David Robinson / Memorial Lectures
Bord Bia are proud sponsors of the David Robinson Memorial Lecture. This prestigious annual event [launched in 2005] is designed to not only remember the contributions of the late David Robinson, but provides an opportunity for young horticultural students from colleges north and south to come together to learn more about the important contributions horticulture makes to our health, environment and economy.
The 2023 David Robinson Memorial Lecture
Teagasc Ashtown Research Centre
This year’s theme was ‘The Benefits of Gardens and Horticulture in a Healthcare setting’. James Alexander-Sinclair MSGC gave a talk about the gardens he has created for the Horatio’s Garden charity at the Scottish Spinal Injuries Centre, a recent garden created for a hospice. Marie Hirst, BSc. Hort., MCI Hort also talked about a Therapeutic Gardening Project in conjunction with the HSE in five HSE Community Healthcare East sites in 2022 and 2023. The talk took place on Weds 18th Oct 2023.
The 2022 David Robinson Memorial Lecture
Ireland branch of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture
Mark Gregory, a horticulturally trained landscaper based in Southern England, gave an eloquent summation of David’s career, and then presented about his own career to date . Mark Gregory, is the Managing Director of the Surrey-based landscape design and Build firm, Landform Consultants Ltd, a company of 60 people, including landscape architects, garden designers and a highly skilled workforce. Mark was voted as the ‘Most Influential Person’ within the garden and landscape industry by his peers in January 2018. He has worked at Board Level with BALI, APL, HTA and works tirelessly with many other industry-linked organisations on strategy and mentoring. Mark is an RHS full garden assessor and judge. The talk took place on the 26th Oct 2022
There were no lectures in 2020 and 2021
The 2019 David Robinson Memorial Lecture
Teagasc Ashtown Research Centre
The lectures were given this year by Jimi Blake, a noted Irish horticulturist, plantsman and teacher who had launched his world tour in September for his first book entitled A Beautiful Obsession: A plantsman’s journey in his own garden and Neil Porteus from Mount Stewart Gardens in Northern Ireland, who introduced his latest project the redevelopment at Annesgrove in County Cork, Ireland. The talk took place on the 16th Oct 2019
The 2018 David Robinson Memorial Lecture
Oman Botanic Gardens
The talk in 2018 was by Darach Lupton on the Oman Botanic Gardens. Darach is the Head of Botany and Conservation Department and Advisor to Living Collections at Oman Botanic Garden. The talk was held at Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow on the 25th October 2018.
The 2017 David Robinson Memorial Lecture
Design considerations for different green roof situations
The speaker in 2017 was Dr. Tom Young, Research Manager at STRI. Tom arrived at STRI in 2014 with a PhD in Biological Sciences, specialising in the optimisation of green roof substrate for sustainable plant growth and specific service provision.
The 2016 David Robinson Memorial Lecture
Horticulture in Botanical Gardens
The speaker in 2016 was Richard Barley - Director of Horticulture at Kew Gardens. Richard Barley is a qualified horticulturist and was formerly Chief Executive Officer of Open Gardens Australia. In his previous role as a Director within the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. His topic was on "Horticulture in Botanical Gardens".
The 2015 David Robinson Memorial Lecture
Creating a Successful Horticulture Community Online
The 2015 David Robinson Memorial Lecture was given by Nicola Gammon from Shoot Limited about how Shoot (www.shootgardening.co.uk) has created a successful horticulture community online. It was held at University College Dublin on the 22nd of October 2015. Copies of the slides can be found here.
The 2014 David Robinson Memorial Lecture
One hour – five gardens
The 2014 David Robinson Memorial Lecture was delivered by James Alexander-Sinclair, one of the UK’s renowned garden designers and broadcasters. During his presentation, James described in entertaining and engaging detail the joys and trials of designing gardens for different sites. the talk was given at the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown. More details here.
The 2013 David Robinson Memorial Lecture
Managing Heritage Gardens
The 2013 David Robinson Memorial Lecture was given by Alan Power, who is the Garden and Estate Manager at National Trust, Stourhead. The lecture focussed on the challenges of maintaining a large heritage garden and was given to a packed hall in the Pillo Hotel in Ashbourne.
The 2012 David Robinson Memorial Lecture
Horticulture is cool!
An inspirational talk by Leigh Morris, President of the Institute of Horticulture (IoH) was given to an enthralled audience in the Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin. See slides here.
The 2011 David Robinson Memorial Lecture
Planting as an art form: ecologically-tuned, aesthetically aware. Planting as an essential: creating healthy cities and liveable places - Dr Nigel Dunnett
The 2011 David Robinson Memorial Lecture was given by Dr Nigel Dunnett at University College Dublin. On his webpage (www.nigeldunnett.info), Dr Dunnett describes his work as follows:
- "The promotion of designed environments that are rich in vegetation and nature is central to my research and practice. This work combines and integrates my background and experience in both horticulture, landscape design and ecology. While ecological ideas in landscape design have often been applied at the larger scale, my focus is generally at the smaller scale: gardens, urban parks, on and around buildings, and in high-density built development. All aspects revolve around exciting and novel uses of plants, innovative planting design, and application of ecological concepts to achieve low-input, dynamic, diverse, colourful and ecologically-tuned designed landscapes."
