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.

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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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

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

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

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.


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

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).


sara limback

Sara leaves her Centurea montana seed heads as a winter haven for insects

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.


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.



Muscari and mega geraniums 60ft up on Alice’s balcony

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.


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.



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’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.


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.


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


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.

Have we missed any of your favourite flower gardening blogs? If so, why not drop us a line to let us know? Just visit our Facebook page and leave a message.

9 top houseplant Instagram feeds


How does your indoor garden grow?
Image: shutterstock

Houseplants are back in fashion. Just look at Instagram for proof. Among the enviable snaps of interiors, fashion and food, you’ll now find millions of posts on indoor gardening. There’s a new generation of urban horticulturalists busy transforming urban homes into lush indoor jungles, and sharing beautiful photos of their work.

So if stunning plant images, green interior inspiration, and expert plant-care advice sound like your bag, here are nine of the best houseplant instagrammers to follow.


tribe and us instagram

This bedside jungle looks great and promotes healthy sleep
Image: @tribeandus

“Home is where you grow your tribe”. That’s the motto of Kate and Craig Williams, the dynamic duo behind @tribeandus. Their tribe comprises three gorgeous children and The Plants. There’s beautiful photography (see Craig’s own account at @craigowilliams) and sage indoor gardening advice in every post. Follow the family as they chase winter sunlight around their home, deal expertly with a mealybug attack, and use the purifying power of mother-in-law’s tongue to guarantee themselves a better night’s sleep.


conservatory archives

Fill your home with plants
Image: @conservatory_archives

This bewitching plant paradise is the Conservatory Archives, a plant emporium situated in a disused East End ironmongers. Their Instagram feed showcases the wide, exotic collection of succulents, ferns and cacti curated by Korean horticulturalist, Jin Ahn. Expect stunning, envy-inducing images and expert advice on everything from when to buy a houseplant, to shaking out a Bucida buceras.


house of plants instagram

Exotic, low-maintenance greenery for your home
Image: @houseofplants

“Life with a potted plant is, undeniably, better.” So say Ro Co, London-based botanical stylists and indoor plant specialists. Their forte is exotic, low-maintenance greenery that transforms urban interiors. Follow their feed for succulent styling in your living room, advice on how to care for your leafy calathea, and where best to put that trailing Philodendron scandens you’ve had your eye on.


jamies jungle instagram

Jamie’s home is a beautiful jungle
Image: @jamies_jungle

Vintage interiors expert Jamie Song is a self-confessed plant hoarder. His Instagram account is called @jamies_jungle and, looking at his leafy, luscious living room (pictured above), it’s easy to see why. Follow his horticultural triumphs – including the Begonia ‘Corallina de Lucerna’, which has grown from tiddler to ‘hulk’ in less than 18 months. And share his struggles, including the near-impossibility of keeping his Brighamia insignis (Hawaiian palm) alive through another British winter.


plantman about town instagram

Ian’s At Home With Plants installation won a Silver at RHS Chelsea 2017
Image: @plantman_about_town

If you need something to brighten up your home and fight off the winter blues, go for cheery cyclamen, says Ian Drummond. This garden designer and author is full of botanical wisdom. His Instagram feed is a bright and colourful take on indoor gardening. Try accessorising a terrarium with small toys to create a magical world for your child’s bedroom. Or installing phalaenopsis orchids on your bedside table – these night-time oxygenators will improve the quality of the air you breathe while you’re asleep.


the glass gardener instagram

Show off a Tillandsia caput medusae in a hanging terrarium
Image: @theglassgardener

When keen gardener and stained-glass maker, Sarah, discovered terrariums “it was love at first sight!” Now she’s the Glass Gardener, creating handmade terrariums with strong lines and a modern feel. This Instagram account showcases her work and it’s pretty inspirational. From 80s sci-fi inspired polygons to pentagon teardrops filled with ivy, nephrolepis and peperomia, The Glass Gardener shows just how much can be achieved in a miniature biome.


toro studio instagram

Tor’s Instagram feed has a pure, calming aesthetic
Image: @toro_studio

Tor Harrison believes plants can dramatically improve our mood, spirit and wellbeing. Plants can help us look after ourselves better, cleansing the air we breathe and bringing the outdoors in. This Instagram feed from her Cornish plant emporium has a pure, calming aesthetic. From sculptural airplants to majestic, velvety staghorn ferns, Tor’s imaginative images will leave you feeling soothed and inspired.


string and bloom instagram

Growing from seed is this instagrammer’s passion
Image: @stringandbloom

“Home is where the plants are” for this London-dwelling Canadian. And growing plants from seed is one of @stringandbloom’s favourite obsessions. In fact, she can no longer buy avocados as she can’t bear to throw the stones away, and already has too many little trees on the go! From fetching shots of her peperomia raindrop to super-easy tips on succulent propagation, this pretty Instagram feed is a mine of green wisdom.


