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.

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.

10 must-follow veg growers on Instagram

grow your own veg

Grow your own is incredibly popular – and now it’s on Instagram!
Image: shutterstock

Growing your own food has never been so popular. Cheaper, healthier and better for the environment, it’s easy to see why. If you’re looking for inspiration and encouragement, Instagram is now the place to go. With ¾ million posts (and rising) hashtagged #growyourownfood, it’s fast becoming a digital mecca for horticulturalists big and small.

Here are 10 of our favourite Instagram accounts showcasing the best in seasonable, sustainable homegrown veg.

@greensheddiaries

green shed diaries

Winter root love with kohlrabi, carrots, parsnips and the odd spring onion
Image: @greensheddiaries

Londoner Paula waited 12 years for her allotment but it was worth the wait: “It’s that little bit of inner peace, a magical moment on a rainy day, a natter with friends and a sense of achievement that makes my space my happy place.” Paula shares her growing adventures, like sowing ‘smiley face’ microgreens or finding out what the alien-looking markings on her kohlrabi are – they’re bits of corky material (suberin) left behind when a leaf drops off, she explains.

@jimsallotment

jims allotment

A splash of colour from Jim’s allotment
Image: @jimsallotment

Yorkshireman James Lester is a dedicated allotmenteer. Follow James for witty commentary on his horticultural exploits – like growing parsnip people in a drainpipe or creating a sunken cold frame to speed up spring growth. Always looking on the bright side of growing – “When life gives you a broken spade, take an axe to it and make it into a new bulb planter!” – he’s a real green-fingered philosopher.

@hayleys_lottie_haven

hayley's lottie heaven

Hayley’s roast-dinner-veg harvest
Image: @hayleys_lottie_haven

Hayley took on her plot as a novice grower at the tender age of 22. Three years on and she’s growing thirty varieties of fruit and veg on her East Sussex allotment. She shares pictures of her rescue hens, amusingly shaped veg and harvest successes via her instafeed. There are also plenty of tips to inspire and inform. Like storing excess parsnips and carrots in sand to keep them crisp and pickling late beetroot to give as Xmas presents.

@zoes_garden

zoe's garden

December pages from Zoe’s garden journal
Credit: @zoes_garden

Illustrator Zoe’s Instagram feed is a thing of veggie loveliness. She shares beautiful photos of her horticultural triumphs, delicious recipes – beetroot crisps, anyone? – and exquisite drawings from her allotment journal. Whether she’s wondering what to do with her lazy housewife beans or musing over her romanesco broccoli’s identity crisis, there’s always something going on in Zoe’s garden.

@crofterscottage

crofters cottage

Veg and flower harvest from this Sussex kitchen garden
Image: @crofterscottage

Actor and writer Milli Proust shares stories of organic, seasonal living from her pretty Sussex kitchen garden. There is lots to inspire. Discover the Peruvian ground apple (Yacón): “Texture of a water chestnut, mild and sweet taste like an earthy pear. A prebiotic, it benefits the bacteria in the gut that boosts the immune system.” Follow Milli and learn how to turn foraged walnuts into amaretti and chestnuts into chestnut and whiskey cake with salted caramel sauce.

@thegoodlifeainteasy

good life ain't easy

Winter-salad planting, with help from battery hen Debs
Image: @thegoodlifeainteasy

Rachel’s love for growing started early on when she ate her very first pea straight from the pod. Follow her Instagram feed as she attempts to live the good life: “My aims are simple. Grow organically, as much food as I can. Eat seasonal. Renew and recycle.” Meet her wonderful battery hens, including the inimitable Debs pictured above. And feel energised and uplifted thanks to this sunny, happy allotmenteer.

@sowing_at_the_stoop

sowing at the stoop

A basket laden with pure goodness
Image: @sowing_at_the_stoop

I‘m no expert but I love growing my own”, says C, the instagrammer behind Sowing at the Stoop. This mum of boys came to gardening later in life when searching for something that would be just for her. She was soon hooked. Follow her adventures in growing cucamelons and cuddling carrots or visit her potato jungle and veggie waiting room. We guarantee you’ll be hooked too.