The 2010 David Robinson Memorial Lecture
Grow climbing beans
The 2011 David Robinson Memorial Lecture was given by Dr Stefan Buczacki at the College of Agriculture Food & Rural Enterprise, Greenmount Campus in Northern Ireland. Dr Buczacki’s traced the evolution of ‘grow your own’ from the earliest settled civilisations to current allotment growing. Buczacki did not see that is a recent fad but as something that was probably here to stay, especially as the taste, health benefits and satisfaction from growing and eating your own food was also financially affordable as well.
The 2009 David Robinson Memorial Lecture
Sustainability, urban greenspace design and management - Dr James Hitchmough
The 2009 David Robinson Memorial Lecture was given by Dr James Hitchmough at Kildalton College Piltdown, Co. Kilkenny. He discussed practical approaches to sustainability (which he used the common definition of "not compromising the needs of the future for the needs of the present") in urban greenspace. He argued that this was not simply about "taking things away and being miserable" but that there were practical actions that can be taken. His three main strategies were to reduce areas of frequently mown grass, adopt new approaches to the management of rainfall and to generate energy and other products from greenspace.
The 2008 David Robinson Memorial Lecture
The heritage of Irish landscapes, biodiversity and modern landscape design - Professor Valerie Hall
The fourth of the David Robinson Memorial Lectures was given by Professor Valerie Hall on "The heritage of Irish landscapes, biodiversity and modern landscape design". Due to the numbers of people wishing to hear the lecture, it was given twice to packed halls at the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin 9.
Professor Hall gave her views on what are the native species of trees in Ireland and how difficult that is to ascertain. The lecture came about from questions she often received from people wanting to plant native trees in Ireland. In the talk she explained that our indigenous trees (not too dissimilar from our people) originally came from many sources and were often influenced by geographical, meteorological and sociological factors.
The 2007 David Robinson Memorial Lecture
Greening the Urban Jungle, Plants, Soils, Buildings and Climate Change - Dusty Gedge
The third of the David Robinson Memorial Lectures was given by Dusty Gedge of Livingroofs on the subject of "Greening the Urban Jungle, Plants, Soils, Buildings and Climate Change". The lecture took place at the Astra Hall University College Dublin. The event was organised by Bord Bia and the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science.
The 2006 David Robinson Memorial Lecture
Horticulture on Mars! - Dr Ray Wheeler
Plant physiologist, Dr Wheeler delivered the second annual Bord Bia-sponsored David Robinson Memorial Lecture at the Kildalton Agricultural and Horticultural College, Piltown, Co Kilkenny. Ray Wheeler is a senior scientist at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and currently serves as the lead for plant and crop research for NASA's Advanced Life Support Program.
In the lecture, given to about 80 students at Kildalton College, Dr Wheeler talked about NASA’s research on the possibility of producing fresh vegetables and small fruits in space to supplement space travellers’ diets.
He talked about Nasa's research into the possibility of producing fresh
vegetables and small fruits in space to supplement space travellers' diets. He
also discussed studies into how to grow wheat, potatoes, carrots and other
vegetables once space travellers set up bases on the moon and Mars. "When humans
venture beyond earth orbit and on to Mars, horticulture and plants will surely
follow," he believes. "As mission durations increase, so would the role of
horticulture, where plants would provide an increasing proportion of food,
oxygen, carbon dioxide removal, and water purification. In all cases, innovative
horticultural technologies and approaches will be required."
Much research has already been done using test systems on earth, but plants including mustard cress have also been grown successfully in space in the Russian Mir space station, he told The Irish Times. 
"The cosmonauts thought it was very good. They really enjoyed fresh flavours added to their stored foods," Dr Wheeler said.
The 2005 David Robinson Memorial Lecture
Top 10 plants that have influenced humankind - Sue Minter
In the first of the David Robinson Memorial Lectures, the director of horticulture at the Eden Project in Cornwall, Sue Minter, revealed her 'top 10' plants that have changed humanity.
Speaking at the Salesian College of Horticulture in
Drumree, Co Meath, Ms Minter said that both positive and negative impacts
influenced her choice of the 10 plants of most importance to mankind. Her top
plant was the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, chosen because it has had
the most positive and negative impact on humanity. She said that although opium
was vital as pharmaceutical morphine in the treatment of cancer, it also brought
'untold human misery through heroin addiction' .
Other plants in Ms Minter's top ten list include tobacco and the hemp plant Cannabis sativa, along with rice, cotton, rubber and tea, the yam - the original source of the contraceptive pill - and the Cinchona tree, which provides the anti-malarial drug, quinine. 
-  "Top 10 plants that have influenced humankind" see http://www.scribd.com/doc/3830069/Top-10-Plant-Influeced-Mankind
-  "Plants to sustain long-distance space travel", Irish Times, Thu 10 Oct 2006, see http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2006/1005/1158591393605.html
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This page was last updated on 18-Oct-2023 .