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Ethical Matters:
Why Women Grow: Radical Gardening and Growth

13th March 2024 · 6:30pm - 8:00pm

Doors open: 6:15pm

Brockway Room | Virtual event

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Ethical Matters: Why Women Grow: Radical Gardening and Growth

As the ground warms and the outside world stirs, Ethical Matters looks to the relationship between women, their gardens and discuss the desires of women to work the earth, even when it was frowned upon. Authors Fiona Davidson and Alice Vincent share women’s stories of gardening and growth.

While working as Head of Libraries and Exhibitions at the Royal Horticultural Society, Fiona Davison came across a cache of letters from a young gardener who was denied a scholarship by the RHS on the grounds that she was female. Intrigued by what happened to young Olive, Fiona began to research the wider story of early female professional gardeners and discovered a group of pioneers who battled derision and prejudice to change expectations of what women gardeners could do. Fiona discovered a period when British gardens were an arena for radical and far-reaching experiments. A time when a group of convention-busting women were gardening with purpose and quietly changing the world.

Alice Vincent is on a quest to understand what encourages women to go out, work the soil, plant seeds and nurture them, even when so many other responsibilities sit upon their shoulders – to recover the histories that have been lost among the soil. Her book Why Women Grow explores of why women turn to the earth, as gardeners, growers and custodians. This book emerged from a deeply rooted desire to share the stories of women who are silenced and overlooked. In doing so, Alice fosters connections with gardeners that unfurl into a tender exploration of women’s lives, their gardens and what the ground has offered them, with conversations spanning creation and loss, celebration and grief, power, protest, identity and renaissance.

Fiona Davison is the Head of Libraries and Exhibitions at the Royal Horticulture Society. She is also the author of the acclaimed and best-selling book The Hidden Horticulturists: The Working Class Men Who Shaped Britain’s Gardens.

Alice Vincent is a writer, broadcaster and multi-platform storyteller fascinated by the often-overlooked parts of life. Her books include Rootbound, Rewilding a Life, which was longlisted for the Wainwright Prize, and Why Women Grow: Stories of Soil, Sisterhood and Survival. Beyond the page, Alice is the host of the Why Women Grow podcast, which unearths stories of the land with inspiring women.

This in-conversation will be chaired by Sandra Lawrence, author of Miss Willmott’s Ghosts: the extraordinary life and gardens of a forgotten genius.

Age Recommendation



Standard (in person) £9 • Concessions (in person) £6 Standard (online) £6 Members FREE

Access Information

Due to the age and Grade Il listing of the building, there is no lift access to rooms above the ground floor.

All the ground-floor rooms are fully accessible by wheelchair. Main Hall (street access, step-free), Brockway Room (street access, step-free), Bertrand Russell Room (street access, shallow ramp), Hive Cafe (street access, step-free), There is also an accessible toilet on the ground floor opposite the Brockway Room.

If you have any questions regarding your access needs, please get in touch with our team and we will accommodate as best as we can. Get in touch:

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Further Info

This event will be held with an in-person audience at Conway Hall and online via livestream. Everyone wishing to join this event must register for a ticket in advance.

If you have any accessibility enquiries, please contact us at / 020 7405 1818.

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