@my_little_allotment

my little allotment

A basket of treats for Kirsty’s (very lucky) neighbours
Image: @my_little_allotment

For Linconshire veg-patch “newbie” Kirsty, growing her own was just what the doctor ordered: “There is something extremely therapeutic with gardening and growing your own… Whatever it is, its addictive and I’m totally smitten with it!” Share her joy as she grows her first ever beetroot or wins gold and silver at the local flower show. Find out why happiness is a perfect onion and try out her rhubarb-infused vodka with viola ice cubes.

@mark_diacono

mark diacono

A harvest of walnuts from Otter Farm
Image: @mark_diacono

Food writer, gardener and cook Mark Diacono loves growing unusual food on Otter Farm. If you want the lowdown on growing chocolate vines, pecans, or Japanese wineberries, Mark’s your man. One top tip: “As good an apple as there is, Veitches Perfection. A local variety, growing in the landscape it came from, and you can tell. Sharp/sweet, cooker/eater and BIG.” There’s some beautiful photography too. Check out his harvest of Nepalese peppercorns shining like red jewels against a white ceramic bowl.

@the_seasonal_table

the seasonal table

A beautiful harvest from Tom and Kathy’s smallholding
Image: @the_seasonal_table

Tom and Kathy espouse slow food and slow living on their smallholding in rural Somerset. Expect gorgeous shots of organic homegrown veg, foraged wild food and delicious seasonal recipes. There’s plenty to get the taste buds going, like their ornamental quince windfalls: “They have filled the kitchen with scents of sugar, citrus and pineapple,” or Centurion onion, leek and bay soup. With beautiful produce, fruitful foraging and happy livestock, their version of the good life look looks utterly sublime.

Are you an Instagram vegetable grower? Do you follow a grower we haven’t mentioned? Check out our own Instagram page – and send us your recommendations on Facebook.

8 gorgeous garden visiting blogs

haddon hall winter gardens

The winter gardens at Haddon Hall, Derbyshire, are just one of the hundreds of gardens to visit in the UK

Here’s your chance to take a stroll around some fabulous gardens without leaving the comfort of your home. We’ve scoured the web to come up with some intrepid garden adventurers – bloggers who like to get out and about – read on to find out where they’ve been.

Blackberry Garden

A quirky view back to the village from the gardens
Image: Blackberry Garden

Blogger Alison pauses at the delightful Italian village at Portmeirion. Built by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis in the 1920s, the village nestles in the beautiful estuary of the River Dwyryd, in Gwynedd, is normally a tranquil spot, but when this garden blogger stayed there recently, another visitor, Storm Brian, was making his presence felt.

We holed up in our cottage, lit the log burner and waited for it to blow over”, says Alison. But not before she took some very atmospheric snaps of the village and the stunning woodland of Gwyllt, in which it’s set. The writer behind Blackberry Garden shares her life as a self-confessed gardening obsessive – check out her irritating plant of the month strand – Dahlia Waltzing Matilda is really annoying.

Carrots and Calendula

carrots calendula high weald

Kipling build this pond and path with the proceeds from his 1907 Nobel Prize for Literature.
Image: Carrots & Calendula

Take a trip to Batemans, the Sussex home of the late Rudyard Kipling, with gardening writer Ciar and her three children who, all being under 10, she calls her “Little Weeds”. Ciar says while Batemans isn’t the biggest National Trust home, it’s always worth a visit.

The kids loved the fairy trail based on Arthur Rackham’s illustrations of Kipling’s fairy tales. Ciar says: “They were soon searching for pishogues, goblins and sprites and were delighted to discover a little fairy house under a Japanese Maple.”  With its yew hedges and winding paths, Ciar says it’s no wonder Kipling found inspiration to write there.

Writer in the Garden

writer in the garden phoenix garden

A haven at the heart of the city
Image: Writer in the garden

If you’re a Londoner, or visiting the Big Smoke, you’re sure to feel the need for some sanctuary from all the hustle and bustle of the capital. Luckily, novelist, blogger and one time Canterbury laureate, Sarah Salway, has found the perfect spot.

Sarah tells us the The Phoenix Garden is a minute off London’s Charing Cross Road and just two minutes away from Tottenham Court Road. If it’s anything like its photos, you’ll love it, and best of all, she says, it’s just across the road from a book shop, and so perfect for when you want to dip into a new read in peace.

