Blogs We Love

Here at Thompson & Morgan we love to check out other blogs. There are so many great allotment and gardening bloggers out there, it would be a shame not to share what they do with you – here are just a few of our favourites.

10 Brilliant Bird Watching Blogs

Fall back in love with our feathered friends, and get inspired by these birdy blogs.
Image: M.Zonderling/Unsplash


Whether you’re a committed twitcher, a seasoned birder or an occasional birdwatcher, following a selection of birding blogs is an excellent way to keep up with bird news and events and meet like-minded people.
We’ve scoured the Internet to bring you ten brilliant birding blogs. These people know their birds, tell a great yarn and share some excellent birding photos. Enjoy!

 

Birding Dad

‘Frank’ the Fieldfare, defending his patch in Jono’s Yorkshire back garden.
Image: Birding Dad

Ever suffered from gull blindness? Jono Leadley – AKA Birding Dad – did whilst visiting a snowbound Yorkshire nature reserve. Eventually he and mate Duncan both spotted an adult Med gull, only to discover they were watching two different birds!

Jono is a “Yorkshire nature geek” who loves nothing more than spending a few hours birding in his native county. When he’s not looking after the two kids or campaigning for wildlife, he’ll be found watching female Smews cavorting with goldeneyes or spotting an unexpected Caspian gull.

 

Black Audi Birding

Black-headed Gull photobombing two Med Gulls on Hayling Island.
Image: Black Audi Birding

“To visit a gull colony… is to be ceaselessly entertained by the constant activity of the birds, accompanied by a cacophony of cries”, writes Ewan Urquhart of Black Audi Birding following a visit to Hayling Island, on the South Coast of England. Friday birding has become a ritual for Ewan and partner Moth – the two regularly set off in the eponymous black Audi, looking for something of interest.

Ewan’s blog is full of poetic birding commentary and stunning photography, not just of English birds, but of those spotted on trips to exotic countries including the Seychelles and Colombia. Ewan will go to any length for a tick – check out his mammoth journey to spot an Amur Falcon in Cornwall last year.

 

Brian’s birding blog

Brian’s beautiful shot of a Red-backed Shrike.
Image: Brian’s birding blog

“If you get out there you might just see something,” is Brian Anderson’s motto. This Essex birder loves driving around the country with Dad and brother Jim, chasing birds and accumulating year ticks.

Brian’s blog is packed with beautiful photography, not just of common and rare birds, but also of butterflies and other wildlife spotted in our isles. And with an Arctic Warbler, a glossy Ibis and a Hoopoe among his photographs of rare birds spotted in Britain, there’s plenty to inspire everyone to do as he says and get out there.

 

Diaries of a Cheshire Wildlife Watcher

Nesting grebe in the Cheshire sunshine.
Image: Diaries of a Cheshire Wildlife Watcher

“I started this blog so I could share my wildlife encounters and stories with other nature lovers around the world,” says Mike Mottram of Diaries of a Cheshire Wildlife Watcher blog. More than just a birding site, keen kayaker Mike shares photographs and film of everything from birds to badgers and fish to funghi.

An expert in wildlife photography, Mike’s blog is a great resource for those wanting to perfect their own techniques. Read all about his adventures with a homemade wristcam, and the drone that he modified into a remote WIFI camera.

 

Cornwall Birding

Close encounter with a Firecrest in Nanjizal, Cornwall.
Image: Cornwall Birding

“Stithians Reservoir is undoubtedly the best area of open water for birdwatching in the county,” writes Paul Freestone of Cornwall Birding. If you live in or around Cornwall, or would love to explore the birding prospects of that county, this is the blog for you. Paul has been a bird-watching tour guide and bird ringer for over 30 years and his blog provides daily sighting information and birding site guides.

But there’s more. With an extensive common and rare birds photo gallery, a complete county list since 1950, and tidal and weather information, this is your go-to site for birding in Cornwall.

 

Dan Rouse

Red Kite spotted in Rhayader, Wales.
Image: Dan Rouse

“It’s always worth checking through wintering flocks of wildfowl for some abnormal or unusual birds,” comments Dan Rouse on her eponymous blog. The hybridisation of wildfowl fascinates this young birder: “how certain species will consider breeding with another species”. Dan’s spot turned out to be a Eurasian Wigeon crossed with a Northern Shoveler.

Her love of birds started early when, at age five, her family built a bird table for their Swansea back garden. Now she writes and speaks on her favourite subject in print and on local radio, with a special interest in encouraging the next generation of birders.

 

Frodsham Marsh BirdBlog

Great White Egret at Frodsham Marsh, Cheshire.
Image: Frodsham Marsh BirdBlog

“The sky was full of the song of Skylark and Meadow Pipits which were performing their parachuting display,” writes birder Bill on the Frodsham Marsh BirdBlog. Bill started the site in 2012 as “a virtual replacement for the trusty old birdlog that was situated on the marsh”.

With almost daily posts from birders, this blog will delight and inspire those who want to investigate the Cheshire hotspot. And counting Green-winged Teal and European Honey Buzzards among top spots, you might want to head to Frodsham yourself.

 

Penny’s Hot Birding and Life!

Spotted! A rare Citril Finch at Burnham Overy Dunes, Norfolk.
Image: Penny’s Hot Birding and Life!

“I have seen several MEGAS in Norfolk inc: Ivory Gull, Fan-tailed Warbler, Thrush Nightingale, Pine Bunting, Stilt Sandpiper… Black-headed Bunting, Alder Flycatcher, Collared Flycatcher, Great Snipe, Citril Finch to name but a few!” writes blogger Penny Clarke.

Daughter of Peter Clarke, founder of the Norfolk Ornithologists’ Association, Penny’s birding pedigree is second-to-none. Follow her blog for daily Norfolk bird news, national mega news, her own birding experiences and anecdotes from day-to-day life.

 

The Deskbound Birder

Pine Bunting spotted in Mongolia.
Image: The Deskbound Birder

“My twitching ‘career’ was relatively short… I realised that crowds were not for me and quickly shunned twitching for the far more honourable pastime of looking for my own rares,” writes Simon Colenutt, AKA The Deskbound Birder.

Since the birth of his son and development of his business, Simon is not so deskbound these days. Birding in the UK is generally split between Hampshire and Cornwall, but he’s also an enthusiastic foreign birder. Follow his blog for accounts of birding trips to places as far flung as Mongolia and the Andaman Islands. You’ll be more than a little bit envious.

 

Too Lazy to Weed

A grumpy Redwing in Nicky’s garden.
Image: Too Lazy to Weed

“I’ve nothing against gulls, but I don’t think I can afford the seed bill if they start regularly hoovering up the bird food!” writes Nicky, the blogger behind Too Lazy to Weed. She’s talking about a large gull which availed itself of her bird table during the recent cold snap.

Organic gardening and lazy weeding has resulted in Nicky and husband Chris inadvertently creating a little nature reserve in their Worcestershire back garden. They capture some great stills and video via various remote cameras including pretty Goldcrests, greedy gulls and the grumpy Redwing pictured above.

 

And that’s the end of our roundup of brilliant birding blogs. We hope you’ve found some new sites to add to your list of favourites. If you’ve got any birdy photos you want to share, we’d love to see them over on our Facebook page. 

