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News 2014

BBC TV Presenter James Wong to talk plants at UCC

7 Jan 2014
BBC TV presenter and botanist James Wong will deliver a free public lecture at UCC on Thursday, January 23rd

BBC TV science presenter and botanist James Wong will visit University College Cork this month to deliver a free, public talk entitled “Grow your own way”.

UPDATE (22nd January 2014): This event is now full and registration has ceased. Due to overwhelming demand, the event will be streamed LIVE on the web from 7pm on Thursday 23rd January. To view, click here.

The talk is specifically designed for those interested in a studying plants, plant science and horticulture but is sure to be of broad interest to those interested in the natural world and plants in general. This event will take place on Thursday 23rd January, starting at 7pm in Boole Lecture Theatre Three at University College Cork. The event is free and open to all but, as space is limited, pre-registration is required.

James Wong is a Royal Botanic Garden, Kew-trained botanist, BBC broadcaster & internationally best-selling author. His award-winning TV show 'Grow Your Own Drugs' became the UK's top rated gardening series, broadcasting around the world and translated into 6 languages. He is also the youngest ever panellist on Radio 4's ' Gardener's Question Time' & one of the UK's top garden designers, having won 5 RHS medals including two golds at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Speaking ahead of his visit to Cork, Wong outlined his motivation for delivering the talk:

“A career in horticulture, and plants in general is often completely unfairly dismissed as being unacademic, mundane & poorly paid. But that is simply not true! In reality horticulture can be one of the most dynamic, creative & rewarding industries out there - with immense professional opportunities to earn a fantastic living. I'm living proof that any aspiring plant geek can get ahead & turn their passion into full-time profession”.

“I'm setting out on a tour of talks to set the record straight, revealing the huge range of opportunities out there & giving my personal tips and tricks on how to get ahead. This talk is a chance for anyone who is studying (or just considering studying) horticulture to learn from an insider's perspective & ask the burning questions that Google has failed to answer" said Wong.

James’ talk is organised by the Centre of Organic Horticulture (COHR) at the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES), University College Cork.  BEES is home to one of Ireland’s plant-based degree programmes – ; and Europe’s only MSc in Organic Horticulture, which is coordinated by COHR.

Speaking about the upcoming talk, BEES lecturer and Deputy Director of COHR Eoin Lettice stressed how important the study of plants is: “From their impact on human health; their importance for feeding a world of 9 billion people by 2050 and their role as renewable energy sources, plants are crucial to human society”.

“We’re delighted that James has chosen Cork as the location for his only Irish talk in this winter tour and would encourage those who might be interested in studying plants – either at undergraduate or postgraduate level to attend, as well as welcoming the general public. This is about inspiring a next generation of horticulturists, botanists and plant scientists. These professionals have a crucial role to play in areas like food security, climate change and protecting biodiversity” said Lettice.


Download a poster for this event here >> James Wong Poster

Event Details:

Date: Thursday 23rd january 2014

Start time: 7pm

Duration: 1.5 hours approx

Location: Boole Lecture Theatre 3, University College Cork.

The event is free and open to all but, as space is limited, pre-registration is required. To register, go to



School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences

BEES comprises diverse specialities covering marine, terrestrial and fresh water environments and are recognised leaders in teaching and research across all our disciplines ranging from geology, earth and eenvironmental science to zoology, ecology and plant science. The School of BEES offer a range of undergraduate degree programmes, entry to which is via the CAO system and specifically the CK404 (Biological, Earth and Environmental Science) entry stream.

More details about BEES degree programmes, including the BSc Applied Plant Biology can be found at


Centre for Organic Horticulture

COHR was established in 2012 alongside the commencement of Europe’s only MSc in Organic Horticulture based at a newly established research and teaching facility at Liss Ard Estate, Skibbereen , Co. Cork.

Applications are now being accepted for the MSc programme due to start in early September 2014. The first group of students to graduate will do so during the upcoming UCC Spring conferring in February.

More details about COHR and the MSc Organic Horticulture can be found at


More details: Eoin Lettice

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences

An Scoil Eolaíochtaí Bitheolaíocha, Domhaneolaíocha agus Comhshaoil

Distillery Fields, North Mall, University College Cork, Ireland , T23 N73K.