Lou J Nicholls

lou j nicholls ulting wick

Visit the gorgeous Ulting Wick gardens in Essex
Image: Lou J Nicholls

More than a visitor, professional gardener and blogger Lou recently took up the challenge of becoming head gardener at Ulting Wick, an experimental private garden called Ulting Wick in the Chelmer Valley in rural Essex.

Created from the ruins of an old farmyard, the garden is part of the National Garden Scheme, but why wait for the next chance to visit in person when you can take a peek for yourself over at Lou’s blog? If her photos are anything to go by, you’ll fall in love with the place just as she has.

Out of my shed

Beautiful, formal box is under threat
Image: Out of my shed

If formality is your thing, check out writer Naomi Schillinger’s post in which she revisits a trip she took to Amsterdam some years ago – you’ll love her photos of immaculately trimmed box parterres which she says was a recurrent theme. Naomi blogs about box because there’s a problem we should all be aware of: Box blight.

If you’re worried about blight, or indeed caterpillars nibbling your box, Naomi offers some possible solutions. She says if all else fails, Ilex crenata (Japanese Holly) and Lonicera nitida are now being promoted by hedging companies.” Not sure? When Naomi visited Haddon Hall in Derbyshire, she was “really inspired by their parterres”.

Richard Jackson’s Garden

richard jackson

Opening your garden to the public? Go potty.
Image: Geoff Stonebanks

Instead of visiting other people’s gardens have you considered opening your own garden to the general public? If so, blog contributor, multi gardening-award winner Geoff Stonebanks has some tips to help you make it a success – his advice – go for lots of pots which are easily replaced if a plant dies or is destroyed by the weather.

Richard Jackson is a TV gardening expert of two decades experience – he currently appears on QVC – and his stable of top horticultural writing talent includes Telegraph gardening correspondent Jean Vernon, Chartered Institute of Horticulture’s Young Horticulturist of the Year in May 2016, Lawrence Wright, and many more.

The Garden Gate is Open

garden gate is open timber hill

Dancing statues provide a lightness to these formal gardens
Image: The garden gate is open

“Surrey despite being commuter belt is the county with the highest concentration of trees in the UK,” says the pen behind The Garden Gate is Open. No wonder a visit to National Garden Scheme venue, Timber Hill near Chobham revealed a treasure trove of mature trees, as well as many other wonderful plantings.

We particularly love this writer’s inclusion in their writeup of their visit to Timber Hill, the many toadstools they discovered – a rare delight which demonstrates just how fascinating fungi are. The Garden Gate is one blogger’s self-challenge to visit 90 gardens in 2017. Doubt they’ll do it? Timber Hill was visit number 85.

The Dahlia Papers

dahlia papers

Dazzling greens took this blogger’s breath away
Image: The dahlia papers

Tag along as writer and blogger Non Morris takes you to the National Trust’s magical Plas-yn-Rhiw on the Llŷn Peninsula. The run-down 17th century stone manor house and gardens were acquired by the unmarried Keating sisters, Eileen, Lorna and Honora at the outbreak of the World War Two.

When they bought it, the place was so overgrown that to view the house, the sisters had to climb through the window. Undeterred the Keatings slowly transformed and extended the gardens and grounds which now cover some 400 acres. “There is so much luxuriant green,” says Non, who was bowled over by the haunting beauty of the place – you will be too.

Do you blog about your garden visits? If so we’d love to hear from you – just drop us a line via our Facebook page.

10 inspiring Instagramming urban gardeners

urban garden

No need for acres of rolling allotments to grow flowers and produce!
Image: Claire Gregory, Wikimedia Commons

You don’t need a small holding, an allotment, or even a garden to grow your own fresh flowers and food these days. Enterprising urban gardeners are making the most of windowsills, balconies and wasteland to grow theirs. City gardeners are growing sustainable food and home-grown flowers, while also making our grey towns greener, more pleasant places to live.

If you are looking for inspiration on how to create your own city garden, here are ten of the best UK urban gardening Instagram accounts to follow.