Grow your own meals – these 9 Instagrammers will show you how

These Instagrammers will make you both hungry and inspired for their delicious plot-to-plate creations.
Image: Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Food delivered straight from plot to plate is the freshest, healthiest and most delicious food you’ll ever eat. With an allotment, veg patch, or even just a couple of window boxes, you can grow your own meals and live your version of the good life. Whether you’re just starting out, or are already a seasoned plot-to-plater, here are nine excellent Instagrammers you’ll want to follow.

@locallyseasonal

Using up last year’s frozen rhubarb before this season’s crop arrives.
Image: @locallyseasonal

‘Zero food miles and knowledge that no chemicals have been used, results in seriously tasty seasonal produce. There are so many reasons to grow your own!’ writes GB, the allotmenter behind @locallyseasonal. And she should know – her Instagram feed is full of delicious meals including wild garlic and potato soup, fruit leather, and a dozen-and-one ideas for pea shoots.

In the four years since first taking on her allotment in Newcastle upon Tyne, GB’s plot has tripled in size and her food-growing knowledge has skyrocketed. Follow her Instafeed for seven reasons to eat food that’s in season and learn how to take back control of the food you eat.

@the_seasonal_table

Rainbow chard to brighten up any winter’s day.
Image: @the_seasonal_table

Like the sound of breakfast pancakes served with homemade lemon curd and pale yellow primroses from the garden? How about onion, leek and bay soup served with sourdough toast and a glass of home-pressed dry cider? Hearty and wholesome food like this is beautifully prepared and photographed by The Seasonal Table.

Tom and Kathy are to thank for this dreamy Instafeed – two smallholders who have escaped the London rat race to follow their country-living dream. They now share a cottage, orchard and vegetable garden in rural Somerset with chickens, bees and some very cheeky geese.

@agentsoffield

Brussel Sprout slaw straight from the plot.
Image: @agentsoffield

Fancy a fresh and fruity way to prepare your sprouts?’ ask Sophie and Ade, AKA Agents of Field. Enter the bright and crunchy Brussel Sprout slaw, pictured above. Agents of Field has one mission: to save the planet ‘one forkful at a time.’ Follow this feed for inspiration on sustainable living from horticulturalist Ade, and more great recipes from chef Sophie.

With elderberry syrup to soothe you through colds and flu, and delights such as pumpkin and apple cake to provide post-gardening sustenance, there’s inspiration and comfort to be found in this Instagram account.

@rivercottagehq

Taking food straight from plot to plate at River Cottage HQ.
Image: @rivercottagehq

Fermenting is a perfect way of preserving seasonal gluts, bringing some colour & umami into winter meals and providing your gut with a microbial top up,’ says @rivercottagehq. This is the official Insta of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s real-food mecca on the Devon and Dorset border.

From historical marmalade tasting – trying out ‘Ancient Greek-inspired honey fermented marmalade’ and a ‘4th-century quince and white pepper’ version – to pickling beets and fermenting seaweed, the team of clever chefs at River Cottage are experts in turning harvest into heaven.

@lavenderandleeks

Katie loves cooking allotment soup in her little purple potting shed.
Image: @lavenderandleeks

You just can’t beat coming back into the house (or shed!) to a nice hot bowl of soup. Especially when it’s one you made yourself using home-grown vegetables,’ writes Katie of Lavender and Leeks. Join her as she works her allotment and turns her produce into healthy, wholesome food.

There are jams, cordials, soups and casseroles-a-plenty to admire and emulate, as well as daily posts keeping you up-to-date with Katie’s allotment plans. Make her your new growing buddy.

@cornishwildfood

Rock samphire harvested from the beach.
Image: @cornishwildfood

‘No need to wait for the blackberries, did you know you can eat bramble buds! Pick the small ones, the larger ones can be a bit chewy,’ advises Matt Vernon of Cornish Wild Food. Matt doesn’t have a plot as such. Nature is his pantry, and foraging is his art.

Working the Cornish coast, he is the expert in uncovering and cooking hedgerow treats. Try his wild saag aloo – made with three-cornered leeks and a sauce from the seeds of alexander, hogweed, rock samphire and wild fennel.

@stephaniehafferty

This delicious dip is a secret recipe.
Image: @stephaniehafferty

As a no-dig gardening guru, Stephanie Hafferty loves growing and cooking with seasonal, plant-based food. She’s a master of thrift and invention: ‘I make delicious plant based, affordable, seasonal healthy food (we worked out that a lunch of 16 different dishes plus homemade bread cost around 60p a head for 20 people!).’

Follow her bright and beautiful Instafeed for a thousand sensational salad ideas and advice on canning, dehydrating, making jams and chutneys, wine, oils, and a whole host of interesting alcoholic potions and vinegars from your homegrown produce.

@a_countrylife

Kate’s ‘breakfast of champions’.
Image: @a_countrylife

Cake always tastes better when it’s still warm from the oven and never lasts long in our house,’ writes Kate, a true country girl from Norfolk. Her Instagram, a_countrylife, charts the daily highs and lows of living in and from the countryside.

Kate describes herself as ‘always cooking’. So, alongside images of her adventures, including her beautiful cattle and friendly farm cat, you can guarantee there’s plenty of cake – including a rather delicious Seville-orange tart.

@theallotmentcook

Patio herbs to season every meal.
Image: @theallotmentcook

Can’t beat a hot cup of coffee on a cold day at the allotment,’ writes The Allotment Cook. Situated in glorious South Devon, @theallotmentcook posts pictures of veg growing successes and the resulting culinary masterpieces.

Just looking at this Instafeed is enough to make your mouth water. From leek risotto with smoked garlic and kale puree, to plum and nectarine pastry pinwheels, or potato curry – everything (apart from the rice) has been picked that day on the plot. There’s something to suit all tastebuds here!

 

We hope you’ve been inspired to get more from your plot onto your plate. If you post any of your homegrown meals on Instagram, we’d love you to share them with us.

Ten Wonderful Wildlife Blogs

Feel inspired – and grab your binoculars – for a chance to spot these elusive little creatures this summer
Image: Shutterstock

If you love nothing better than to “stand and stare” in the hope of spotting some of the UK’s phenomenal, but rather shy, wildlife, have we got a treat for you. Here’s our round up of some of the best UK wildlife blogs around. These blogs are filled with great wildlife stories, gorgeous photos, live webcam footage and more. Perfect to enjoy over a hot cuppa.

 

Wildlife Kate

Customers at Kate’s bird snack bar
Image: Wildlife Kate, sponsored by CJ Wildlife

With heaps of live webcam action, wildlife blogger Kate’s site is a must. Enjoy footage of birds stopping off at her purpose-built bird snack bar, and mice dropping into the festive mammal feeding station she built complete with Christmas tree and roaring log fire. It’s wildlife footage with a difference.

A wildlife expert with a passion for education, you’ll have seen Kate on Countryfile, Springwatch and more. Check out her photo of the foxes visiting her garden. There are two dogs and four vixens, three of which look pregnant. She hopes to be “filming cubs visiting around the middle of May… Exciting times.”

Brigit Strawbridge 

Female hairy-footed flower bee
Image: Brigit Strawbridge

Have you ever spotted a hairy-footed flower bee buzzing around your garden? Brigit says they’re smaller than a bumble bee and have a zippy, unbeelike flight path. But the telltale sign that alerted her was the characteristic high-pitched buzz of a female – like the one pictured – supping on the nectar from a snowdrop.

