An interview with our resident gardening guru, Geoff Stebbings

Geoff Stebbings from - The Show's Resident Gardening Guru

1. What sparked your interest in gardening?

I was a child and kept stick insects which were fed privet in a glass jar to keep the leaves fresh. I found that some of the pieces had rooted and from then I was hooked.

2. Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

I had many I suppose. Reading about plant collectors such as Joseph Banks in Australia and later Joseph Hooker and others in Asia always fascinated me – I would still love to go to Tibet. But I was also heavily influenced by the writings of Margery Fish and E A Bowles.

3. What is your all-time favourite plant?

If I am being sensible I would say that a fuchsia would be my desert island plant, simply because they are so rewarding, yet can be trained in so many ways – and the edible berries would supply some food! I like iris too. I could not be without primulas, hellebores or daffodils but I can’t really pick just one plant. I suppose the answer could be clivia – I have had my plant 27 years.

4. If you were having dinner party, who would your top 3 guests be? 

If I have to include just those who are living, Helen Dillon, Roy Lancaster and comedian Andy Hamilton.

5. What would you cook a vegan who doesn’t like nut roast or carrots?

I wouldn’t!

6. Do you have a favourite gardening gadget?

I am not a big one for gadgets – I think traditional tools usually work best. My Wolf soil miller is the most ‘gadgety’ tool I have. Otherwise a good trowel and secateurs are my essentials.

7. What is the best piece of horticultural advice you have ever been given?

Don’t garden by the calendar, garden by the weather.

8. What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Allianz Garden Show Ireland in Antrim Castle Gardens? 

Meeting old friends and gardeners and being able to help solve garden problems. Learning what problems people are having is a great way to keep in touch with gardening.


Make sure you bring your gardening problems to Geoff at this year’s Show.


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Until then you can embrace your inner gardener with Geoff’s enlightening advice and ideas.

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