@claireratinon

claire ratinon

Not lemons, but yuzus!
Image: @claireratinon

Seed saving is one of organic farmer, beekeeper and educator, Claire Ratinon’s favourite autumnal past times. Whether she’s sharing her sustainable beekeeping techniques, making immune system boosting elderberry vinegar, or working out what to do with her yuzus, there’s always something of interest for her green-fingered followers.

@selfie_sufficient

selfie sufficient

Double red sweetcorn for double the flavour
Image: @selfie_sufficient

Ming de Nasty is the artist, photographer and grower behind the Selfie Sufficient Instagram photo project, exploring food growers in the urban environment. She shares others’ experiences as well as her own allotment successes. Learn how to make your own worming bucket, marvel at her nasturtium capers and admire her double red sweetcorn (see image above).

@saralimback

sara limback

Sara leaves her Centurea montana seed heads as a winter haven for insects
Image:@saralimback

What seed heads do you leave?”, asks food activist and writer, Sara Venn. She likes to leave her Centurea montana (pictured above) as a winter hangout for friendly insects. This self-confessed “plant nut” is the founder of Incredible Edible Bristol (see below) and a fierce supporter of British-grown flowers. When she’s not running workshops on growing or writing about gardening, she can be found posting stunning images of the natural beauty that is all around us.

@ediblebristol

edible bristol

Pickings from the Millennium Square Gardens, Bristol
Image: @ediblebristol

Bristolians are taking food production back into their own hands, thanks to the Incredible Edible Bristol project. Spearheaded by Sara Venn (in the previous entry, above), the project’s volunteers have created over 30 edible gardens on station platforms, street corners and curbsides. All food produced is free for locals to take, like the accidental potatoes they recently dug up. Be inspired by their railway planting of “green fertiliser” Phaecelia – it’s great for bees and feeds the soil as it grows.

@noughticulture

noughticulture

Muscari and mega geraniums 60ft up on Alice’s balcony
Image:@noughticulture

Arts journalist and self-taught urban gardener, Alice Vincent, gardens 60ft up on a wind-swept London balcony. She writes a regular column for The Telegraph and shares her green wisdom via her beautiful Instagram feed. Never planted a bulb? Let Alice show you where to start. Want the lowdown on easy-grow winter salads? Here’s where to go. She’ll even teach you how to grow your own cocktails! Growing tips for urban gardeners nestle among snaps of the botanical gardens she visits on her travels around the globe.

@growingcommunities

growing communities

The award-winning Hackney Salad
Image: @growingcommunities

“Changing the food system one carrot at a time” is the motto of Hackney-based real food scheme, Growing Communities. Their Instagram feed showcases the produce from farms in and around East London and gives followers great recipe advice, like aubergine and tofu soba noodles. If you’re not sure what to do with your kohlrabi or need some inspiration for your beetroot glut, this instafeed is just what you’re looking for.

@growupurbanfarms

growupurbanfarms

This Sangria micro radish will spice up your life!
Image: @growupurbanfarms

GrowUp is the UK’s first aquaponic vertical urban farm. Aqua-who? If you haven’t come across them on BBC’s Countryfile, these guys produce sustainable fish and, using the fish poo and vertical techniques,  grow sustainable greens – all in a London industrial unit. Their aim is to revolutionise the way food is grown in our cities. If you want micro radish, baby kale and sunflower shoots on your menu, follow GrowUp for some inspiration.

@farm_urban

farm urban

Farm Urban’s Liverpool rooftop farm
Image: @farm_urban

Farm Urban is another vertical farm; this time in the heart of Liverpool. Founded by a team of bio-scientists, Farm Urban work alongside schools, allotmenteers, residents’ associations and other urban collectives to encourage sustainable living. If you want to find out more about this revolutionary urban farming method, check out their instafeed. They are also on hand to answer your growing questions. Such as why your tomato plants have root primordia and what to do about it.

@cultiv8london

cultiv8 london

Vegetables, preserves and herbs from the Cultivate London growers
Image: @cultiv8london

Cultivate London has transformed multiple derelict sites in West London into urban farmland, training young people in horticulture and changing the way Londoners think about food growing. Check out their mini pumpkin paradise, get the taste for their nasturtium hot sauce and be inspired about what can be done with a hard work and a whole lot of determination.