If you’d like to learn more about bees, Brigit’s blog is the place to go. Based in Dorset, she gives talks in the local area as well as further afield – like this lecture she gave at the National Honey Show. She’s also working on a book which is due to be published in Spring 2019. You can read a few excerpts from it on Brigit’s blog.

My Life Outside

‘Owls’ about that?
Image: My Life Outside

Having spent eight years searching for the elusive little owl – but never being lucky enough to spot one – Wales-based wildlife photographer Adam didn’t hold out much hope when he took his mum on an owl-spotting trip to Kenfig near Bridgend. But then his mum said, “isn’t that one over there?…”

Here you’ll find stunning wildlife photography from someone who likes nothing better than to grab his hiking gear and camera, and head out into the magnificent wilds of Wales. Check out Adam’s series of badger photos from Dinefwr Castle.

The Reremouse

The striking Noctule bat – with his beautiful auburn fur
Image: The Reremouse

How well do you know your bats? If you’d like to know more than you currently do, take a look at this blogger’s bat pages. It turns out the gingery Noctule (pictured above) is the UK’s biggest bat. And, up to 40g, he’s about the size of two small hamsters.

Passionate about wildlife, The Reremouse offers a great source of information to help you do your bit. Tempted to leave food out for local wildlife? “Anything you put out… needs to at least be similar to food sources that they would use in the wild – i.e. fruits, seeds and nuts.” And don’t feed too often or too regularly, or there’s a risk creatures could become dependent.

Why Watch Wildlife?

A black-headed gull was food for someone. But who dunnit?
Image: Why Watch Wildlife?

When visiting Scarborough, wildlife watcher David came across a bundle of feathers belonging to a hapless bird that had clearly become something’s lunch. But whose? Check out the clues that will set you on your way to discovering the likely identity of the killer.

David says that although we spend £200 million each year on attracting birds to our gardens, we’re actually spending less time in wild environments. If you’re in need of a little inspiration to help you step into the great outdoors, you’ve come to the right place.

British Wildlife Centre, Surrey

Meet Harry and Beatrix Otter!
Image: Matt Binstead, British Wildlife Centre, Surrey

Keep up to date with the comings and goings at the British Wildlife Centre at Lingfield in Surrey. Setup in 1997 by former farmer, David Mills, the centre now houses the UK’s finest collection of British native species.

You’ll love keeper Matt’s blog post about the centre’s two baby otters. Imaginatively named, Harry and Beatrix Otter (get it?), they’re already almost as big as their mother. Featuring a wealth of information about our British wildlife, the blog presents some wonderful photography too – our favourite is Susie the stoat in ermine.

Isle of May National Nature Reserve

Dolphins playing in the waters off the Isle of May
Image: Isle of May National Nature Reserve

What do you do when you’re trying to get off the Isle of May, and a grey seal decides to hide under your quad bike? That’s just one of the many stories in the life of this small island nature reserve, off the east coast of Scotland.

An island teeming with bird and animal life, the Isle of May hosts spectacular seabird colonies in the summer, while in the autumn it’s a breeding site for the biggest colony of Atlantic grey seals in Britain. Well worth a visit.

Butterfly Conservation

Butterflies actually benefit from a cold snap
Image: Wikipedia

Despite their fragile appearance, a winter cold snap can actually benefit butterflies and moths. In fact, the folk at Butterfly Conservation say some species including Large Skipper, Large White, Ringlet and Chalk Hill Blue, see their populations increase after a winter of extreme cold.

If you’d like to learn more about what you can do to encourage a wide range of butterflies and moths to visit your garden, this is the blog and website for you. One top tip: “Leave bare patches of wall, fence or earth, or place large stones in sunny borders, so butterflies can bask.” Check out the site for more like this.

Ben Porter Wildlife

Can you spot the plastic fragments amongst the plankton?
Image: Ben Porter Wildlife

Exeter Uni student Ben Porter spent a chilly day hauling nets near Falmouth in Cornwall. He and his fellow students were looking to establish the ubiquity of plastic and microfibres in the seawater samples they took. Sadly, Ben’s photos speak for themselves – a stark reminder of the scale of the problem facing us.

As well as flagging up environmental pollution issues, Ben, who studies conservation and ecology at the University of Exeter, is into birds, moths, mammals and more. He also takes a mean photo. Check out his spectacular snap of an oystercatcher in mid flight.

Mark Warnes Photography

Beavers have been reintroduced in Camarthenshire
Image: Mark Warnes Photography

Take a look at photographer Mark’s pics of the beavers at the Bevis Trust in Wales. This cornerstone species was hunted to extinction in the 1600s. The trust, which is working towards their reintroduction, hopes that bringing back them back to Welsh rivers will also help re-establish other species too, like otters, water voles, frogs and newts.

Mark’s blog offers a kaleidoscope of stunning nature photography, from the colourful puffins on Skomer Island to the badgers of Carmarthenshire. If you’re looking for some inspiration from the natural world, you’ve come to the right place.

 

Have we missed any of your favourite wildlife nature blogs? If so, do let us know by heading over to our Facebook page and leaving us a message.

 

Beautiful botanical crafts on Instagram

Check out these crafty creatives inspired by mother nature
Image: Marisa Morton / Unsplash

Nature has always provided inspiration to artists – whether writers or musicians, poets or makers. If an afternoon in your garden or a walk in the woods leaves you energised and buzzing with creativity, why not take up a botanical craft? Follow some of these nature-inspired makers on Instagram to get you started.

@wilddyegarden

Beautiful wild-dyed textiles made from foraged dyes
Image: @wilddyegarden

“The plants that are most familiar to us can be the ones that surprise us the most,” writes Flora Arbuthnott of Wild Dye Garden. Flora is a printmaker, forager, and natural dyer who can transform a whole host of plants like nettle, onion, rosemary and bay into beautiful textile dyes. Follow Flora as she experiments with madder and lady’s bedstraw. And be inspired to ditch fast fashion in favour of natural dyes.

@botanical_threads

Hues of walnut, pomegranate and madder create this divine patchwork
Image: @botanical_threads

Did you know that avocado stone makes a gorgeous blush-pink dye? Or that the crispy outer skins of an onion produce coppery, rusty tones? Alicia Hall is a botanical dyer and National-Trust gardener who creates beautiful hand-crafted textiles for her company Botanical Threads. Her Insta feed is a calming, beautiful space where chlorophyll meets cloth.

@lovely.greens

Lovely greens in Tanya’s homemade peppermint soap
Image: @lovely.greens

“Live simply, grow your own food, make natural things,” is the motto Tanya, of Lovely Greens, lives by. From her allotment on the Isle of Man, Tanya shares gardening tips, beauty recipes and herbal remedies. So if you’d like to try making Turkish delight from your own rose petals, or cedarwood and lemongrass soap, Tanya is your woman. Follow her on Instagram for these and other botanical secrets.

