Toby Buckland’s Garden Festival at Bowood, 5th and 6th June 2015

Bowood garden fest
Lord and Lady Lansdowne with Toby Buckland

Toby Buckland, horticulturist, writer, and TV presenter confirms headline acts at his brand new Festival – a “Celebration of Summer Gardening” at Wiltshire’s Bowood House and Gardens this June.

Some of Britain’s most distinguished and celebrated garden experts are descending on Bowood House this June with a range of enthralling talks and ideas to inspire all garden enthusiasts. From nine to ninety, novice or seasoned veteran, gardeners will receive superb advice from some of the very best experts and growers in the country.


Toby Buckland will be joined by:
• Roy Lancaster CBE – distinguished plant explorer and tree expert.
• James Wong – ethno-botanist, incredible edible enthusiast.
• Anne Swithinbank – stalwart of BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners Question Time and all
round font of gardening knowledge.
• Jim Buttress – BBC2 Big Allotment Challenge and RHS Judge,
• Jonathan Moseley, Jim’s co-judge and creative floral designer.

“I am delighted that so many of my gardening friends will join us at Bowood. The festival is a combination of all the things I love – plants, gardening, good company, food, drink and music – in the most beautiful English countryside,” says Toby. “For me it’s the perfect way to celebrate gardening and the arrival of summer!”

Toby’s vision for the festival is to bring together specialist nurseries, enabling keen gardeners to access unusual plants and expertise direct from the growers, all in a garden party atmosphere and in a beautiful location. Small independent nurseries are the knowledge bank of horticulture in Britain and their know-how feeds into all the gardening magazines, books and television gardening programmes.

“Many of the plants brought to our festivals have been discovered and raised by the growers themselves. They know their plants inside out so visitors receive the best advice about where and how to get brilliant results in their own gardens.”

Bowood House, home of the 9th Marquis and Marchioness of Lansdowne, is superbly set in 2000 acres of Grade I Listed Capability Brown designed parkland which won the Historic Houses Association/Christie’s ‘Garden of the Year 2014’ award.

Festival Co-Director, Alan Lewis of Country Gardener magazine, says “We could not have found a more quintessentially romantic English landscape in which to hold this celebratory event. Bowood, rightly famous for its rare trees and rhododendrons, rolling landscape and
beauty of its lake, makes a perfect garden festival location.”

Following the sell out success of Toby’s first garden festival at Powderham Castle last May, exhibitor and renowned clematis expert, Marcel Floyd of Floyd’s Climbers, planted the idea of taking the concept to Wiltshire and staging it at Bowood House and Gardens.

Marcel’s family has been connected to Bowood since 1735 when his relatives worked on the building of the house. Subsequent generations have continued the tradition and mark their longevity with Harrison’s Copse on the estate named after his grandfather, who was Head Forester in the 40’s.

Marcel said, “Having this Garden Festival at Bowood is a fantastic idea and I am sure all gardeners throughout this area and further afield can’t wait to be there!”

Plants and growers are at the heart of this festival but there is so much more for everyone to enjoy. Take tea and tiffin in the Indian Moghul tent, learn the art of croquet on the “village green”, take part in family gardening activities, visit food and craft stalls. Then spread your picnic blanket, listen to live music, relax and reconnect with nature and the countryside.”

Toby said “The response to the new festival has been amazing! There’s clearly a huge appetite for a summer celebration of gardening and I’m delighted to be bringing my festival to Wiltshire.”

What’s going on:

The Main Marquee – Gardening Great Roy Lancaster, Toby Buckland, ethno-botanist James Wong, Jim Buttress and Jonathan Moseley from BBC Big Allotment Challenge, Anne Swithbank – all well known in the gardening world.

The Inspirations Marquee – Hosts talks by people inspired by gardening, flowers and plants and includes artists, writers and even Graham Harvey, agricultural story editor of The Archers.

Food is local and varied – Big Red Bus pub, Dusty Ape Poda cafe, Humble Egg Shepherds Hut selling eggy things, Silver Server Airstream selling high end burgers, Eat the Smoke BBQ, Truly Crumptious vintage caravan, the Indian pop-up cafe, great Caribbean food, WI cakes and the Buckland’s Bar Dusty Ape PODA canopied cafe, selling ‘Buckland’s Fizz’ – the Festival’s signature drink – and premium white or red wine. Who knows, you may even be lucky enough to be served by Toby himself! There is also dedicated Craft Marquee full of interesting arts and crafts.

Children’s Entertainment – In the Young Gardeners Marquee – Horticulturalist, Louise Jackson will be discussing soil, gardening and how to start your own mini garden whilst helping children paint flower pots before planting them up, choose from pizza topping plants, strawberries or bee & butterfly flowers.

For older children, Lackham College in Chippenham, which runs professional gardening courses, are providing seed sowing workshops, plus demonstrations on how to produce natural plant supports from willow and “Gardeners Question Time activities”; ‘The Wiltshire Bee Centre’ will have an interactive educational display and kids can make their own natural candles whilst learning about the crucial role of these insects and ‘The Great Big Tree Climbing Company’ are offering visitors the exhilarating chance to climb some magnificent trees (safely harnessed) and experience life at the festival from the different perspective of the tree-tops. Not to mention carousel, bouncy castle, crochet matches, face painting, Dan the Hat, didgeridoo workshops and quality fruit and vegetable entertainment from Madame Zucchini, encouraging young and old to enjoy stories, vegetable cabaret, and make-your-own vegetable creatures.

And there’ll be good local music from the jazzy ‘Brass Junkies’ to didgeridoos and our beflowered ceilidh band.

Tickets £12.50 or if bought in advance online £10. Children under 16 are free. Lady Lansdowne will also give personal tours of her walled gardens (for a fee) throughout the day.

Find out more about the festival at

View photos of Toby Buckland’s Garden Festival at Bowood