jarandfern instagram

Demijohns and mason jars make the perfect terrariums
Image: @jarandfern

If you love the pretty terrariums pictured above, you’ll love Jar and Fern’s Insta feed. The pair lovingly transform mason jars and demijohns into perfect, low-maintenance mini ecosystems. Demijohns are particularly well suited to creating a self-watering environment thanks to their shape. But you’ll need some nifty tools and expert guidance to turn one into a terrarium. Follow Jar and Fern for help in achieving this green version of a ship-in-a-bottle.

Are you a houseplant instagrammer? Do you follow a houseplant enthusiast that we haven’t mentioned? Check us out on Instagram and we’d love to hear your recommendations on our Facebook page.

9 fantastic flower garden blogs

flowers in a garden

Flowers are the fruits of many gardeners’ labours

You can’t beat time spent gardening, but even the most enthusiastic of growers need a little downtime. Here are nine of our favourite flower garden blogs – reading to enjoy over a well-earned cuppa and a biscuit.

The Amateur Plantsman

chrysanthemums blooming for the amateur plantsman

Glorious chrysanthemums in the sunshine
Image: Amateur plantsman

There’s nothing like chrysanthemums for coverage and colour, but if you’re worried they can’t withstand the vagaries of the British climate, the Amateur Plantsman says: “While the large decoratives, pompoms, incurves, spiders, quills and other…forms might not stand up to the cold, there are others, with smaller, simpler flowers, that are tough enough to withstand winter.”

Early retirement saw this Berkshire based gardener freed to indulge his passion for plants. Join him as he shares his hopes and disappointments, successes and failures – anyone for a winter-flowering fuchsia?

Helen Gazeley


Begonias provided a lightbulb moment for Helen

“Do I like hanging baskets? Oh, come on! Who doesn’t?” says gardener and blogger Helen. She was blown away by the stunning display of begonias her first attempt at hanging baskets produced – it’s just a pity she’d hung them at her father-in-laws. She won’t make that mistake again!

A wealth of information, gardening tips and advice awaits you here. Helen’s blog features product and book reviews, show news, garden visits, plant information, and more. Always up for gardening related chat, she says: “I’ll be really interested to hear what you think,” she says, “whether you agree with something I’ve said or not.”

Rachel the gardener

rachel the gardener salix kilmarnock

This Salix Kilmarnock needs potting and pruning
Image: Rachel the gardener

A weeping willow is a spectacular tree, but as blogger Rachel says, there aren’t many gardeners who’ve got the space for a 60ft tree. But you can always buy a dwarf willow which is created by grafting weeping branches onto an upright trunk. This little tree makes a wonderful flower garden feature, she says, but only if you plant and prune it correctly.

Rachel the gardener is a horticulturalist well worth a read – do check out her botany guides, “for use in the field by UK Botanists, both Improvers and complete beginners, to help swiftly narrow down the identification of a plant.”

Hurtled to 60 and now beyond

hurtled to 60 zinnia

Peach delight – one of several zinnias “on trial” at Parham gardens
Image: Hurtled to 60

If you haven’t visited the National Memorial Arboretum yet, why not let this avid gardener, photographer and blogger give you a taste of what’s in store? The 150 acre site is home to over 30,000 trees, almost all of which are dedicated to the memory of service and sacrifice.

The prairie-style garden plantings are impressive too, says  Hurtled to 60 – if only she knew who the designer was. Here you’ll find a host of musings from the flowerbeds, as well as garden visit reports to inspire. Short of planting ideas for next season? Check out her report on the Parham plant trials –  the zinnias are to die for.

Flowers from the farm

flowers on the farm

British flowers at their best
Image: Flowers from the farm

Do you like your flowers with no air miles and few road miles? Flowers from the farm is a network of “farmers, smallholders and gardeners, who…grow and present a different range of flowers from those available in the supermarkets and the wholesale markets.”

If you thought British flowers were a summer only luxury, think again. Narcissi flourish in Cornwall and the Scillies during the winter, as do tulips from Lincolnshire, which are available from Christmas. Flowers from the Farm boasts over 500 members – want to be a flower farmer but don’t know how to start? You’ve come to the right place.

Catharine Howard

catharine howard potager

Catharine’s mini potager is a bit like a giant window box
Image: Catharine Howard

How many self-sown edibles can you grow in a small space and still manage to create an alluring garden feature? That was the challenge garden designer and coach, Catherine Howard set herself when she planted a mini potager in her own Suffolk garden.

