Tour Leaders

Helena Attlee
Although best known for her books about Italy and the cultural history of its gardens, Helena Attlee also writes about the gardens of Japan, Portugal, Wales and the Caribbean. She is a regular contributor to numerous magazines, including The World of Interiors, Gardens Illustrated, The English Garden, Country Life and Hortus.
Helena lectures both at home and abroad. Building on her experience as a fellow and consultant fellow of the Royal Literary Fund, she has set up Open Ground, a creative writing programme delivered in gardens and other outdoor spaces. Her latest book The Land Where Lemons Grow,The Story of Italy and its Citrus Fruit will be published by Penguin in April 2014.

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Helena Attlee
David Gilchrist

David Gilchrist
David has been self-employed in the horticultural industry for the last 21 years, leading over 25 tours for Boxwood since it began 18 years ago. Trained at Threave School of Gardening and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, David has spend all his working life in horticulture as a lecturer, nursery manager for Hilliers Nurseries Ltd, now operating as horticultural consultant and advisor. His work includes the HTA, Kew, RHS, DEFRA and the industry at large. David has travelled widely visiting gardens and nurseries in the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Mexico and mainland Europe. Spent one year working and studying in the USA and has been a Nuffield Scholar.

Sophieke Piebenga 
trained with the National Trust and qualified at Kew Gardens. Whilst head gardener of a private estate, she developed a particular interest in the conservation of historic gardens. This led to a doctoral study at the University of York researching the work of the early Victorian landscape gardener, W. S. Gilpin. She has since worked freelance, mostly in the field of historic landscape conservation. Born in The Netherlands, now based in the Cotswolds, Sophie has lived most of her life in the UK. For the last 20 years, Sophie has regularly led tours for Boxwood to Ireland, France, Spain, The Netherlands and within the UK.

Sophie Piebenga
Tania Compton

Tania Compton
Tania lived in France and Spain for six years in her twenties and developed her love of gardening after success with a packet of ipomoea seeds in Ibiza.  Stints gardening at Tintinhull for Penelope Hobhouse, East Lambrook Manor and Barnsley House preceded a design course at The English Gardening School where she met her husband the botanist, Dr. Jamie Compton, now a Chinese ceramic dealer. Tania spent twelve years as Gardens Editor for British House & Garden before resuming work as a designer. Her book 'Dream Gardens' with Andrew Lawson was published by Merrell in 2007. She helps steer the programming committee as a Trustee of the Garden Museum and spends any free time over-planting 6 acres of meadow in Wiltshire

Maïté Delmas 
Kew-trained professional horticulturist, currently in charge of public relations for the Jardins des Plantes in Paris. Thirty years experience in managing plant collections gained at Kew, Bordeaux and Paris Botanic Gardens. Active promoter of the network of Botanic Gardens of France in French speaking countries which she represents in many international committees. Keen to share her love for plants and gardens and to add historic and cultural insights into regions visited. Currently participating in the work of Jardins et Santé a recent French charity which, by opening gardens to the public, raises funds for the creation or rehabilitation of therapeutic gardens and support of clinical research projects on brain diseases.

Maïté Delmas
Isobelle van Groeningen

Isabelle van Groeningen
Belgian-Born Isabelle Van Groeningen trained in Kew and Wisley, followed by a PhD at York. From 1992 till 2008 she ran the award winning design practice Land Art Ltd with Gabriella Pape. She moved to Berlin to help set up the Koenigliche Gartenakademie in 2008. Besides continuing with planting design she runs the Gardening school, offering short courses on design and horticulture and is also in charge of the herbaceous plant business "Mohn und Mehr" (Poppies & more) selling perennials and annuals to the visitors at the Garden Academy. When time allows, she still leads tours for Boxwood and Hortus Magazine as well as for the Garden Academy.

David Wheeler
David founded the literary gardening journal Hortus in 1987 and continues as its editor. He is the author of several books, including Over the Hills from Broadway: Images of Cotswold Gardens, and the editor of several anthologies, including The Penguin Book of Garden Writing. In 2009 he was awarded the RHS Gold Veitch Medal "in recognition of services given in the advancement of science and practice of horticulture". He gardens 8 acres (including a 5-acre arboretum) at Bryan's Ground in NW Herefordshire with landscape painter and garden designer Simon Dorrell.

David Wheeler
Stephen Anderton

Stephen Anderton
Stephen is the long-standing garden writer for The Times, as well as a journalist, broadcaster, lecturer and author. Trained originally in Drama and then Landscape Design, he worked in historic gardens where, latterly as National Gardens Manager for English Heritage, he was responsible for several major restoration projects. Discovering Welsh Gardens was published in 2009; his official biography of Christopher Lloyd appeared in March 2010. He now lives in the Black Mountains where he is making a new landscape garden of 20 acres. As The Times Garden Correspondent, Stephen hosts The Times Garden Tours of which we have run two a year since 2005.

Patience Shone
Patty is a linguist and garden historian who has worked and studied in France, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland and now lives and gardens in Suffolk. Patience has also taught French and Italian, worked in the City and in the press office of an international human rights organisation. She is currently involved in research into landscape and garden history. With many years’ experience of leading tours in Europe, she has worked with Boxwood Tours for over 10 years, earning high praise and accolades for her care and organisational expertise from travellers on every tour she leads.

Patience Shone
Kirsty Fergusson

Kirsty Fergusson
Kirsty exchanged a career in academia (she is a PhD specialising in French philosopher-novelists) for a life in gardening. Trained at Capel Manor, she was head gardener at Mapperton in Dorset during the early nineties, where a series of fortunate encounters opened the door to garden writing. As well as writing a weekly column for The Express, for many years she was a frequent contributor to Gardens Illustrated, House and Garden, Country Life, The Times, The Telegraph and The Independent. In 2003 she moved to SW France, where she continues to explore the possibilities of her own (very forgiving) garden - when not travelling, writing or leading tours.

Ambra Edwards
Winner Garden Media Guild Journalist of the Year 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010. After gaining an Honours degree in English language and Literature at St Hilda's College, Oxford University, Ambra worked as campaigns editor for Gardening Which? Magazine. She was engaged by the Department for Education and Skills to prepare literature and ministerial briefings on outdoor learning, school gardens and healthy eating in schools. Ambra now works as a freelance garden writer and has contributed articles to leading garden magazines including The Guardian and The Observer as well as a year-long series for Gardens Illustrated in 2005 and regular columns in Gardenlife, Hortus and The Telegraph.

Ambra Edwards
Jenny Condie

Jenny Condie
Jenny Condie has lived in Venice since 2002 with her husband, the novelist Enrico Palandri and their three children. Jenny was born in Edinburgh and took a degree in Italian and History of Art at UCL. She has translated a number of substantial works in the area of art and literary history and criticism, and she has also written in Italian as a journalist
Her books include ‘The Gardens of Venice and the Veneto’: Photographer, Alex Ramsay; Publisher, Frances Lincoln (ISBN: 9780711234048)