@rebeccadesnos

Rebecca’s favourite local dye-plants include nettle and hawthorne
Image: @rebeccadesnos

“I’m the happiest when making things with my hands,” writes natural dyer, Rebecca Desnos. Using vegan dyeing techniques – plant-based fabrics, soy milk as mordant, and plants and vegetable dyes – Rebecca creates beautiful textiles. She forages plants on walks with her son, and rescues avocado stones and pomegranate skins from her kitchen to add to her rainbow of natural colours. The results are breathtaking.

@kathryn_davey

Crumpled linen and peonies – two of Kathryn Davey’s favourite things
Image: @kathryn_davey

Peonies and crumpled linen are two of designer and natural dyer, Kathryn Davey’s favourite things. She learnt natural dyeing techniques whilst living in Northern California. Kathryn now designs luxury textiles in Dublin, using Irish linen, sustainably hand dyed in her studio. With muted hues of turmeric, iron, tea and madder, expect a feed as romantic and beautiful as those peonies.

@gentle_work

Christine’s gentle work is nature-inspired hand stitching
Image: @gentle_work

“Sometimes your soul just needs a few moments alone…”, writes Christine Kelly. This self-taught textile artist and mother gets few moments to herself but, when she does, she makes the most of them hand stitching beautiful images from nature onto vintage textiles. Christine’s feed is a delicate space to pause and reflect on the gentleness of her work.

@spindrift_crafts

Shetland wool dyed with dried heather
Image: @spindrift_crafts

“The plants that survive the diverse climate never cease to amaze,” writes Bunchy Casey of her Shetland home. Landscape and fauna inspire Bunchy in creating her hand-dyed wools and natural leaf prints. She uses heather, willow bark and alder cones in her work, dyeing wool from the hardy sheep that share her island home.

@silverpebble2

Drawing plants foraged on a winter’s walk
Image: @silverpebble2

“Collecting nature finds can help to divert your mind away from daily stresses,” writes Emma Mitchell. This illustrator, naturalist and designer-maker uses botanical crafts to boost her mood and combat depression through the long winter months. She gathers the natural treasures spied on her daily walks into beautifully curated collections – drawing, pressing, preserving and crafting them into works of art.

We hope you feel inspired to turn your hand to botanical crafts like these. Share your creations with us on Instagram or Facebook. And if you post plant-inspired art on your own feed, we’d love to see and share your work.

Nine wild plant lovers on Instagram

These Instagrammers will inspire you to get back to your roots and forage delicious food from the wilderness.
Image source – Shutterstock

If you love country walks, fine food, and communing with nature, give foraging a try. Whether you’re hunting for wild food or wildflowers, there’s plenty of hidden treasure in our countryside. And for a little support or inspiration, here are ten of the best wild-plant Instagrammers to follow.

@emmatheforager

Foraged salad with ground elder, violet leaves and garlic mustard
Image source: @emmatheforager

Carragheen (Irish moss seaweed) makes a great vegan alternative to gelatin, writes expert forager, designer and writer, Emma Gunn. This “all-round plant guru” uses the seaweed to set her coconut panna cotta. Emma leads foraging walks and lunches in and around Cornwall. Understandably, seaweed is often on the menu, as is sea buckthorn, from which she makes a delicious-looking cheesecake and a rather cheeky gin!

@handmade_apothecary

Jelly-ear fungus is said by some to be great for adding texture to soups, gravies and stocks
Image source – @handmade_apothecary

Did you know that nutty flavoured hawthorn makes a great anxiety-reducing tea, or that elderflower cordial can bring down a temperature? The Handmade Apothecary is bursting with traditional remedies and herbal lore. Follow

Medical herbalists Kim and Vicky as they share their wild-plant knowledge. “Our aim is to help others to re-establish a bond with nature and use plants and natural ingredients for health, home and self-care,” say the pair.  That self-care extends to foraging safety too. They’re careful to let you know to never consume a plant or mushroom from the wild unless you are 100% of its ID”. Wise words.

@wildflowerhour

Early marsh orchids can be found across Britain and Ireland
Image source – @wildflowerhour

“Feeling a bit grey and miserable? There really is no better antidote than flooding the internet with wildflowers every weekend,” says Wild Flower Hour. Join the hundreds of people who share photos of flowers found growing wild in Britain and Ireland every Sunday, using the eponymous hashtag: #wildflowerhour. With a weekly podcast and a bevy of experts eager to help with identification, this could soon become your new weekend ritual.

@fathenforager

Beautiful, edible chanterelle and amethyst deceiver foraged in Cornwall
Image source – @fathenforager

“Never take any chances with the carrot (apiaceae) family…..it’s not worth the risk. If you don’t know what it is don’t eat it,” warns Caroline Davey of Fat Hen wild cookery school. She is a master forager, leading wild food weekends and ‘forage, cook, feast’ days around the beautiful county of Cornwall. Follow her on Instagram for mouthwatering recipes like nettle pasta ravioli or hake wrapped in kelp, and for sound foraging advice – like what to do with late-season rock samphire.

@foragefinefoods

Delicious za’atar with marjoram, sumac and bergamot, foraged in Herefordshire
Image source – @foragefinefoods

Elderberry balsamic, hawberry ketchup and rose-petal preserve are just some of the delicacies foraged and produced by Liz Knight of Forage Fine Foods. Liz also teaches wild cookery courses and sells her own range of wild flavourings inspired by the countryside of rural Herefordshire. Follow her on Instagram for tips like adding ladysmock into apple cider vinegar or cooking lavender leaves with peas.

@totallywilduk

Turkey-tails mushroom make a good natural chewing gum
Image source – @totallywilduk

Immune-boosting turkey-tails mushroom can be turned into a delicious broth or a forager’s chewing gum, says James Wood of  the UK’s only Ofqual accredited foragers, Totally Wild UK. James has spent years developing his knowledge of all things wild and runs foraging and cooking courses in the North of England.

If you fancy tapping (and cooking with) birch sap, distilling troublesome knotweed into a tasty jam, or eating roasted dandelion roots, this is the Instagram account to follow. And if you want to dig even deeper, check out James’ book, The Forager’s Cookbook.

@the_wild_room

Salty fingers – a delicious Cornish succulent
Image source – @the_wild_room

Steer clear of wild chervil unless you’re a seasoned forager, advises Mike de Stroumillo of The Wild Room: “This charming wild herb is ubiquitous but has a handful of dodgy lookalikes”. Mike (AKA Mushroom Mike) is an expert forager and supplier of fungi and other rare treats to fine-dining restaurants. His Instagram account will introduce you to delicacies such as bearded milk-mushrooms, pine-needle tea, and salty fingers.

@foragerltd

 

Garlic-fried toothed wrack with roast squash and black pudding
Image source – @foragerltd

“The forager’s eyes are always open,” says Miles Irving of @foragerltd. When it comes to sourcing the tastiest wild ingredients, these guys are true pros, exercising their expert eyes for a number of high-end restaurants. Follow Forager for exotic wild-food recipes including: forager soup – made with sargassum stock, three cornered garlic and lacto-fermented ramsons – and garlic-fried toothed wrack

@edulis_wildfood

Goodies collected on one of Lisa’s foraging courses
Image source – @edulis_wildfood

A super-low tide means only one thing to Lisa Cutcliffe of Edulis Wild Food: “time to go spooting!!” Spoots, or razor clams are only accessible at these precious times of the year. Lisa has been foraging since childhood and now describes herself as a wild-food foraging tutor and “all-round mushroom nut”. Follow her Insta for such treats as truffle-honey vodka, foraged toffee apples, and aelder and stout chocolate cake.

With spring almost in the air, now’s the time to dig out your walking boots and get foraging with the best of them. If you know of any wild plant Instagram accounts we should follow, please let us know via our Facebook page or Instagram account.

10 green-fingered allotmenteers on Instagram

For these amazing allotmenteers, it’s a way of life…
Image: Shutterstock

Are you a proud allotment cultivator? Or do you have your name down on the waiting list? If you’d like to learn a little more about how to get the most from your plot, these allotment Instagrammers are a green-fingered bunch whose photo journals are guaranteed to delight, educate and inspire.

Little_Leicester_Lottie

Homegrown tomatoes ready to be sun dried
Image: Little_Leicester_Lottie

About 3 hours on gas mark one should just about roast your tomatoes for long enough to make Lesley’s fab garlic and herb sun-dried tomatoes. A former teacher, wedding planner and allotmenteer par excellence, Lesley’s growing adventures are worth following – check out her highly original melon holders – the ideal support for swelling fruit.

My_little_lotty

February snowdrops
Image: My_little_lotty

Looking for some bumble bee-friendly plantings for your garden or allotment this season? My_little_lotty’s borage is a good bet – and you don’t necessarily need a greenhouse to bring it on. This instagrammer says her seedlings are doing well in the spare room. Looking for a longer read? Don’t forget to check out My_little_lotty’s allotment blog.

Annas_goodlife

Anna’s allotment companions
Image: Annas_goodlife

How do you get a sickly hedgehog to uncurl? Find out how Anna nursed her underweight garden visitor back to rude health with her blow-by-blow pictorial account of “Hogatha’s” treatment. One Lhasa Apso dog, three hens, four quail, and an allotment combine to make up Anna’s little corner of the good life, not to mention the bees, who for reasons unknown, seem to have made their home under their hive.

The crochet gardener

Isabel’s garden looking its best in June
Image: The crochet gardener

What do you do when you’ve got to say goodbye to your allotment? Easy – Isabel, aka, “The crochet gardener” is simply boxing up all her favourite plants and taking them with her as she makes the move from Wigan to Wales. When she’s not busy in the garden or allotment, this greenfingered seamstress is creating unique allotment-inspired crochet pieces – you’ll love the one with the rhubarb.

Wellies and wheelbarrows

A winter harvest to brings some colour to a grey day
Image: Wellies and wheelbarrows

“Does anyone else struggle with weeds around/under raspberries” asks Emily of Wellies and Wheelbarrows? From adding wood chips to leaving the mess to do its own thing, you’ll find some great solutions here. And when she’s not in the allotment, Emily’s a dab hand in the kitchen too – check out her delicious looking rosemary and lemon shortbread – the perfect pick-me-up for the weary gardener. Enjoy with a well-earned cuppa.

The veggie chronicles uk

This year, the veggie chronicles will have a chili flavour
Image: The veggie chronicles uk

Crop rotation helps keep your soil in fine fettle – which is why the veggie chronicler has come up with a scheme for one of her plots. She says I find it helps me to plan what seeds i need to sow and check my seed stash as we draw nearer to spring.” Some good ideas here to keep you interested – like her Growlight garden which is all set for bringing on her precious chilli seedlings.

Shropshire gardener

A carrot with “crossed legs”
Image: Shropshire gardener

Want to help keep the birds fed during the winter months? Save your summer flowerheads, says the Shropshire gardener – it’s a cost-effective and attractive way to look after garden birds, plus keeping some seeds aside guarantees you’ll have plenty of blooms in your borders next year too. A lovely mix of fruit, flowers and veggies, there’s something for everyone here.

Allotment_23

“Enjoying every moment of harvests like these” says the holder of Allotment_23
Image: Allotment_23

Looking for some recipe ideas for your home-grown carrots? This instagrammer enjoys hers roasted with chicken thighs in paprika and cumin”, along with some cabbage and peas she grew earlier and put in the freezer. As-well-as plenty of harvest pics to inspire, you’ll find some excellent recipe ideas here – like this roasted treat inspired by none-other-than the Hairy Bikers – a pumpkin tray bake to die for.

Plot_37

This Instagrammer hopes the frost stays away
Image: Plot_37

“There were actual “ooohs” when we unearthed it this morning,” says the owner of Plot 37. She’s talking about the rather marvellous parsnip she dug up. She says she’s more pleased than is reasonable, but it looks pretty big to us. An allotmenteer from SW London, here’s proof that you can grow your own even in the big smoke – the hens recently began laying again too. Well-fed, they pounce whenever there’s digging happening.

Greedy_gardens

One gardener who talks the “torc”, and wears it too
Image: Greedy_gardens

Pretty cool glass gems are coming good now. I may have a go at making popcorn for the chidlers!” says dad of two, Dave Graney. We’d say his multi-coloured maize is “amazing”. To say Dave’s allotment is productive is an understatement to put it mildly. Check out his incredible haul of squashes – they’re so big and bountiful, his boy has to move them by JCB!

Is there a fab allotment Instagram account we’ve missed? Tell us where to look by visiting our Instagram or Facebook page and leaving us a message.

6 inspiring garden blogs

inspiring gardens

Some gardens are made to inspire – and here are some inspiring garden blogs
Image: shutterstock

Some gardens and gardening blogs are just too good to not to share, which is why we’ve scoured the web to bring you a bunch of superb blogs that showcase some really special gardens and truly dedicated garden owners and keepers. From the Sussex Weald to craggy Cumbria, here are eight extraordinary garden blogs.

The anxious gardener

anxious gardener tulip tree

The tulip tree in spectacular autumn display
Image: The anxious gardener

Here’s your chance for sneaky peek at not one, but two five-acre plus private gardens – one in the South Downs National Park, the other in the Sussex Weald. This charming and well-written blog is gardener David’s way of bringing these enchanting but rather secluded spaces to a wider audience.

You’ll love David’s post about the tulip tree, which having been planted too close to the house in Sussex, presents a pain in the proverbial for the man tasked with clearing the gutters. But every autumn, this large, but unremarkable tree has a chance to shine – and with his wonderful photography, David does his subject full justice.

Growing family

growing family gardening

Make every minute in the garden count
Image: Growing family

Time starved? From lifting your patio containers to prevent winter water-logging, to a reminder to deadhead your summer flowers, blogger Catherine’s 10 minute gardener  series gives you quick, manageable jobs to help you keep on top of your garden when life’s hectic and crazy.

An account of her gardening life which revolves around growing her family as well as her plants, you’ll love reading about Catherine and co’s latest ventures in and out of the garden. From what to look for when choosing outdoor clothing for kids, to family-friendly holiday activities, there’s something for everyone here.

The middle sized garden

middle sized garden

The magic of an overgrown garden
Image: The middle sized garden

“A middle-sized garden doesn’t usually have a drive, and vistas and views tend to be of next door’s garage,” says gardener, author, blogging expert and writing coach, Alexandra Campbell. But that doesn’t mean a middling-sized patch can’t be something special – which is the raison d’etre of this fun, friendly, info-packed blog.

