BBC garden writer and Broadcaster
Tony Russell’s career with plants and gardens began in 1978 when he joined the Forestry Commission in Snowdonia. In 1980 he went to Newton Rigg, Cumbria to study forestry and horticulture and after qualifying in 1983 he took up post as Forester for the New Forest in Hampshire.
In 1989 he was appointed Head Forester of Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire, one of the finest collections of tree and shrubs in the temperate world. By 1999 he had increased annual visitors to Westonbirt from 140,000 to 300,000, making Westonbirt the third most visited garden in the UK at that time (after Kew Gardens and the RHS Garden, Wisley). In 2000, in recognition of these achievements, the British Government awarded Westonbirt, National Status.
Tony left Westonbirt in 2003 and is now widely regarded as one of Britain’s leading authorities on trees and shrubs. Over the past fifteen years he has presented many gardening, horticultural and countryside programmes for both TV and radio. In 2006 he worked with the BBC on the TV documentary series ‘Save Lullingstone Castle’, which was based around the creation of the World Garden at Lullingstone Castle in Kent.
Tony regularly writes for several magazines and newspapers – including The Daily Telegraph, BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, The Garden, Country Life and The English Garden.
He is the author of eighteen books and is currently working on a complete revision of The World Encyclopedia of Trees which will be published in 2019. Tony is also editor of the annual publication ‘Great Gardens to Visit’ and horticultural editor of Discover Britain’s Gardens magazine.
In addition to his writing and broadcasting work, Tony runs a thriving garden and forest consultancy business. Over the past fifteen years he has been horticultural director of the La Chaire Sub-tropical Gardens Restoration Project in Jersey, Channel Islands; lead consultant on the creation of the World Garden’ at Lullingstone Castle in Kent and lead consultant for the Berkeley family at Spetchley Park Gardens near Worcester.
In 2008 Tony headed up the UK’s promotion of the recently discovered Australian ‘dinosaur tree’ – the Wollemi Pine, which culminated in a silver-gilt medal award-winning garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. From 2014 until 2017 Tony worked with the Snowdonia National Park Authority on a garden restoration project for their Victorian mansion at Plas Tan y Bwlch, as well as founding and co-ordinating the North Wales Festival of Gardens during this period.
Since 2009 Tony has been garden consultant to the National Trust and worked with many gardens throughout the UK including Nymans, and Trengwainton in South West England and in 2019 he will be working with Belton House in Lincolnshire and Bodnant in North Wales.
Tony is a patron for the Ernest Wilson Memorial Garden Trust and he also sits on the board of Trustees for Batsford Arboretum in Gloucestershire.
Alongside this work, Tony regularly leads garden & plant-based tours both in the UK and overseas. Since 2003 has accompanied groups to Japan, Russia, Estonia, The Arctic, Costa Rica, India, The Himalayas, Scandinavia, Canary Islands, Madeira, Spain, Portugal, France, Ireland, the Channel Islands, South America and the Amazonian rainforest, Italy, North Africa, Iceland, China and New Zealand.
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