Trees A Crowd


Dr Jo Elworthy: Living in Eden – how to leave the world better than you found it

Season 1, Ep. 21

Dr Jo Elworthy is a botanist and the director of interpretation at the Eden Project in Cornwall. She’s been involved with Eden since its inception, and has spent a great deal of time researching plantlife as well as creating books and films specialising in botany and horticulture. A chance encounter with the man who dreamt up the Eden Project, Sir Tim Smit, led her to take the biggest risk of her career – and the best decision of her life. The sounds of robins frame this conversation as Dr Elworthy sets out to prove that we can leave the world better than we found it, armed with many captivating anecdotes about the trail that led her to paradise. Jo also talks about her collection of four-leaf clovers, how to make art inspired by cyanobacteria, filling her father’s Jaguar with winkles, and why moss is as spectacular as David has been telling people it is for the past 30 years!

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Dr Helen Pheby: Sculpture for sheep, and rhubarb trains; the place ‘Extraordinary’ can happen

Season 2, Ep. 7
Dr Helen Pheby is the head of curatorial programmes at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Set in 500 acres of historic parkland, the park has provided a “gallery without walls” for artists such as Elisabeth Frink, Auguste Rodin, Giuseppe Penone, and local legends such as Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. Helen has collaborated on projects in Iraqi Kurdistan, South Africa, India, and even Barnsley! Born in the so-called ‘rhubarb triangle’, Helen reminisces over “the rhubarb express”, a train which ran from her village in Yorkshire to London, and muses over how magical it was being able to see the contrast between rural and urban environments. In this insightful conversation, Helen explains how she believes creativity and art is a human right, how the YSP was visited by Henry VIII, and how another Henry, Henry Moore, believed it was the job of artists to show people the natural world and subsequently designed artwork for sheep. She explains how the Sculpture Park aims to be inclusive, free from the barriers of social standing, wealth and a gender imbalance that art is often associated with. Subsequently, the YSP is now home to brain-controlled helicopters, women on horseback steeplechasing through the landscapes of the First World War, and all of this second to the migratory routes of the Great Crested Newt. In her own words: “We are places the extraordinary can happen.” For more information on this podcast, including David's thoughts following this interview, head to: