Horticulture Week Podcast: Nick Hamilton talks peat-free, his father Geoff's legacy and the future of Barnsdale

Matthew Appleby and Nick Hamilton

Nick Hamilton, of Barnsdale Gardens in Rutland, has written an autobiography, The Right Genes, about his relationship with his father Geoff Hamiton, the pioneer in peat-free organic gardening, who presented BBC Gardeners World for 17 years.

Nick trained at Writtle College before gaining experience at several wholesale nurseries before going into business with his dad at Barnsdale. They worked together for several years before Geoff’s untimely death in 1996.

He talks about how the book came about during lockdown, his experience at Writtle, Darby Nursery Stock and Raveningham Hall, the home of Sir Nicholas Bacon, before working with his father in his later years.

Bankruptcy and hard times hit the Hamiltons when Nick was a teen, before Geoff's big break into garden journalism and TV.

Nick talks about why Geoff is still recalled so fondly and how and why they are so similar.

Geoff's organic and peat-free ethos was ahead of its time and Nick mulls over a feud between Geoff and the late Peter Seabrook about their different gardening philosophies,

Meanwhile, Barnsdale Gardens, where Adam Frost started work, is under threat from a solar farm and Nick talks about his concerns.

Presenter: HortWeek editor Matthew Appleby
Producer: HortWeek digital content manager Christina Taylor

Make sure you never miss a Horticulture Week podcast! Subscribe to or Follow Horticulture Week podcasts via Apple PodcastsSpotify or Google Podcasts or your preferred podcast platform. 

If you are interested in producing a podcast with HortWeek, contact hortweek@haymarket.com.

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