MEET one of the country’s leading garden designers ahead of Herefordshire's biggest weekend garden festival.

This year's Garden Festival at Hellens Manor, Much Marcle, near Ledbury, will be launched by an evening reception with James Alexander-Sinclair, who has presented the BBC’s coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show, on Friday, June 6 at 7pm.

There will be drinks, canapés and live music, along with presentations from Mr Alexander-Sinclair and fellow garden designer and television presnter Hannah Genders in aid of St Michael’s Hospice.

Organiser Gail Calthrop said: "We’re building on the success of last year’s event by adding this special evening. It is an opportunity for everyone to meet and talk with James Alexander-Sinclair.

"Our other special guest will be the award-winning garden designer and television presenter Hannah Genders."

The festival follows on Saturday and Sunday, June 6-8, with about 70 exhibitors and demonstrators, topical and lively talks and discussions with experts, a medley of musical offerings, delicious local foods and drinks, and creative childrens' activities.

There will be a wide range of plant exhibitors and specialists, offering a diversity of plants and professional advice.

It is being partnered by the RSPB, who are supporting the festival's theme of gardening for wildlife with their own, give nature a chance, give nature a home.

Tickets to the launch event are £12.50 and entry to the festival from 10am to 5pm both days is £6.50 or £13 for a family ticket.

For more information and tickets, go to or Gail Calthrop on 01432 268989 or 07791 253720.