20 September 2016 By Tash Ellens
Our 2016 annual lecture was a sell-out, with Joe Swift being our headliner for the evening. It's an event we all look forward to every year and last Thursday was no different, Joe did not disappoint! Over one hundred and forty guests arrived for Hawthorn's Gin 'Chelsea Blossom cocktails' and canapés before filing into the marquee to take their seats. Sales Director, Nick Bashford, welcomed Joe Swift to take centre stage where Joe began his talk with his bright and humorous personality which had everyone laughing. He spoke about his career and gave us insight into his life and TV career.
Joe started with his childhood; the rock star years as the lead guitarist in a band called 'The Tumbling Dice', followed by a wild "career" working in Israel at the fish farms. With every job you start at the bottom, and the fish farms had no exceptions, Joe began with a repetitive job of transferring fibre glass onto a trolley, after a little persuasion he moved out to the fishing nets. This helped develop Joe's love for fishing which he still enjoys today as a hobby, "along with golf and gardening, I was born to be retired".
Joe explained how his career has developed from maintenance man at Gaylord and Merriweather to Landscaping in Australia and onto Gold Medal winner at RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Today he is a garden designer and Co-Founder of a garden design and installation company called Modular, Joe just does not stop! Although, he did slow down when he talked about his time with his allotment. He made friends within the community, many of whom featured in multiple TV episodes alongside him, he grew his own vegetables and learnt how to make the most out of the land he had. This showed us how much Joe loves to be involved, both with gardening and as patron to garden charities including The Horniman Museum and The Harington Scheme.
His talk inspired us to be more adventurous with our inner gardener, to spend time trying new things and growing our ideas. If you missed out on our annual lecture, Joe will be touring theatres within the UK doing a one-man show called 'A man about the garden'. You can see the full list of events and locations here, an unmissable talk that comes highly recommended by Alitex and our guests.