@geoffwakeling

geoff wakeling

Rich pickings from Geoff Wakeling’s back garden
Image: @geoffwakeling

Urban smallholder and author, Geoff Wakeling, is living the self-sufficient dream on a small scale from his Essex back garden. With chickens, quail and some splendid veg to boast of, he certainly grows a mean Sunday roast. Follow his experiments in growing microgreens, check out his sweet chocolate peppers and meet his funny, fluffy poland hens.

Do you document your urban garden on Instagram? Do you follow an urban gardener that we haven’t mentioned? Check out our own Instagram page – and we’d love to hear your recommendations on Facebook.

12 fabulous flower-growing bloggers

flowers

The most colourful blooms
Image: shutterstock

If you’re into flowers, we’ve got a treat in store for you. We’ve scoured the web for brilliant blogs by writers who love to grow them, and brought them all into one place for you.

You’ll find bloggers who create stunning cut flower arrangements from their own gardens, give us the lowdown on what makes the perfect border, and show us how to collect and store seeds for next year’s blooms.

Everything you ever wanted to know about flower horticulture, right here.

The Blooming Garden

flowers from the blooming garden

Stave off the autumn blues with this stunning arrangement from Chloris
Image: The blooming garden

If you’re already mourning the passing of summer, now’s the perfect time to check out Chloris’ blooming garden blog. We think you’ll agree her arrangement of (very) late summer blooms looks stunning – especially with its tyrian purple palette and the inclusion of a ‘silly cow’ or two.

At the blooming garden, you’ll find an inspiring melange of stunning flower arrangements, rare plantings, and some of your old favourites, all well photographed and documented so you can try growing them yourself. Chloris says, do as the great Alexander Pope advised:Consult the genius of the place– an ethos she takes to heart.

Peonies and posies

peonies and posies in a vase on monday

Julie’s ‘Monday vase’ offers a mellow take on autumn
Image: Peonies and posies

Check out blogger Julie’s ‘Monday vase’, an inspiring year-round challenge to scour the garden to come up with a new flower arrangement each week. Lately, she’s evoked the muted tones of Keats’ “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ with a subtle piece based on the “lovely faded creamy lime heads”  of the hydrangea, Annabelle – and pears and tomatoes too!

Julie’s passion for growing, styling and photographing flowers makes her blog, a must whenever you’re in search of a little gardening inspiration and know-how.

Off the edge gardening

mystery clematis from off the edge gardening

Can anyone name this clematis?
Image: Off the edge gardening

Off-the-edge blogger Gill has an invitation for you: “Can I tempt you in with tales of gardens and gardeners, birds and beasties, with the odd glitter ball and occasional gymnastic move thrown in?” We suspect you won’t need your arm twisted. A fun, flamboyant, flower-filled read, this is a must for anyone who enjoys their blooms.

Gill was inspired to begin her blog after being pursued by her meat cleaver-wielding, hawaiian-shirted butcher in Devon – who as it turned out, just wanted to show her his gooseberry. What better reason, we say. And by the way – can you name this clematis?

The patient gardener

14 years of the patient gardener's work

Could you leave all this behind?
Image: Patient gardener

How many plants would you transplant from your old plot to your new? After fourteen years in the same spot, blogger Helen gives a photo tour of her beautiful garden, complete with banana grown from seed. But it’s a bitter-sweet moment because, poised to move house, she has some difficult decisions to make.

Here you’ll find thought provoking musings to pique your interest, plus some really excellent photography. Ever wondered how to create the perfect border? “Colour harmonies, texture, loose planting with minimum staking, and wildlife,” says Helen. Check out her post to see just what she means.

The gardening shoe

bee on flower from gardening shoe

Sarah wonders whether it’s time to give annuals the limelight
Image: The gardening shoe

Blogger Sarah, wonders whether it’s time she gave annuals more of the limelight in her garden: “Tithonia rotundifolia ‘Torch’ has exceeded my expectation,” she says. ”This huge, glorious clump of shining orange blooms towers over the sunflowers.” If you’re looking for ideas for annuals to plant next year, this is the place to be.

A wonderfully chatty and informative blog, find out what happened when Sarah met her gardening hero, Roy Lancaster. Now in his eightieth year, she says he’s still full of vim, vigour and curiosity.