We think you’ll agree the tulips looked great – check out the post to find out what came next.

Catherine’s gives you the lowdown on garden design and offers her professional services as a gardening coach, plus there are plenty of garden visits to inspire inform.

Susan Rushton

susan rushton colchicum

Blooms to die for – literally
Image: Susan Rushton

Fancy some killer plantings for autumn? Colchicum autumnale are deadly – and they look awesome too. The foliage of these delightful blooms is known to have been confused for wild garlic and consumed, with unfortunate consequences. We think you’ll agree, they’re gorgeous, but perhaps best left to “RIP” in someone else’s garden…

Blogger Susan says: “I’ve seen far too many trendy, almost flowerless gardens, but for me, a garden just isn’t the same without them.” A woman of her word, you’ll find a wealth of rose, prose and photos here. Looking for some floral punch to bring your garden to life? Check out these orange lilies.

London Cottage Garden

london cottage garden

Can you spot David Hockney’s influence here?
Image: London cottage garden

From where do you draw inspiration for your garden design? The London cottage gardener shares his gardening muses – the Hockney vibe really stands out, but you’ll also find influence from 1960s textile and interior designers, Susan Collier and Sarah Campbell, plus Kaffe Fassett and more.

The London Cottage Garden is, as the name suggests, all about one gardener’s transformation of a patch of the big smoke into “a chaotic abundance of colour, scent and movement”. We think he’s done it – you’ll love the before and after pics.

Jeremy Bartlett

jeremy bartlett fungus

Piggybacking toadstools
Image: Jeremy Bartlett

Stepping back from flowers for a moment – how about a piggy back in a fairy ring? We’re talking about Piggyback Rosegill, Volvariella surrecta, a parasitic fungus that grows on the caps of decaying Clouded Funnel toadstools. Blogger jeremy Bartlett is as mad about fungi as he is about flowers, which makes for an interesting read.

Interested in plants since he transformed his sandpit into a garden when he was five, Jeremy studied Botany at university, before graduating with a genetics degree. He subsequently gained a PHD in plant genetics. Want to learn more about wild fungi and flowers? He’s well worth a read.

Have you come across any excellent flower gardening blogs we’ve forgotten to mention? Do let us know – just pop over to our Facebook page and leave us a message.

Nine notable seed bloggers

seeds in a pot

Ready to be planted…
Image: shutterstock

Nurturing plants from seed is the ultimate way to grow your own. It’s rewarding to tend your plants from first sprout to bumper crop, and it saves a fortune on buying plug plants. Here we present nine of the best gardening blogs we’ve found, that have an emphasis on growers who like to start from the beginning.

Mud and gluts

mud and gluts apple blossom

Gorgeous apple blossom – this is Christmas Pippin
Image: Mud and gluts

Taking on allotment is a steep learning curve, so why not let blogger, Beryl guide you through the process? Her blog details her transformation of an overgrown allotment plot into…well…she’s let it go a bit lately, but it’s still producing some excellent crops.

A self-confessed seedaholic, Beryl says “Seed-saving and unusual edibles have quickly become a bit of a ‘thing’.” Check out her trees grown from nuts and cuttings – you’ll love the crab apples – such stunning deep-pink blossoms.

Alan’s allotment – Man vs slug

cadalot CAD allotment plan

The engineer’s approach to gardening
Image: Cadalot

What happens when you cross an allotment with a structural engineer? Precision planting for one thing, attention to detail for another, and plenty of notes to help you with your own plot too. Wondering about the best configuration for planting your onions? The 55 seed layout does the trick for Alan.

If you’re about to take on a new allotment, this is the blog for you. Follow Alan’s progress as he puts his systematic, logical approach to work to clear, prepare and plant the plot. Expect CAD drawings and step-by-step instructions.

Weeds up to me knees

cactus dahlias

In a Dahlia state of mind?
Image: Pete Polanyk

Punk gardening, podcasting, and tunes to die for make Weeds to me knees an experience more than simply a mere blog. We love the combination of record selections, and tales from the garden – it’s an eclectic mix – just like some of Pete’s plantings – check out his magnificent walking onion.

Fun and informative, you’ll love Pete’s blog. Can you name a song with a Dahlia in the title? He can. Why not slip over to take a look, and have a listen?

The Propagator

propagator blog seedlings

Happy seedlings: hollyhocks ‘powder puff’ and ‘creme de cassis’
Image: Propagator blog

You’d be surprised just how many plants do best when sown in the autumn and overwintered ready to plant out as the weather warms. Sweet peas, hollyhocks and calendula – and that’s just for starters, says the Propagator.

