David Lambert: 'My Garden’s Boundaries are the Horizon': gardening in a time of climate and ecological collapse
  • Date 18 June 2024 - 5.00 p.m.
  • Location Auditorium, Garden Quad, St John's College

We live in uncertain times; times when old certainties are increasingly being shaken. Here in the UK, those range from predictable seasonal weather to the arrival of migrating birds and the presence of moths and other insects on a summer night. But they also include confidence in full shelves at supermarkets, reliable public services and a stable financial system. What does it mean to garden in such times, or even simply to enjoy being in a garden?

The title of this talk quotes Derek Jarman describing the garden he laid out at Prospect Cottage on the shingle of Dungeness, and its starkly vulnerable position. To what extent can any garden be insulated from what is happening in the world outside? My proposition is that gardens offer a front-row seat on the environmental collapse we are now witnessing. Such an invitation to grieve, or rather, to see beauty in the context of loss, is both a privilege and a challenge: how do we respond to it?

The renowned landscape historian, David Lambert, is a director of the Parks Agency, a consultancy focused on the conservation of public parks. For ten years he served as Conservation Officer for the Garden History Society and wrote one of the first reports to draw attention to the state of public parks. He was closely involved in setting up the National Lottery’s urban parks grants programme. He has lectured widely on garden history and conservation and served on numerous expert committees as well as advising three parliamentary inquiries. Since 2018 he has devoted much of his time to raising awareness of the climate and ecological emergency.

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception in Garden Quad Reception Room.

The St John's Gardens are open from dawn until dusk every day.

Attendance is free but booking is recommended.

Book a ticket here.