Renovating a garden, and wondering whether to bulldoze the lot? Don’t says Alexandra: There’s a “magic about it that a brand new garden can never hope to achieve.” Take a look at architect, Tom Croft’s extraordinary garden renovation – we guarantee inspiration awaits.

Dinchope diary

dinchope windfall for birds

Leave some of your windfall fruit for the birds
Image: Dinchope

Want to bring more wildlife to your garden but don’t know quite where to start? Let Jenny Steel be your guide. A plant ecologist and author with over 30 years experience as a wildlife gardener, she certainly knows how to make your garden a hotspot for birds and other wildlife.

About thirty percent of us put out seed and peanut mixes to help keep the birds fed during the winter, but do remember give your feeders and bird tables a clean from time to time, Jenny says. “There are several bacterial and viral diseases that affect our birds and these can be passed from one to another in their droppings or by close contact.”

DIY garden

diy garden butterflies

Grow the right plants and the butterflies will come
Image: DIY garden

Help save the butterflies, says Clive Harris – “Gardener, blogger, outdoor enthusiast, husband, dad, and all the rest!” That’s because three quarters of British butterfly species and a quarter of moths have declined over the last 40 years.

Help by growing butterfly-friendly plants, like nettles, bird’s-foot trefoil, nasturtium, garlic mustard, ladies smock, long coarse grasses, oak, elm, holly, and ivy, says Clive. And that’s just for starters – checkout his post for a wealth of information about the lives of our fluttery friends. DIY garden does exactly what it says on the tin – everything you need to help your garden grow.

Growing nicely

borage growing nicely

Jill looks forward to enjoying her Pimms with a sprig of borage in it
Image: Growing nicely

New to gardening and wondering how to harden off your seedlings for planting out? Find an area of dappled shade, says blogger Jill, and, on an overcast day, put your young plants out for a couple of hours before bringing them back inside. Repeat over the next two weeks, gradually extending the outdoor time until the plants adapt to life in the garden.

Blogger Jill is a professional gardener, garden designer, and instructor, and now creates this wonderfully informative blog which showcases her garden, and gardening adventures, from garden visits to how to grow food for the plate. You’ll love her recipe for elderflower cordial.

Have we missed any fab gardening blogs you love to follow? Do let us know what we’re missing by popping over to our Facebook page and leaving us a message.

10 professional gardeners show how it’s done

pro gardener pruning

There’s more to pro gardening than just secateurs
Image: shutterstock

Looking for a bit of gardening inspiration? It’s always nice to know that the hints and tips your favourite garden bloggers pass on are backed up by some verifiable gardening know how. We’ve scoured the web to bring you the scribblings of ten professional gardeners – blogs from green-fingered pros with skills and knowledge to share.

Jack Wallington

jack wallington

Pro gardener Jack takes some inspiration from the Lost Gardens of Heligan
Image: Jack Wallington

Jack’s rock garden may consist of just the one rock – and not even a real rock at that, but it’s worth a look because it’s just the sort of quirky personal growing project you’d expect from an RHS qualified horticulturist who specialises in creating contemporary gardens with unique plantings.

The Sempervivums are just about hanging in there but what’s really required is a bit of moss to provide the growing media for other plant species to grow into. An entertaining and informative blog, there’s so much interesting reading here, a quick visit could last hours.

Driftwood by sea

geoff stonebanks open garden

Geoff’s stunning garden, with the sea as a backdrop
Image: Geoff Stonebanks

If you’d like to see how someone takes a patch of barren, sloping seaside garden and turns it into a major attraction on the National Open Gardens Scheme calendar, you’ve come to the right place. Aided by a small army of volunteers, Geoff Stonebanks now opens his garden to the public to raise money for charity – raising nearly £100K for a variety of charities, including MacMillan Cancer Support.

We think you’ll agree Geoff’s patch is a heck of a garden, and a must-visit-site for anyone growing in harsh salt-laden conditions near the sea. The great Monty Don himself describes Geoff’s East Sussex garden as “a small garden by the sea that’s full of character”.

Pulling weeds

pulling weeds cydonia pruning

Let Graham help you whip your fruit trees into shape with some winter pruning
Image: Pulling weeds

“Trees put out shoots in all directions, which can lead to them becoming quite congested.” Says professional gardener, Graham Wright. If you’re in need of a quick lesson on the art of pruning your fruit trees, here’s a good place to start. With his quince tree doing just that, he’s waited until the dormant time of the year to get his secateurs out.

What you should be looking for is an open shape, Graham says. This lets the most light into the centre of the tree, which is essential if your fruit is to ripen properly. The quince jelly’s on you then Graham.

David Domoney

david domoney buddleja cottage

Buddlejas make an excellent border plant – just remember to prune vigorously
Image: David Domoney

If you’re looking for some low maintenance outdoor plants to help get a beginner gardener off the ground, you’ve come to the right place. TV gardener extraordinaire, David Domoney gives his top five recommendations. He says: “Buddlejas are great for putting into beds and borders if you have recently moved to a place with a larger garden or are branching out from container planting.”

Presenter of ITV’s Love Your Garden, and the resident gardening expert for This Morning, David’s blog is a superb resource for anyone interested in gardening or wildlife. Fancy testing your knowledge of British birds? Why not take David’s fun quiz?

The tattooed gardener

tattoed gardener

Snake’s Head Fritillaries make a colourful spring display
Image: Tattooed gardener

Looking for something a little different to brighten up your spring garden? Take a look at these Snake’s Head Fritillaries nodding their, chequered purple and white, bell-shaped blooms. Most bulbs like free-draining soils says Dennis, aka the tattooed gardener, but not this one, which makes it perfect for wetter conditions.

Former head gardener at Trinity College, Cambridge, Dennis is now a gardener, garden consultant and children’s writer. His blog is a font of gardening knowledge and wisdom, with tats and the odd bit of Megadeth thrown in for good measure.

Mr Plant geek

mr plant geek

This nandina goes from green to pink to bright red
Image: Mr Plant geek

“Every so often, a plant comes along that makes you question whether it’s actually real or not,” says gardening expert (and former T&M Product Development Manager) Michael Perry. He’s talking about the pillar box red leaves of the unbelievably riotous nandina (pink blush) – a low maintenance foliage plant you’ll love for its year-round colour.

Well-written and quirky, you’ll enjoy Michael’s unique take on gardening. As he says, he’s just a tiny bit lazy, which makes him an excellent source of gardening hacks and shortcuts. Check out his post on “wabi-sabi” – the art of imperfect gardening, which is all about relaxed simplicity and asymmetry.

Judi the gardener

dingly dells

Anyone for a Dingly Dell?
Image: Judi the Gardener

How would you fancy having a Dingly Dell in your garden? Garden designer and developer, Judi will build one for you. We’re talking about the ultimate place to relax and unwind, created especially for you.

A former dancer and choreographer Judi says she loves to put on her creative hat to help her clients unmuddle their ideas and make an exciting plan for their outdoor spaces. You’ll love what she’s done with the olive tree at one satisfied customer’s garden.

Katie Rushworth

katie rushworth container pond

Kids will love creating a mini pond to attract wildlife to the garden
Image: Katie Rushworth

You’ll know Katie Rushworth as one of the team from ITV’s Love Your Garden. Here she blogs about her love of gardening, and offers the occasional tidbit of behind the scenes insight from the show.

