Celebrating women in gardening at our BBC Gardeners' World events

This International Women’s Day, we are thrilled to shine a spotlight on the remarkable women gardeners who grace our events this year. From nurturing delicate blooms to cultivating thriving ecosystems, these women exemplify dedication, expertise, and passion in the world of gardening. Join us as we celebrate their green thumb and the invaluable contributions they bring to our gardening community.

Frances Tophill

See Frances Tophill at BBC Gardeners’ World Live on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 June. Book seats in the BBC Gardeners’ World Live Theatre or drop into the Let’s Talk Plants Stage to see Frances on the stage.

Frances is involved with the RHS campaign for school gardening and is passionate about enthusing young people to get into horticulture. She is working on a number of community gardening projects in the South West and is also helping the redevelopment of some costal gardens that were damaged by the 2014 storms. This is a particular passion of hers having grown up by the sea and was also part of her degree specialisation.

Frances is a popular choice for gardening talks and has appeared at Blenheim Palace Flower Show, Hampton Court Flower Show and the Eden Project Green Fingers Festival to name a few. Hailing from Deal in Kent, Frances now lives in Exeter having completed her BSc in Horticulture with Plantmanship at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 2013. Frances got into gardening from an early age, helping out around the garden at home and after overly ambitiously designing a terraced landscape in a planter, given to her by her mum, age 7, she was hooked. As well as all things gardening Frances is a budding crafter and currently doing a pottery course.

Frances’ first book, First Time Gardener, was published in 2015 and her 2nd book, Container Gardening will be published in April this year. She has also written a column for Coast magazine on highs and lows of coastal gardening.

Frances Tophill

Sue Kent

Sue Kent will be joining us for BBC Gardeners’ World Spring Fair and BBC Gardeners’ World Live in 2024.

In 2020, Sue Kent launched her gardening career by sending a viewer’s home video to BBC2 Gardeners’ World; it was such a hit that she is now a regular presenter on the show, winning a Garden Media Award for her efforts.

Born with an upper limb disability caused by the drug Thalidomide, Sue used her feet and hands to the garden. From her own life experience and her passion for gardening, Sue is keen to show how gardening can be possible with physical limitations and encourage others to have a go whatever their ability may be. Sue is now RHS ambassador for disability inclusions. In July 2022 Sue received a Silver Gilt medal and The People’s Choice award At RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival for her garden.

Celebrity gardener Sue Kent at BBC Gardeners' World Live

Nicki Chapman

Nicki Chapman will be at BBC Gardeners’ World Live 2024. 

Nicki has become a mainstay of the BBC presenting team, being a central figure during the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

She’s a regular presenter for Radio 2, often sitting in for Zoe Ball on the Breakfast Show and Vanessa Feltz on Early Breakfast. She has also hosted three documentaries: The Fuller Picture (an in-depth interview with music entrepreneur Simon Fuller), Here We Come – The Monkees at 50, and Let’s Abba Party.

Having started her career as a Promotions Assistant at MCA Records, Nicki quickly become one of the youngest and most successful publicists in the industry. Three years later she moved to RCA Records as Head of TV Promotions, before joining Brilliant! PR Company where she was joint partner for five years. Her vast knowledge of the music industry led Nicki to be a judge on ITV’s Popstars and then subsequently on Pop Idol. Having met with Simon Fuller in the nineties Nicki joined his management company 19 Entertainment in January 2001 as Creative Director, working with artists and personalities such as Annie Lennox, David and Victoria Beckham, Will Young, The Spice Girls, Carrie Underwood and S Club 7.

Lockdown presented an opportunity for Nicki to further spread her wings, this time working on a podcast from her home studio called Talking Success where she interviewed some of the biggest names in the media and the arts.

Nicki is a proud Ambassador for British Dressage and a keen and active supporter of Teenage Cancer Trust, Childline and Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy. After successful brain surgery in 2019, Nicki is now a passionate Ambassador for The Brain Tumour Charity.

Nicki Chapman

Carol Klein

See Carol Klein at BBC Gardeners’ World Live on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 June. Book seats in the BBC Gardeners’ World Live Theatre or drop into the Let’s Talk Plants Stage to see Carol on the stage.

Her natural, down-to-earth approach has made her popular and trusted figure. As well as covering all the wonderful shows from Chelsea and Tatton to Hampton Court, Carol has fronted many series, including Grow Your Own Veg and Open Gardens.

Carol originally trained as a fine artist and spent many years teaching art in schools and colleges. She started gardening and running a nursery from her home in Devon, and her hobby eventually became a career. She began exhibiting at RHS shows in 1990 and went on to win gold medals at Chelsea, Hampton Court, Westminster and Malvern.

Carol first appeared on Gardener’s World in 1989 when Geoff Hamilton did a feature on her garden, Glebe Cottage. Following regular appearances as a guest presenter for both the BBC and Channel 4, she wrote and presented her own six-part series Wild About the Garden in 1998, and two series of Real Gardens. Other television work includes offering gardening expertise on Time Team and Garden Doctors, and appearing as a guest on Water Colour Challenge (all Channel 4).

Her extensive writing work includes not only her books – Grow Your Own Veg was a six-month top 20 bestseller, with over 200,000 copies sold – but also her weekly double page spread for Garden News and contributions to the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, Gardener’s World magazine, Gardens Illustrated, English Garden and Horticulture. Check out five plants she recommends for beautiful blooms here.

Carol’s recent series Life in a Cottage Garden, which was filmed at her own gardens at Glebe Cottage has also been made into a book of the same title to accompany the series.

Carol Klein at BBC Gardeners' World Live 2021

And many more incredible women who will be on our stages and offering expert advice at our 2024 events. 

BBC Gardeners’ World Events 2024:

New year, new garden, new trends!

We’re through the garden gate into 2023, with a host of gardening trends blooming throughout the country. From house plants reaching dizzying heights of popularity, to the colour of the year ‘Viva Magenta’, read on for our full list of trends.

To get up close and personal with fresh garden inspiration, new plants, the latest gardening kit and more, join us in 2023.

Colour of the Year 2023

Hand-picked by Pantone, the colour of the year has been named as ‘Viva Magenta. 

Pantone describe the colour as ‘brave and fearless, and a pulsating colour whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration, writing a new narrative.’

Discover a world of colour and scent in the stunning Floral Marquee,  bursting with award-winning nurseries and display.

Sustainable gardening

Whilst your garden might seem to already be very green, it can always be greener!

Discover ways you can make gardening more sustainable, like upcycling common items to make stylish features. What was a pallet, hessian bags, bits of pipe, and tin cans, could become a planter, grow bags, water features, and wildlife habitats.

Be inspired by the BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine editorial team as they’re joined by experts to give tips and advice.

Grow your own food

Looking to go from soil to supper this year? Get brilliant advice from the National Allotment Society at the event.

Peat-free gardening

Learn about the latest peat-free compost from exhibitors who can offer face-to-face advice.

Indoor gardening

Foliage doesn’t just belong outside – bring nature indoors and be inspired by the Houseplant Hub.

Mindful gardening

Beautiful Borders returns with this year’s theme ‘My Garden Escape’ to give you space savvy ideas.

Gardening on a budget

Discover different ways you can let your garden bloom under a tighter budget, with advice from expert gardeners.

Fermented foods

Visit the BBC Good Food Summer Show (with free entry with your ticket!) and discover the latest foodie trends.

Feeling inspired? Find out what else is happening at BBC Gardeners’ World Live this June!