Daphne Ledward (born 1945 in Bradford) is an English garden designer and author and former gardening presenter for the BBC.
She was born in Bradford in West Yorkshire. At the age of three she moved to Essex. Her parents separated and she moved with her mother to south Lincolnshire. She attended Stamford High School, then a direct grant grammar school. She left at the end of the lower sixth. She had originally wanted to become a vet, but in the 1960s such careers were not encouraged for women. She began training as a quantity surveyor at the College of Estate Management via a correspondence course. However, she felt this was not the right course for her. She had some time in hospital, and decided that she wanted to work in the social occupations. She became a Welfare Assistant with Kesteven County Council. Six months later she became District Welfare Officer for South Kesteven. In 1971 there was a reorganisation in administration of the department she was working for and she decided to leave. She wrote short stories for women's and teenage magazines.
She undertook a gardening correspondence course, and having got to know a nurseryman in 1972, she started her own business in landscape gardening. She originally wanted to design the gardens and let customers plant and change the landscaping themselves, but customers generally wanted the whole thing done for them. In 1973 she worked for Brian Ellis Mailing Services in Bedford, and in 1974 she started her own business, which sent plants by direct mail. The mail services were provided by the Bedford company. The company was not as lucrative as hoped for, so Ledward concentrated on landscape gardening.
Broadcasting and publications
In 1980 Ledward became the gardening presenter for the newly established BBC Radio Lincolnshire. In 1982 she became the first female panel-member of Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time, and in 1988 she answered gardening questions with Geoffrey Smith on Gardeners' Direct Line Postbag for BBC Leeds. In 2001 she presented her own TV series, Garden Hopping, seen on BBC2. In 2002 she was co-presenter with Joe Swift of Grow to Eat. Her BBC career ended in 2009.
She has written gardening books, including The Idiot Gardener's Handbook.
She married Anthony Twitchett in Bourne, Lincolnshire in 1976. Since 1992 she has been married to John Hands, who was a sound engineer for BBC Midlands. They have a thatched cottage in Surfleet Seas End near Spalding, and keep greyhounds.