Garden Club Speaker

A speaker for your audience?

Jo Swift & Modern Mint - Garden Club Speakers
Garden Club Speakers! Joe Swift of BBC Gardeners’ World with Darren Lerigo of Modern Mint at Blenheim Palace….

Garden Club Looking For A Speaker?

If you are a garden club, society, beekeeping group, U3A or WI who would like an entertaining and informed talk, then you’ve come to the right place.

Darren Lerigo of Modern Mint can help you!

“Thank you for  a fabulous evening, I have had so many emails and comments to say how much our members thoroughly enjoyed your talk and feel inspired!

You are an excellent speaker and funnily enough I am swopping our experience with two other clubs in the next few days, so be assured you are going on our  “highly recommended” list.

I shall definitely be recommending you, your enthusiasm is refreshing. Thank you for helping me out at the last minute.”

Brightlingsea Garden Club

A Speaker Who Is Happy To Travel

Although we are based in Essex, we are happy to travel to share our talks with keen garden folk!

Do contact us to discuss how we can make it happen for you, within budget.

About Darren, Our Club Speaker

Darren is a topiary artist and gardener. You may have seen some of his topiary work on the TV.

Before becoming a full-time gardener Darren wrote some plays (some even won awards), had radio scripts commissioned and performed as a stand-up comedian.

With hindsight, these past careers make talking at garden clubs the obvious next choice, right?

Darren loves clipping topiary and enjoys sharing his knowledge and interest with people who loe their gardens, or are interested in the way the landscape affects the way we live.

“Many thanks for your very interesting talk on Friday night, it made us look at our gardening in a different way.”

Peggy, Waltham Abbey Gardening Club

Where Has Darren Been A Speaker?

Mentored by Kew Gardens Philip Turvil, Darren began his career as a speaker at the end of 2014 and quickly got booked out for the following year.

Since then, he has presented his talks 100’s of times. Highlights have been:

  • Appearing at the National Flower Show alongside Joe Swift of Gardeners World
  • Being invited back the following year to share the bill with Mary Berry. (Admittedly, she was more of a draw for the crowd….)
  • Blenheim Palace Flower Show with Mary Berry (again), Joe Swift (again) and David Domoney.
  • Speaking at the 2016 Blenheim Palace Flower Show with Sir Ian McKellen, Robert Longstaff and Ground Force’s Tommy Walsh.
  • The 2017 Blenheim Palace Flower Show saw Darren speaking alongside Alan Titchmarsh and the lovely Val Bourne.
  • Presenting the Ted Hooper Memorial Lecture for Essex Beekeepers Association.
  • Sharing ideas about organic gardening at the Quay Theatre, Sudbury, in association with Greener Sudbury.

Please do contact us and ask about availability. Rarely is an opportunity turned down, even if your group is small or happens to be a long way away!

“Thank you so much for a very enjoyable evening last night.  It has only been a few short hours since you were with us but already there have been so many comments on what a refreshing change it was to the usual gardening club talks.  The debate over square versus round holes was in full swing at the village shop this morning as people collected their morning newspapers.  I think everyone agreed that it could even have gone on for longer so that the varied topics could have been discussed in more detail.  It was so informative and really challenged our existing methods and ways of thinking about gardening.

So from the members of the Terling & Fairstead Gardening Club, I want to send our appreciation and thanks for a great evening.”

Talks Available To Book

Darren currently has FOUR talks you can book, as below.

He can provide a projector and laptop for any presentation:

What Do I Do With This Space?

The most popular talk with garden clubs around the country!

One of the most important questions you can ask when looking out at your garden – ‘What Do I Do With This Space?’ attempts to find the answer.

It takes in gardens and ideas from all over the world, including Finland, Japan, Uruguay and the Serengeti.

It is enormous fun and provides eye-opening inspiration for those who hear it.

Suitable for gardeners of all abilities.

“Seriously, it was good fun, wasn’t it? And a big thank you to you!”

Carole, South East Essex Organic Gardeners

“He was so enthusiastic, and full of refreshing new ideas – an excellent kick start to our 2016 Programme.”

Glenna, Hartest Garden Club


Having moved to Essex from Hampshire in 2014 Darren saw a huge difference in the climate. A gardener in East Anglia has to deal with extra heat, strong, drying winds and a severe lack of rainfall.

This new gardening challenge spurred him on to start exploring how we use water in the garden.

Combining techniques for conserving water with new ideas on what our relationship to water will be in the future, this talk is a fascinating study in how to become a better gardener using the resources you have available.

Watering is not a dull subject, promise!

“I’ve had confirmed from the committee that they would LOVE IT if you could come and talk to us at our March meeting…”

Nikki, New City Girls WI

“Thank YOU for coming and talking to us. I know our members enjoyed the talk very much and were very impressed with your knowledge and enthusiasm.”

Siobhan, Shropshire Organic Gardeners

Cool Tools

This is a fun talk, with lots of demonstrations using plants and tools available at Modern Mint. There are also plenty of tips for making the most of your garden.

Club members are asked to bring along their favourite tools as well, so that we can discuss and try to find the best tools available to the gardener.

Photos on a screen and projector are welcomed but not necessary. There just needs to be enough space for Darren to bring some tools along and wield his shears!

“I’m so glad to hear that you will be giving your talk in Shrewsbury… I’m sure it will be a great success.”


“Thanks for your wonderful talk at the WI last night.”


Helping The Honeybee

The newest talk and quickly becoming the most popular!

Darren has always gardened with bees and other pollinators in mind. This talk is a bringing together of all the plants your garden needs to make sure it is nectar rich.

First presented at The Ted Hooper Memorial Lecture in 2017, for Essex Beekeepers Association.

Darren is currently turning this into a book to be published by Northern Bee Books in 2018.

How Do I Book A Talk?

Please send us an email with the following information:

  1. The talk you would like to book
  2. How many people are likely to attend
  3. Where the talk will be held
  4. Contact number

We will then get back to you to discuss dates and prices.

To give you a rough idea, talks are £90 for a 50-60 minute presentation with follow up q & a session, for groups of 20 people or more.

If you are further afield the fee is slightly higher.

If your group is smaller, the fee is slightly lower.

Please do get in touch and we can negotiate travel expenses and costings.

Don’t be shy, Darren would love to be a speaker at your event – so contact us now.

For examples of the topiary and gardening work Darren does around the country, you can find the latest clipped plants and bee friendly flower borders on Instagram.


Beekeepers – Quick Notes On Plants For Bees

tulips for bees

Fine news for beekeepers today – a total ban on bee-harming pesticides has been announced! To celebrate, here is a list of plants we recommend as being brilliant for the bees: Helenium Sedum Echium vulgare Marjoram or Oregano Eupatorium (common name? Joe Pye-Weed. But don’t let that put you off!) Borage Nepeta Veronicastrum Teucrium Bonus plants for shady spots? Try hellebore, lamium and pulmonaria. Looking for a shrub to plant near your apiary? Phillyrea ought to do it. Although it is difficult to get hold of…. we are working on making it more available though, so check back with Modern …



Thoughts On Modern Mint, April 2018

Hey Modern Minters, we have been busy already this year – so busy! Here is some of the topiary work we love doing so much…. A post shared by ModernMint (@modernmintshop) on Apr 5, 2018 at 9:48am PDT Whilst evenings (and some afternoons!) have been spent travelling the country giving garden talks to clubs, horticultural societies, WI’s and U3A’s. This is all fabulous fun but it has meant: We have not been consistent with our mailing list I have not finished the book ‘Helping The Honeybee’ I was due to get to the publisher by the end of February There …



Helping The Honeybee, Southend On Sea Beekeepers

Helping the honeybee

This week I gave a talk – Helping The Honeybee – to the lovely beekeeping group at Southend on Sea. Here are some notes for those who didn’t have a chance to write down some of the ideas we spoke about and shared…. The Top Plants For Bees Helenium Sedum Echium Marjoram (which you will find in your seedballs) Oregano Eupatorium, also known as Joe Pye-Weed Borage Nepeta Veronicaastrum Teucrium Phillyrea If you want a hedge for around your apiary, you will not go too far wrong with planting the amazing, tough as old boots, Phillyrea. Read plenty more about …