demos, Q&As and more in The Orchard, curated by Charleston’s own head gardener Harry Hoblyn.”

Programme highlights include: 

“Naturalist, broadcaster, writer, photographer and conservationist Chris Packham, has spent a lifetime in the natural world, sharing the wonder of everything from slugs to songbirds. Together with writer and author of H is for Hawk Helen MacDonald, they will explore the tangled connections between humans and the environment and how to turn grief and anger into positive change.

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“Luciano Giubbilei, the visionary garden designer whose projects have taken him from the rolling hills of Tuscany to the Blue Ridge mountains in Virginia, will be in conversation with the influential head gardener at Great Dixter Fergus Garrett about collaboration and innovative gardening practices.

“Zadie Smith, whose novels include White Teeth, Orange Prize-winning On Beauty and Swing Time, explores what Virginia Woolf’s diaries can tell us about her often intense relationship with nature, which she found both healing and frightening at times.

“Sam Lee and his band take audience members on a sublime journey into nature and song. The Mercury Prize nominated folk singer, writer, conservationist, song collector and activist plays a unique role in the British music scene. Songdreaming represents the latest development in Lee’s highly inventive and original sound.

“Artist and photographer Ingrid Pollard will reflect on her mammoth career. Ingrid is a giant of the contemporary art world, making her mark as part of the British Black Arts Movement of the 1980s. Her work reflects a lifelong engagement with the British landscape in all its complexity.

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“Award-winning garden designer, landscape architect, plantsman and author Andy Sturgeon is joined by writer Alice Vincent to reflect on his extraordinary career, in particular delving into his recently unveiled Battersea Power Garden roof terraces. They received huge critical acclaim.”