Conference 2019 speakers announced

Back to conference information: BOOKING CLOSED: PlantNetwork Conference 2019

Selected Speaker Biographies

Dr Helen Hoyle

“Evolution in action? Public perception of non-native planting in the designed urban landscape.”

Helen is Senior Lecturer in Healthy Built Environments at the University of the West of England, Bristol. She has a background in Geography and Landscape Architecture and previously conducted award-winning research culminating in the delivery of the London 2012 Olympic meadows. She has since applied findings to ordinary urban spaces in Bedfordshire, working with local authority partners on an urban meadows experiment. Helen believes strongly in the need to produce urban planting design which is attractive to the public, biodiverse and adapted to a changing climate. She conducted some of her PhD research at Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens (2012-14) and in summer 2018 collaborated with Matthew Pottage at RHS Wisley to gauge public reaction to the new Exotic Garden.



Stephen Griffith

“Climate change and Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens”

An experienced horticulturalist who has held the post of Curator at Abbotsbury SubTropical gardens since 1990 where he has been responsible for the restoration and development of this once neglected historic garden. Here he has amassed a considerable collection of rare and unusual plant taxa from around the world all growing in this very special woodland valley micro-climate only a short distance from the Chesil Beach. He is also gardens advisor to Melbury House, a gardening lecturer, an author, and tour leader for special interest holidays. He is a member of the Institute of Horticulture, Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellow, and has been on the Royal Horticultural Society Woody plants Committee.




Tomos Jones

“Ornamental plants: a threat to the environment due to climate change?”

Tomos is a NERC SCENARIO PhD student at the University of Reading. He studied Geography at Bangor University before an MSc in Sustainability at the University of Leeds. Between his studies, he worked as a gardener at Treborth Botanic Garden in North Wales. This combination of geographical and horticultural interest led to his current PhD research on the invasion potential of ornamental plants; focusing on the role of gardeners in preventing and managing future invasions.







Richard Baines

“Challenges of a changing environment”

Richard Baines is Curator of Logan Botanic Garden, RBGE, a position he has held for 12 years.  An experienced plantsman, he has participated in many overseas plant collecting expeditions, field research and lecture tours. He has a particular interest in Rhododendrons, Magnolias and southern hemisphere exotics and is an experienced broadcaster and author in his field.








Simon Toomer

“Using plant and tree selection in historical and designed landscapes to better adapt to climate change”

Simon is the National Specialist for Plant Conservation at the National Trust. Originally trained in environmental biology and forestry, Simon Toomer has worked as a forester, land management advisor and arboriculturalist in private, local authority and charity sectors. Simon previously worked for 15 years as Curator and Director at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum. He is Chair of PlantNetwork, a member of the Plant Conservation Committee of Plant Heritage and a profession member of the Arboricultural Association.





More speakers will be announced shortly.