• Shila Desai

Meet Tim Hubbard: author, former BBC personality, gardener

Updated: Jan 13

Our tour leader speaks of his love for Cornwall's Great Estates

I’m absolutely delighted to have been asked to lead this tour; the places we’ll be visiting are amongst my very favourite Cornish gardens and they should be looking at their best.


I’ve been living - and gardening! - in Cornwall for over thirty five years. I originally came here to teach but was soon asked to join the BBC in the south west as a producer. Over the years I produced, edited or wrote a huge range of programmes, eventually becoming the presenter/host of the flagship breakfast news programme for several years. I also presented gardening documentaries and chaired gardening phone ins. In 2002 I developed a unique partnership between the BBC and the Royal Horticultural Society which involved building a prize winning show garden at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (the sister event to the RHS’s Chelsea Flower Show which you’ll be seeing). The design for this garden showcased the essential plants of a Cornish garden and was hugely popular with the show visitors.



A visit to Tresco and its Abbey Garden in the early 1980s had led to an interest in so called “exotic gardening” - pushing the boundaries of Cornwall’s mild climate to see what can be grown here. I created a garden on the sheltered banks of the River Fal near Truro with bananas, cannas, and strelitzia as well as palms, bamboo and other tender plants.



We’ve recently moved to the far west of Cornwall - just a few miles from Lands End - and to a brand new garden which we’re creating out of clifftop scrub. Here the gale force winds from the Atlantic are fierce (we’ve had new plantings ripped out of the ground) and the salt spray drenches the soil so there are new gardening challenges to face!


I left the BBC in 2012 and now work freelance as a writer, a literary festival chair and as a tour host. I’ve been involved with The Great Gardens of Cornwall for some years now and was so pleased to be asked to write my latest book telling the stories of the gardens’ owners and head gardeners and the plants which they chose to make their own Cornish gardens truly great.


Along with the estate owners and head gardeners, I look forward to sharing the heritage of the Great Gardens of Cornwall with you.


For more information on our Spring 2020 Great Gardens of Cornwall tour, please click here.


Sea and spray and clifftop scrub

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