Stephen Bennett joins award-winning Woburn Abbey Gardens team as show consultant

Former RHS shows director and BBC Gardeners' World Live founder Stephen Bennett has joined the Woburn Abbey Gardens team as a show consultant.

Martin Towsey: Bennett has "best track record". Image: Woburn Abbey and Gardens
Martin Towsey: Bennett has "best track record". Image: Woburn Abbey and Gardens

Bennett brings more than 30 years’ experience to the estate, owned by the Duke and Duchess of Bedford.

He will work with estates gardens manager Martin Towsey, who yesterday won the prestigious Custodian Award at the Horticulture Week Custodian Awards, to develop next year’s show, following a successful event this year.

Towsey said: "Stephen Bennett has the best track record in the business of developing garden events, and we are delighted he’s working with us. We will be contacting exhibitors during August to invite them to apply to join us, with applications in by the beginning of October and confirmed by November."

Bennett also launched the Ascot Spring Garden Show in April, which will have a focus on fine dining, entertainment and shopping as well as horticulture. The show, run in partnership with The Windsor Estate, runs from 13-15 April and will have six show gardens by up-and-coming designers, curated by Andrew Fisher Tomlin.

Bennett said there was no other substantial spring garden show in the south east of England where visitors could buy plants. RHS Chelsea remains a sales-free zone aside from the last day sales of show plants in the grand pavilion.

As RHS shows director from 1985 to 2013 Bennett developed RHS Chelsea into a worldwide phenomenon and launched other RHS garden shows including Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and he led the establishment of partner shows at Cardiff, Malvern and Birmingham.

The Woburn Abbey Gardens team also won an award yesterday. The 15 gardeners were named Best Gardens or Arboretum Team at the Custodian Awards.

SEE ALL CUSTODIAN AWARDS 2017 WINNERS


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