Rambling in the garden

pink dahlia from rambling in the garden

Find out which beautiful vase Cathy uses for this lovely dahlia
Image: Rambling in the garden

Find out what’s still blooming in blogger Cathy’s garden. It’s amazing there’s still so much colour – with sedum, comos, late roses and more, still in flower. Take a look at the surprise star of the show, a rudbeckia ‘Prairie Glow’, bought for £2.99 and which is “thriving like no other perennial rudbeckia has ever done in this garden”.

A thoughtful and contemplative writer, it’s so interesting to read about how Cathy chooses to display her cut flowers: “Today’s vase is a tribute to the dahlia it contains,” she says. The bloom in question – the dahlia ‘art nouveau’. The result is gorgeous.

Perfect pelargoniums

perfect pelargoniums mimi

The delightful Dwarf gold leaf zonal pelargonium “Mimi”
Image: Perfect pelargoniums

If fuchsias, pelargoniums, and geraniums are your thing, you’ve come to the right place. Not only does Gwen give you the benefit of her considerable experience growing and displaying these stunning blooms, she’s also on the committee of the respective societies.

But Gwen has more to offer than her specialist knowledge. A budding photographer, follow her as she joins her village garden club on a tour of Kew Gardens. Despite the dull weather, she takes some lovely snaps – especially her photo of ‘the hive’ sculpture.

Sally’s garden blog

sallys garden blog

Sally says to always have a pair of secateurs handy
Image: Sally’s garden blog

Do you eat any of the flowers you grow? If that sounds tempting, take a look at the flowers blogger Sally cut from her garden – from hosta leaves to fennel, you’ll be surprised just how many blooms can grace a plate as well as a vase or border.

A freelance garden designer and probationary member of the Garden media Guild, we recommend you read Sally’s blog and take her sound advice: “Always carry a camera, notebook,a pair of niwaki secateurs and a good waterproof”, she says, because you never know what you’ll find when out and about.

Lead up the garden path

lead up the garden path berries

Berries feed the birds and create a stunning visual display
Image: Lead up the garden path

Our feathered friends rely on berries to get them through the winter, so why not take a peek at the wide variety growing in blogger Pauline’s half-acre garden in Devon? With berberis, rosa glauca, cotoneaster horizontalis and more, you’re sure to find some inspiration for your own bird friendly planting.

Excellent prose, gorgeous photography, and a superb garden make Pauline’s blog a must. And if you fancy visiting her beautiful garden in person, you’ll be glad to know she and her husband participate in the National Garden Scheme (yellow book).

Green tapestry

hitch hiking snail on flower from green tapestry

Anna’s dahlia has a hitch hiker
Image: Green tapestry

Do you remember taking it in turns to be the ‘weather monitor’ at school? Blogger Anna says stepping out onto the school roof to check the thermometer and rain-gauge was an excitement in itself. Now years later, she’s refreshing her weather memory with an online course.

When she’s not holding her hanky aloft to determine the wind direction, Anna grows flowers and photographs her beautiful weekly ‘Monday vases’ – you’ll love them. After over 30 years working with young people, we think you’ll agree she deserves her chance to ‘chill’ in the garden, where she sometimes daydreams of an almost mollusc free plot…

The cynical gardener

cynical gardener's apple crop

June’s apple harvest…
Image: The cynical gardener

“Last year my total crop was three fruits, this year I will achieve five.” Cynical gardener, June says a combination of late frost and a windy June cost her the bulk of her apple crop. We’re sure you’ll sympathise – the fruit’s bland and tasteless too.

But judging by some of June’s excellent photos, it’s not all bad news from the garden – you’ll love her amazing picture of a pennisetum seed head – very psychedelic.

Gardens weeds and words

hollyhock seeds from gardens weeds and words

Never stare a gift horse (or hollyhock) in the mouth
Image: Gardens weeds and words

“If there’s one thing a gardener loves, it’s a free plant, particularly when sourced from someone else’s garden”, says blogger Andrew. To this end, he recommends always carrying brown envelopes about your person.

New to collecting and storing your own seeds? Andrew offers some great advice to get you started – like storing seeds in the fridge to slow their metabolic rate. Great photography, wise words…and yes, the odd weed indeed, this is a great blog for gardening enthusiasts.

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