Emilia Hart and Jill Johnson Super Nature: Witchcraft, Secret Gardens and Poisonous Plants

Saturday 13 April 2024, 11am - 12pm  

Venue: Beckenham Place Mansion  

Join acclaimed debut novelists Emilia Hart and Jill Johnson for a look at nature’s dark and dangerous side.

Tracing the lives of three women over five centuries, Emilia Hart’s Weyward is a spellbinding story of witch trials, family secrets and hearing the call of the wild.

In Jill Johnson’s Devil's Breath we meet Professor of Botanical Toxicology, Eustacia Rose. Her life is quiet, with only her secret garden of poisonous plants to keep her company. That is, until she becomes implicated in a crime when someone is murdered with a toxin derived from one of her rare plants…

Chaired by Annie Lyons

Price: £8.50 (incl booking fee)  

Isabel Losada
The Joyful Environmentalist: How to Practise without Preaching

Saturday 13 April 2024, 1pm to 2pm   

Venue: Beckenham Place Mansion 

Isabel isn’t interested in learning any more about the climate crisis and suspects that you aren’t either.  We know how bad it is. Therefore, her single-minded focus is on all the solutions we can find and enjoy.

The author, comedienne and environmentalist explores How to Practise Without Preaching in the way we bank, heat our homes, travel, garden, dress, holiday, shop, lobby, volunteer, eat and furnish our homes.  She shows that all the actions we can take in order to live a 1.5 degree lifestyle, and help our planet, are also those which most enrich our lives. No prisoners will be taken and Isabel sends her audience away with a notebook full of ideas, suggestions and actions to be taken.  

‘This is the joy we need in our lives’ – George Monbiot 

Price:  £8.50 (incl booking fee)

Claire Ratinon 
Unearthed: On Race and Roots, and How the Soil Taught Me I Belong 

Saturday 13 April 2024, 3pm to 4pm  

Venue: Beckenham Place Mansion 

Like many diasporic people of colour, Claire Ratinon grew up feeling cut off from the natural world. She lived in cities, reluctant to be outdoors and stuck with the belief that success and status could fill the space where belonging was absent. But a chance encounter with a rooftop farm was the start of a journey that caused her to rethink the life she’d been creating and her beliefs about who she ought to be. 

Enlivened, she turned her hand to growing food in London before leaving the city for the English countryside – and her first garden – in the hope of forging a pathway towards the embrace of the natural world and a sense of belonging cultivated on her own terms. 

Against the backdrop of rising racial tensions, the global pandemic and the climate crisis, Ratinon examines how our individual and shared histories have created the conditions for our current state of crises. In doing so, she explores the possibilities of nurturing our connections with the natural world, re-imagining ourselves as part of an ecosystem and addressing the challenges we face as a collective.

In conversation with Errol Reuben Fernandez, head of horticulture and gardens at the Horniman Museum.

Price: £8.50 (incl booking fee)

Ben Jacob 
The Orchid Outlaw: One Man’s Mission to Save Britain’s Rarest Flowers

Saturday 13 April 2024, 5pm to 6pm  

Venue:  Beckenham Place Mansion 

Obsessed by orchids since childhood, Ben spent years travelling to far-flung jungles to see them in the wild. Then a chance encounter set him off on a journey of discovery into the wonderful, but often forgotten, world of Britain's fifty-one native species. 

But our orchids are in desperate trouble. Many species are facing extinction. Decimated by changes in land use and climate, inadequately protected by environmental and planning laws, their habitats are disappearing fast. Determined to act before it was too late, Ben broke into building sites in the dead of night to rescue threatened plants, and turned his kitchen into a laboratory, his fridge into storage for hundreds of baby orchids, and his back yard into a plantation. But doing all that put him on the wrong side of the law. . .

At once a memoir, a natural history, and an inspiring call to action, reintroducing us to Britain's most endangered flowers, The Orchid Outlaw shows us how we can all save the world, one plant at a time.

In conversation with Zabby Allen, founder of Wild South London.

Price: £8.50 (incl booking fee)


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