Charleston

Charleston announces full programme for Festival of the Garden including Chris Packham, Zadie Smith, Ingrid Pollard, Sam Lee, Arit Anderson and more

The full programme for Charleston’s annual summer highlight Festival of the Garden, returning to Charleston in Firle from 18–21 July, has been announced today. Guests include Chris Packham, Zadie Smith, Ingrid Pollard, Arit Anderson, Sam Lee, Luciano Giubbilei, Fergus Garrett, Cleve West, Stone Club, Andy Sturgeon, Jinny Blom, Richard Mabey, Claire Tackas, Alice Vincent and […]

The full programme for Charleston’s annual summer highlight Festival of the Garden, returning to Charleston in Firle from 18–21 July, has been announced today.

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

 

With over 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, 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&A’s 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.

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.

Literary sensation 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.

Renowned 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.

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 for their scale and seemingly impossible execution.

Stone Club is a phenomenon. Its founder Matthew Shaw is joined by author and academic, James Canton to explore this space for lovers of pre-history and ancient stones to come together, which has garnered a large cult following.

See the full programme

 

There is a vibrant programme of adult workshops and walks, as well as free children’s workshops, and visitors can also discover a wide selection of plant stalls from quality, independent local growers, a bookshop and delicious pop-up food stalls provided by café partners, Caccia & Tails.


Melissa Perkins, Head of Programme and Events at Charleston says:

I can’t wait to see Charleston’s summertime grounds come alive with this truly exceptional line-up of some of the biggest names in gardening and design along with the rising stars of tomorrow. For four days the grounds are buzzing with conversations and music as we celebrate all the beauty and wonder of the natural world.’

Charleston’s Head Gardener Harry Hoblyn says:

‘Our Festival of the Garden has become a vital space where visionaries in the world of gardens, ecology and the arts, can discuss pressing topics from the future of our natural world to how we can all improve our relationship with land. For some of us this relationship begins with little patches of nature on our doorsteps – in the form of gardens. Festival of the Garden is nectar for garden enthusiasts and nature lovers, but fascinating for the less green-fingered too!’

 

For press enquiries and media registration for events please contact:

Felicity Avenell, f.Avenell@Charleston.org.uk

Booking information

Tickets: £10–£75

Priority booking for Charleston supporters: Tuesday 23 April 2024

General sale: Thursday 25 April 2024

Charleston’s Friend+, Patron and Benefactor supporters enjoy 48 hours of priority booking before tickets go on general sale. In addition, as part of Charleston’s Under 30 community, younger adult audiences can now access £10 tickets when they sign up for free.

Find out more: charleston.org.uk/support/

 

ABOUT CHARLESTON

Charleston is a place that brings people together to engage with art and ideas.

The modernist home and studio of the painters Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, Charleston was a gathering point for some of the 20th century’s most radical artists, writers and thinkers known collectively as the Bloomsbury Group. It is where they came together to imagine society differently and has always been a place where art and experimental thinking are at the centre of everyday life.

Today, we have two locations, the house and galleries at Firle and a venue in Lewes, and present a dynamic year-round programme of exhibitions, events and festivals.