Check out Katie’s ideas for creating a kids’ mini pond for the garden. She says “A small container pond can be a fantastic way to welcome wildlife and get your little ones involved in a quick and easy project that will bring joy for years to come! “.  Katie’s blog is a treasure trove of helpful advice for gardeners, complete with recipes to help you use up your bumper crops.

Thomas D Stone

thomas stone moving shrub

Thomas demonstrates how to move well-established plantings
Image: Thomas D Stone

If you’ve ever wondered how to move well-established shrubs from the wrong place in your garden to somewhere better, Thomas Stone says it’s all about getting the root ball out of the ground. Not sure how to go about it? Check out his post which gives you a handy step-by-step process to make a success of your transplantation.

With nearly 30 years as an RHS trained professional gardener behind him, Thomas says the key to keeping his passion for gardening alive, is never to stop learning. That’s good news for his readers  – there’s a wealth of gardening knowhow waiting for you here.

Ellen Mary Gardening

ellen mary gardening edible flowers

Add some colour to your food with edible flowers
Image: Ellen Mary Gardening

Gardening can be hard on your back, but not when you follow pro’ gardener, horticultural TV and radio presenter, and blogger Ellen Mary’s advice to go vertical with your planting. From reusing soft drinks bottles to raised beds and making planters from pipes, she’ll soon raise your gardening sights – and if you want to extend your menus, this is the place to start learning about edible flowers!

A self-confessed gardening addict, Ellen Mary is a trustee of Anglia in Bloom, and horticultural coordinator for the Royal Norfolk Show. We don’t know how she finds the time to pack in all her gardening-related occupations. She says, “If the job is to do with gardening – anything goes!”

Do you have a favourite pro’ gardening blog we’ve missed? We’d love to hear from you. Just head on over to our Facebook page and tell us all about it.

Blogs to inspire you to grow your own

Beginner or experienced veg grower? Sharing tips helps produce bumper crops
Image: Shutterstock

Not only is homegrown food healthy and nutritious, but planting and nurturing your own crops gets you out in the garden for some good old-fashioned fresh air. You’ll also get a healthy dose of vitamin D-laden sunshine, and interaction with nature is always good for your soul.

If you like the sound of all that but need a little inspiration to get you started, here are some of the best grow-your-own blogs we’ve found.

Smallest smallholding

Nasturtiums are simple to grow, beautiful – and you can eat them
Image: Smallest Smallholding

Seeking a delightful, easy-grow flower that doubles as a delicious addition to salads? Look no further than the nasturtium says blogger Lucy: “These plants are tough. But they’re so, so pretty too.” A great companion plant, like marigolds, nasturtiums also do a useful job in the garden by helping to draw pests away from your precious food crops.

In search of a frugal, debt-free existence, Lucy’s decision to live a little of the “good life” is an inspiration to all, and her blog provides a treasure trove of information and advice for anyone looking to grow their own.

The garden smallholder

Find out what’s growing in Karen and Rich’s veg patch…
Image: The Garden Smallholder

“We love collecting fresh eggs and picking seasonal food from our garden smallholding. No air miles or nasty chemicals. Just us and the soil.” Sound like the lifestyle you aspire to? Have a read of Karen and Rich’s supurb blog to see how they did it.

If you’re new to veg growing, or even if you’re not, you’ll love Karen’s “Jobs each month” category. January – order your seed potatoes ready for chitting. July – plant out your purple sprouting broccoli ready for next spring. It’s handy knowledge to have.

Rusty Duck

Find out the lengths to which blogger Jessica and hubby go to protect their crops from the depredations of “flopsy” the bunny (or bunnies) with whom they share their hillside veg plot. Luckily for the cotton-tailed raiders, these veg growers are vegetarians, or they might well find themselves becoming the ingredients of a tasty rabbit pie.

“A person decides, together with her better half, to leave behind the stressful day job and move to a simpler life in the country.”  Or not so simple as it turns out, what with the house needing more than a little renovation, the brambles and weeds, and the 45° slope. But hey – it makes for entertaining reading.

Life at no. 27

Annabelle wants to inspire more young gardeners to get growing
Image: Life at no. 27

“How good are you at avoiding the veg aisles in supermarkets during the winter months” asks blogger Annabelle? Hoping to do better by planning ahead this year, she’s putting her faith in her cauliflowers, brussels sprouts and cabbage to see her through the lean times.

As a twenty-something allotmenteer, Annabelle is a role model for younger gardeners, who she hopes to inspire to “put down their phones and pick up a spade”. To this end, the freelance writer, radio personality, blogger and vlogger is a regular at gardening events throughout the year. You’ll find a host of useful tips and advice here.

The unconventional gardener

Edible cucamelon tubers
Image: The Unconventional Gardener

Clearing old salad or vegetable beds? Avoid the temptation to strip everything and chuck it in the compost bin. Blogger and ethnobotanist, Emma took her time preparing an old salad bed ready for replanting, and was rewarded with carrots, beetroot, beet leaves and even “a little tuft of kale” – it’s surprising what you miss come harvest time.

Passionate about edible, useful plants, Emma is your go-to for information about the quirky and unusual. Did you know cucamelon tubers are edible? Emma only has the one, so she’ll over-winter it and look forward to tasting it once it’s had a chance to grow.

Claire’s allotment

Claire brings knowledge and a light-hearted sense of humour to her blog posts
Image: Claire’s allotment

If you can’t fart freely around your family…, then something is wrong” says writer and blogger, Claire. She’s talking about the annual brussels sprouts bonanza and its windy aftermath – if you’ve ever wondered how best to cook the most flatulent of veggies, look no further than this blogger’s post on the subject.

A must for anyone introducing children to the joys of gardening, blogger and allotmenteer Claire writes children’s books about growing sunflowers, carrots and pumpkins, and also runs garden workshops to help little ones get their hands dirty. For adults, Claire also produces a popular range of ebooks which are ideal for gardening beginners and improvers.

Dogwood days

Blogger Nic is an Ocaholic
Image: dogwooddaysgardener

Meet self-confessed “Ocaholic”, Nic. She’s talking about a tasty little tuber called oca, or new Zealand yam. It’s actually a native of the Peruvian, Bolivian Andes, and thanks to the fact that it’s not related to that other South American staple, potatoes, it doesn’t suffer from blight. While you won’t get bumper crops, Nic says this bright, colourful veg is great fun to grow and eat.

“Our garden is a place of fascination, experimentation and happiness. A modest space where edible and ornamental plants lovingly cohabit” Nic writes. A woman who packs a surprising amount of edible plants into a fairly small garden, this blog is a great place to stop for a browse.

The quest for veg

Sandra says she’s growing more radishes this year
Image: The quest for veg

“Vegetable plants need their space” say Andrew and Sandra. That’s because, unlike flower gardens where more is often better, overplanting a small plot means none of your plants will reach their full potential. Like when their aubergines were swamped by potatoes and courgettes which she planted too close together.

This blog is a great read for anyone looking for some gardening know-how from a couple attempting to turn a small allotment plot into a bumper cropping veg garden. Check out Sandra’s top tips for this year’s garden – including why she’ll be planting plenty of bok choy and radishes. Not forgetting to “weed, weed, weed” of course.

