John Little at Huntington Castle and Gardens

  • Gardeners are More Important than Designers – How Investing in People not Stuff could Change the World!

    John Little talks on the vital role of gardeners in transforming garden spaces, challenging  conventional ideas about landscaping and garden design.

    The innovative founder of the Grass Roof Company believes that the true value in gardening lies not in expensive materials or elaborate designs but in the dedication and skill of the gardeners themselves. John explains how prioritising people over products can lead to more sustainable, resilient and beautiful environments.

    Drawing on his extensive experience, including Clapton Park in London, John discusses how investing in gardeners’ skills and knowledge can have a profound impact on communities, biodiversity and overall well-being. He shares practical examples and insights on how this approach can lead to greener, healthier spaces that benefit everyone.

    Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from John Little and discover how a focus on people can create lasting and positive change. Be inspired to rethink your approach to gardening and design, and learn how you can contribute to a better world through the power of plants and people.

Date: 03 August 2024

Start Date: 03 August 2024

Start Time: 3:00 pm

End Date: 03 August 2024

End Time: 3:00 pm

Time: 3:00 pm

Admission: €19.50. Ticket includes admission to Huntington Castle Gardens. House tours available 2 – 5 p.m. with last tour at 5 p.m. Cost €12.95 per adult, child < 12 €6.00, concessions €11, infant free, family (2 adults and 2 children) €30. To book a house tour in advance visit or book at the tea room upon arrival. Tea room serves delicious cakes, and speciality teas and coffees.

Directions: Y21 K237. From Dublin/Waterford exit the M9 at junction 5 for N80 Rosslare. Continue along the N80 through the village of Ballon. Approx. 4 km from Ballon take a left turn (clearly signposted) to reach the village of Clonegal. The entrance gates to Huntington Castle are at the lower end of the village, adjacent to the Sha-Roe Restaurant.

Type of event: This event takes place indoors with the opportunity to view Huntington Castle Gardens after conclusion of the talk.

  • About John Little

    John argues against long standing protocol within public space and horticulture. He suggests structural complexity and topography is overlooked in landscape design and is more important than plant choice for driving biodiversity. Since starting the Grass Roof Company in 1998 he has designed and built over 400 small green-roof buildings, combining deep biodiverse green-roofs with walls of breeding and hibernation space.

    John argues that we must invest in gardeners rather than more infrastructure. After 18 years caring for the greenspace on a social housing estate (Clapton Park) in London he has written a sustainable grounds maintenance contract that does just that.

    He questions our obsession with specifying topsoil in all new projects, especially on highways and new developments. Habitat trials at his home include a garden designed with spoil from the local road widening scheme and industrial and construction waste.

    In 2008 John launched a range of small green roof shelters based on shipping containers and designed portable structures including bike and bin storage.


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