Stefan Buczacki

Stefan Buczacki
Natural Historian,Gardening and Political History

Distinguished Speaker Professor Stefan Buczacki has been lecturing on cruise ships for over 30 years and says that of his many achievements as media gardening personality, internationally recognised scientist, naturalist and political biographer, the one of which he is proudest is to have been voted among the 100 people of Polish descent who have contributed most to the life and culture of Britain - a list on which he appears, alphabetically, between Bonnie Prince Charlie and King Cnut! Stefan is probably Britain's most experienced media gardening personality with a huge following of devoted fans who appreciate his knowledge, authority and easy, relaxed style of communicating. He was educated at the Universities of Southampton (First Class Honours in Botany) and Oxford (Doctorate in Forestry) and as well as being a media celebrity, he is also a scientist with an international reputation and has received accolades, honorary degrees and awards for his research, writing, broadcasting and photography.He has been honoured with the Veitch Memorial Medal in gold of the Royal Horticultural Society and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Garden Media Guild. Stefan has published almost sixty books on gardening and natural history - many of them standard reference works and most translated into several languages. He is believed to be Britain's second biggest selling gardening author and has also written for most national newspapers and leading magazines. A major natural history book, the encyclopaedic Fauna Britannica described the entire wild animal life of the British Isles, from sponges to mammals, and its role in British culture. HRH The Prince of Wales wrote the Foreword and the book was short listed for British Illustrated Book of the Year. Stefan has special expertise in fungi and is Past-President of the British Mycological Society, the largest learned society in the world devoted to their scientific study and he has recently published the most comprehensive field guide to British fungi ever written. Among his numerous broadcasting achievements, Stefan appeared most famously on BBC Radio's 'Gardeners' Question Time' as panellist and chairman for a unique unbroken run of over 600 broadcasts in twelve years, just part of a portfolio of well over 1,000 radio programmes. When he left 'Gardeners' Question Time' the event prompted leading articles in The Times, Guardian and Telegraph. For three years he presented 'Classic Gardening Forum' on Classic FM and devised, wrote and presented six series of the hugely successful programme 'The Gardening Quiz' on Radio 4. He has also appeared on or presented around 1,000 television programmes, many featuring his own garden, on every British terrestrial television channel – 'Gardeners' World', 'The Chelsea Flower Show'; he has done them all - and has presented several series on satellite stations. He is Patron or Trustee of numerous gardening and science-related organisations. Stefan is an accomplished photographer, holding the Associateship of the Royal Photographic Society and has illustrated many of his own books. Less expectedly, Stefan is also deeply interested in modern British political history and is recognised as an authority on Winston Churchill, his social circle and his home at Chartwell. His book Churchill & Chartwell was described by the International Churchill Center in Washington DC as …a thoroughly indispensable standard work, as important for the library of any serious Churchill student as the memoirs of close associates. He has recently published the biography of Venetia Stanley, close friend of Prime Ministers, politicians and the rich and powerful, pioneer aviator and a woman at the centre of political and social life for much of the first half of the twentieth century. It has already received serious praise from such eminent authorities as Philip Ziegler and John Julius Norwich. Stefan's latest book is Earth to Earth - a natural history of churchyards that has already aroused much interest and favourable comment. Stefan has travelled widely throughout the world and is always in demand as a speaker, consultant and expert witness. (click image for full size)

I do not do repeat lectures but tailor each talk to the ship and audience - for instance a wholly British audience may appreciate a different slant from an international one. Areas I cover are: Gardening, gardens and plants Sessions of Gardeners' Question Time Natural History in the broadest international sense Bio-geography, especially island biology and history of most parts of the world Winston Churchill and his circle and the socio-political life of Britain in the early twentieth century. Following is a selection of some talks I have given over the past few years:

Gardening and natural history

Tropical splendour - why the flowers of the Tropics look so different from those of Temperate climates

The cost of sugar - the history of the eastern Caribbean islands

More dead than the Dodo - the great lost birds of the Indian Ocean

Icon of extinction - the life and death of the Atlantic Great Auk

A picture is worth a thousand words - the history and beauty of flower painting

Plants in the extremes - how plants survive in very cold, windy and other extreme environments.

The remarkable world of lichens - extraordinary dual organisms that are so important in northern lands where they form a major food source for reindeer and other Arctic creatures.

The history and natural history of burial grounds [to tie in with visits to prehistoric and other archaeological sites]

The life of islands – how islands originate and how they are colonised by plants and animals

Seychelles, the Garden of Eden islands

The glory of the Fall - why the fall/autumn is so important for plants and animals

My garden - a source of pleasure, successes and failures

Q and A audience sessions of Gardeners' Question Time

Shakespeare and wildlife - the evidence from Shakespeare's plays of his countryside knowledge.

The Scottish Plant collectors - men who scoured the globe for new plants to enhance our gardens

Look, no flowers - the beauty of flowerless plants like ferns and mosses

Plant life among the ruins - the astonishing flora of archaeological sites

The Mediterranean for gardeners

The travels of Charles Darwin

Churchill and Africa

Icon of Extinction - the life and death of the Great Auk

Remarkable things - the fascinating world of lichens

Mayotte and the Comoros – the Indian Ocean's best kept secrets

Isles of dogs - the history and natural history of the Canary Islands

Our gardens' debt to Japan

West meets East - the plant collectors enter Japan's botanical treasure house

Symbolism and practicality in the Japanese garden

Rice, rice and more rice - the history and natural history of one of the world's great food crops

Charles Darwin - man and genius

Darwin and South America

Where on earth? - the origin of our garden plants

Fruits and Nuts - the origin and story behind the many exotic fruits and other products we find in our supermarkets

From the hanging gardens of Babylon to Kew - Botanic gardens - havens of beauty and science

Plants, symbolism and pilgrimage

The Caribbean - a treasure house of natural history

The Spanish invader and other terrifying plants - how alien plants have taken over many of the world's habitats

I hate those Latin names - an entertaining account of why plants have so-called Latin names and what they mean

Socio-political history

Britain's most unfaithful prime minister - the extraordinary private life of H H Asquith

Churchill and Cuba

Churchill and Chartwell - how one of the best known and best loved of England's gardens came about

For ever on the move - the numerous homes of Winston and Clementine Churchill

'Many after-dinner diversions of which the commonest was adultery' - the upper class social scene in the twenties and thirties

ExpertiseCelebrity & Showbusiness Gardens, Gardening, Winston Churchill
Cruise Experience as Speaker/TutorThirty years with Cunard, P & O, Swan Hellenic, Voyages of Discovery, Noble Caledonia, Silversea, Saga, Fred. Olsen, Voyages to Antiquity, Hebridean


Author / Writer
Wildlife & Nature
Gardens & Gardening