Garden Club Speaker


Jo Swift & Modern Mint
Joe Swift of BBC Gardeners’ World with Darren Lerigo of Modern Mint

Garden club looking for a speaker?

You’ve come to the right place, as Darren Lerigo of Modern Mint is our resident garden club speaker.

“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

Please note that although we are based in Essex, we are happy to travel to share our talks with keen garden folk! We are also currently involved in garden consultancy projects in York, Shropshire, Hampshire and Berkshire – giving us a place to stay and so better access to more gardening clubs around the country! Do contact us to discuss!

About Darren

A former award-winning playwright, radio scriptwriter and stand-up comedian, Darren is now a gardener and topiary artist with a true love of plants and an interest in how 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

Mentored by Kew Gardens Philip Turvil, Darren began his career as a speaker in 2014 and quickly got booked out for the following summer, the highlights of which were appearing at the National Flower Show alongside Joe Swift of Gardeners World and at Blenheim Palace Flower Show with Mary Berry, Joe Swift (again) and David Domoney.

Darren spoke again at the National Flower Show in 2016, as well as alongside Jo Swift, Sir Ian McKellen, Robert Longstaff and Ground Force’s Tommy Walsh at various flower shows that Spring.

ian mckellen

He is incredibly keen to continue sharing his love of gardening and plants with people, so please do contact and ask about availability – rarely is an opportunity turned down, even if it 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

He currently has FOUR talks you can book, as below:

What Do I Do With This Space?

(The most popular talk with garden clubs around the country!)

The most important question 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. This talk was presented at the National Gardening Show in 2015 as well as many gardening clubs. It is enormous fun and provides eye-opening inspiration for those who hear it.

Please provide a projector and screen for the photos. To book this talk please see below – ‘How Do I Book This Talk?’

“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 conditions like the extra heat, the strong, drying winds and the lack of rainfall.

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

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

“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

Please provide a projector and screen for the photos. To find out how to book this talk read below – ‘How Do I Book This Talk?’

Cool Tools

This is a fun talk, with lots of demonstrations using plants and tools available on the Modern Mint shop, as well as handy hints and 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 the best tools available to the gardener.

Photos on a screen and projector are welcomed but not necessary, just 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.”


To book this talk please see below – ‘How Do I Book This Talk?’

Helping The Honeybee

A brand new talk for 2017, 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, the ideas for plants in the talk will be written down by Darren ready to be published by Northern Bee Books in 2018.

If you want to know how to help the bees, book this talk now! 

How Do I Book This 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 around £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, or your group is smaller, please do get in touch and we can negotiate travel expenses and costings – please don’t be shy, Darren would love to be a speaker at your event – so contact us now.

“We are interested in booking a garden consultation with Darren after his excellent talk at the New City Girls WI last night…”

Visit this blog post for more about garden consultancy work.


Reduce Your Gardening Carbon Footprint – From The RHS

Lovely to see the RHS have a small article in the latest Garden Magazine telling people about reducing their gardening carbon footprint. We were banging on about this ages ago…. we even did a whole project about it for the Chelsea Fringe 2017…. Capture Carbon In Your Garden. The RHS notes: Plant anything green to capture carbon Mulch soils and avoid digging to make sure carbon stays in the soil Don’t use labour and carbon intensive nitrogen-based fertilisers – instead use natural alternatives like seaweed, comfrey (yes, it is stinky!) or mulching with well-rotted horse manure or homemade garden compost…. which …



Roses for Hips

Just a quick note to share these choices of roses for their hips, from the RHS magazine. The rose choices were… Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’ – yes, lovely. choice Rosa filipes ‘Kiftsgate’ (not sure who has the space to grow this one!) Rosa ‘Francis E Lester’ Rosa ‘Generous Gardener’ (though the article noted if you leave the hips on you will get fewer flowers later in the season) Rosa ‘Morning Mist’ Rosa ‘Cupid’ Rosa sericea subspecies omeiensis f. pteracantha (not just a mouthful of a name, but the hips drop off quickly too, within a few weeks) Rosa ‘Geranium’ Rosa californica …



Botanist Gin

We are, as those keen followers of Modern Mint will know, a little bit excited about British gin. One of our longest and best blog posts is all about it – Best UK Gin 2017. To help you choose a great gin, we have (unselfishly) been trying lots of new ones during the year. Here is one, Botanist Gin, that we think is excellent…. Do take a closer look at other recommendations though – they have been well-tested!