The veg grower podcast

Get the lowdown on propagators
Image: The veg grower podcast

And now for something completely different. If you prefer to listen rather than read, you’ve come to the right place. With over 150 gardening-related podcasts to listen to, you’re sure to find some relevant know-how to tap into here.

Like the episode about propagators – a great way to get your seeds in early – this podcaster has three heated ones and several unheated. Looking for a way to use up your leftover leeks and potatoes? Check out this soup recipe delivered the old fashioned way – the written word lives on.

We hope our round-up of vegetable growing blogs provides you with plenty of food for thought in the months ahead. Come over and join us on our Facebook page to share your top tips and success stories!

12 Instagram feeds for flower lovers

spring flower arrangement

This collection’s all about the flowers
Image: shutterstock

Breathtaking blooms, inspirational arrangements and expert growing advice are yours at the swipe of a screen on Instagram. Here you’ll find growers, stylists, artists and farmers, all sharing images of their common passion – British-grown flowers.

If you’d like to add a little horticultural heaven to your feed, we’ve found 12 of the best flower Instagrammers for you to follow.

@theallotmentflorist

allotment florist

An arrangement in progress with the Allotment florist
Image: @theallotmentflorist

“I absolutely love growing flowers, arranging them, and just being on my plot surrounded by them,” writes Helena Willcocks. As a London florist, Helena was shocked by the quantities of flowers flown into the UK from all over the world, and the chemicals used to preserve them. She was inspired to grow her own organic flowers and thus The Allotment Florist was born. Expect dramatic arrangements and unusual specimens from her feed. Check out her ‘Black Beauty’ sunflowers – you’ll want some of your own.

@3acreblooms

Autumn, with all its bounty, by 3acre Blooms
Image: @3acreblooms

“We delight in seeing the hard graft of our gardening blossom into beautiful blooms,” write Emily Talling & Lucy Beckley. These growers and florists have cutting gardens close to Newquay in North Cornwall. The talented sisters turn their flowers into stunning arrangements for weddings and events in the South West. Follow their Instagram feed for forests of pretty snapdragons, blousy ‘café au lait’ dahlias and billowy tulips to brighten up your day.

@catherine_clc

Catherine Chenery’s December posy with Erysimum ‘Bowles mauve’
Image: catherine_clc

“One thing I love about bringing flowers in from the garden is that you see them in a new perspective,” says botanical stylist and garden designer Catherine Chenery. Follow her Instagram feed for stunning images of her flower arrangements, prize blooms – like the aeonium ‘Poldark’ or the velvety Sam Hopkins dahlia  – and some of the wonderful gardens she visits for inspiration.

@wildbunchflowers

A ‘floating summer garden’ by Wild Bunch Flowers
Image: @wildbunchflowers

“Happiness is picking from my garden and making a floating garden on a boat,” writes Tammy Hall. You can see her beautiful wedding arrangement pictured above. Wild Bunch Flowers started in a rambling garden of Tammy’s family farm in the Welsh Borders. The flowers now have a paddock of their own as well as Spanish-style tunnels and “dahlia marquees” to protect them from the elements. Tammy works seasonally and with nature to produce beautiful British-grown blooms.

@myflowerpatch

Spectacular dahlias from My Flower Patch
Image: @myflowerpatch

Sara Willman loves a dahlia. And if you head over to her Instagram feed, you’ll fall in-love with them too. Check out her mouth-watering combination of ‘Café au Lait’, ‘Wine Eyed Jill’ and ‘Crème Brûlée’. And meet her new dahlia crush, Shiloh Noelle. It has supplanted the fashionable ‘Café au Lait’ in her affections: “The most gorgeous tones, and those curled petals!… total dahlia crush material”. Sara’s feed is beautiful, witty and a little bit addictive.

@palaisflowers

Hellebore and ranunculus arranged by Palais Flowers
Image: @palaisflowers

Drama and opulence abound in Emma Weaver’s Instagram feed. A former set-designer and trained in fine art, she brings something of the theatre to her arrangements. From a magical meadow built on a music-hall stage for a wedding with a difference, to styling opulent blooms in Louis Vuitton handbags for Telegraph Luxury, Emma’s portfolio is phenomenal.

@tangleandthyme

Tangle and Thyme’s delicious autumnal arrangement
Image: @tangleandthyme

“Sometimes the best things in life are worth waiting for!” writes Kate Hargreaves of Tangle and Thyme. The latecomer in question was a phlox, wryly named Phlox of Sheep – “that was really why I bought the seed,” she admits, “as I just thought the name was so great!” Follow Kate’s feed for stunning arrangements, swoon-worthy petals and her very pretty miniature donkeys who love to join in the Instagram fun.

@comptongardenflowers

Pretty cottage-garden flowers by Compton Garden Flowers
Image: @comptongardenflowers

Sarah Wilson and her husband Bob have been growing their blooms in Somerset since 2016. “Our flowers are quintessentially cottage garden, grown because they make great cut flowers which ooze with colour and scent,” Sarah writes. Her feed showcases their stunning flowers and Sarah’s beautiful arrangements. It also lets us in on the working life of a dedicated British flower-grower.

@the_forgotten_garden_flowers

British grown “with love not chemicals” by Forgotten Garden Flowers
Image: @the_forgotten_garden_flowers

“I am a bit of a nerd regarding sweet peas so grow rather a lot and would love to cover the whole area, just too many beautiful varieties!” writes Patricia Cottam of Forgotten Garden Flowers. Organic and sustainable growing is at the heart of what Patricia and her family do in their gardens on Exmoor. Expect natural blooms, pretty arrangements, and lots and lots of sweet peas.

@hootingashflowers

Pretty in pink by Hooting Ash Flowers
Image: @hootigashflowers

“The Sweet Williams are such helpful little flowers and bring summer with them!” muses Emily Matcham, the farmer/florist behind Bruton-based Hooting Ash Flowers. With a degree in illustration, Emily has an artist’s eye for beauty which she shares through her Instagram feed. Whether snapping her own pretty garden flowers and romantic floral arrangements, or a meadow of wild orchids that has captured her imagination, the effect is dreamy.

@bloomandgray

A riot of colour from Bloom & Gray
Image: @bloomandgray

“There is real beauty that comes out of our hard work which is why I find growing flowers so rewarding,” writes Sarah Opie of Bloom & Gray. Sarah is a flower farmer working in East Yorkshire, growing organic, scented English country flowers. It all started two years ago when she decided to grow flowers for her own country wedding. Now she has her own flower farm! Follow Sarah as she experiments with seed saving, hand tying, and growing confetti.

@swallowsanddamsons

Painterly photographs by Swallows and Damsons
Image: @swallowsanddamsons

“A legend in France says that young women should avoid the tuberoses after nightfall…” writes Anna Potter, “The smell is said to encourage these young women to get into trouble.” Anna is the founder florist of Swallows and Damsons, a beautiful, quirky flower shop based in Sheffield’s antiques quarter. Her Instagram feed is the stuff of fairytales. Magnificent photographs that look like 17th Century still lifes, heartbreaking beauty and inspirational arrangements, make Anna’s feed a must-follow.

We hope these floral Instagrammers have inspired you. Now it’s your turn! If you post photographs of your own blooms or follow an Instagrammer we haven’t featured here, please tell us all about it on our Facebook page.

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