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Shades of Green: John Sales, in conversation with Dominic Cole

This event, held in partnership with The Gardens Trust, celebrates the launch of Shades of Green (2018, Unicorn Publishing Group) in which John Sales VMH looks back at 25 years as head of gardens of the National Trust. He will share experiences of gardens from Sissinghurst to Hidcote and the colourful characters he has met including Dominic Cole OBE, Landscape Architect. The evening will include readings from the memoir which describes Sales’ first-hand experience as Head of Gardens for fifty gardens in the National Trust at a crucial time of transition from private to corporate ownership, sometimes smooth, sometimes difficult but always fascinating. The evening will be followed by a signing of the book.

Speaker Biographies

  • John Sales VHM

    John Sales VHM

    After horticultural college in Kent, John Sales passed his National Diploma in Horticulture while a student gardener at Kew, where his knowledge of plants developed and his interest in garden design and historic gardens was engendered. In 1971 he was appointed gardens adviser to the National Trust. He was lucky not simply because this was the kind of job that many would covet, but mainly because it came early in a period of rapid expansion in the Trust’s involvement with historic gardens and landscape parks, of great beauty and heritage significance. After two years learning from his predecessor Graham Stuart Thomas, he became Head of Gardens, eventually leading a team of advisers and technical staff responsible for strategic and routine advice in all gardens and parks, covering continuing management, staffing, plant conservation and refurbishment, as well as design, restoration and major renewal. John served as Head of Gardens until 1998. He was awarded the Victoria Medal of Honour, the highest honour given by the Royal Horticultural Society, in 1991, and has since been a Vice-President of the Society, and of the Garden History Society (now the Gardens Trust).

  • Dominic Cole OBE

    Dominic Cole OBE

    Dominic is a qualified Landscape Architect, Chartered Member of the Landscape Institute with some thirty years’ experience. He is the designer of the Eden Project in Cornwall and was recognised for this through the Landscape Institute Peter Youngman Award 2006 and being granted Fellowship of the Institute of Horticulture. Throughout his career Dominic has engaged with the specialist area of Historic Parks and Gardens and is well known in the industry. He is Chairman of the Garden History Society and was Chairman of the National Trust Gardens Advisory Panel 2008-2015. Dominic set up DCLA in February 2012. Recent projects include advising The National Trust and Bucks CC on their response to the impact of High Speed 2 rail; upgrading the garden at The Goring Hotel; restoration of the monument at Box Hill; the landscape at Sevenoaks School; landscape management on Hampstead Heath, working with The National Trust on presentation of the gardens at Ham House; new parking at Stanley Spencers Sandham Memorial Chapel; understanding the historical development of the Gardens at The Temple and researching the original designs for the landscape of Churchill Gardens in Pimlico – the post war housing estate became a model for housing all over Europe.

    Dominic was on the Project Board for the Geoffrey Jellicoe Hemel Hempstead Water Gardens that received funding from HLF in 2014

Image: Above, The Pear Avenue in the Kitchen Garden at Beningbrough Hall, with Nepeta (Catmint), campanulas and pear-trees in June