An excellent resource for anyone who relishes the challenge of growing from seeds or cuttings, the Propagator is a self-confessed seed nut. Why not follow his “ramblings, progress, disasters, setbacks, results and some tips along the way”?

Life on pig row

greenhouse harvest life on pig row

Just a sample of the greenhouse harvest
Image: Life on Pig Row

Carry on growing and harvesting herbs right through the autumn by sowing growing them on your windowsill say the guys at life on pig row. Their top tip: “Plants hate massive leaps in temperature, as we all do, so give them a woolly jumper at night in the shape of a bottle cloche.”

Life on pig row grew out of the Oldham family’s ambition to grow a “Dig For Victory” garden on their half-acre plot, learning over the years to be as self-sufficient as possible. If you’re a gardener on a budget this is a great blog for you.

Mark’s veg plot

chilli harvest from mark's veg plot

Harvesting the chilies before the weather turns… chilly
Image: Mark’s veg plot

If you look at blogger Mark’s PSB – purple sprouting broccoli – and don’t go green with envy, you must be an expert grower too. Insect netting has made all the difference, says Mark, who also recommends regular watering, a good feed, and making sure you tie the plants to sturdy stakes to stop the wind from blowing them over.

An excellent blog with plenty of growing ideas, tips and insights, Mark says now’s the time to prepare your favourite chilli plants for overwintering in the house. His advice is to prune hard and replant in fresh compost to reduce the number of beasties that migrate indoors with the old soil.

Modern veg plot

achocha from the modern veg plot

Why not give the Achocha a try?
Image: Modern veg plot

What do Chinese green noodles, Hidasa reds and Ojo de Tigra have in common? They’re all beans – and just three of over 20 varieties this blogger grows. Quite simply, if you love tasty, delicious, nutritious beans, Modern veg plot is the place to start, with some interesting beanie delights for you to try.

Modern veg plot documents one gardener’s “adventures in growing hopefully interesting and sometimes unusual edibles in my greenhouse and allotment plot”. Like the achocha pictured above which this blogger says tastes exactly like green peppers.

Real men sow

strawberry plant with ripening fruit

Get your fruit in before the first frosts

“If you’re thinking of adding fruit to your plot, now is the perfect time” says blogger, Jono. The soil’s still warm this month which means the roots have time to bed in before the first frosts bite. An allotmenteer and blogger par excellence, Jono (aided by mum Jan), says taking on the plot is the best thing he’s ever done.

If you’re new to growing, Jono’s blog is for you. Not sure which fruit plants to go for? Jono gives you the lowdown on what to plant and how many plants you’ll need. Useful and well written, his top ten tips for beginners are also a good place to start – “Just plant,” Jono says, “Plans are for next year.

Sunday Gardener

sunday gardener sweet peas

Sweet peas add a splash of colour to your veg plot 
Image: The Sunday Gardener

Have your tomatoes stopped ripening? There’s only so much chutney you can make, so why not take a leaf out of the Sunday Gardener’s book? This blogger says the foolproof way to ripen tomatoes is to cut them from the plant but leave them on the vine, then lay them on cardboard indoors, preferably by a window.

“An independent website offering down to earth gardening advice and tips”, Sunday Gardener does exactly what it says on the tin. You’ll love the monthly rundown of jobs to do in the garden  – have you potted up your strawberry runners yet? Now’s the time.

Have we missed a seed blog that you love? Please do send us your recommendations– just visit our Facebook page and leave us a message.

13 vibrant veg growing blogs

fresh vegetables

Take some tips from these amazing bloggers about growing veg!
Image: shutterstock

Say goodbye to tasteless supermarket produce by growing your own delicious nutritious fruit and veggies. To help show you how, we’ve hunted down some of the best vegetable gardening blogs around.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a sprawling allotment, or a scrubby patch of urban garden – here’s the inspiration and insight you need to help you on your way.

Allotment Garden


John Harrison has 40 years worth of experience to share on his blog.
Image: shutterstock

To help you get your veg plot started, blogger John gives you all the advice you need. You’ll get growing tips categorised by month and vegetable, and for extra inspiration, a vegetable show growing section. Check out John’s pics and step-by-step instructions for growing prize-winning onions, potatoes, and more.

With 40 years gardening experience under his belt, you can be sure John knows his stuff. He says gardening is: “healthy exercise without having to pay for a gym or run around in circles and you get to eat healthy fruit and vegetables without all those pesticide residues.” Give this blog a try.

Digging the Earth

digging the earth's allotment

Sarah believes if her family can garden, you can too!
Image: Digging the Earth

With two years of allotment gardening behind her, blogger Sarah says, “grab a spade and have a go, if we can do it, then there’s not many that can’t.” An inspirational read, you’ll love Sarah’s 10 reasons to garden even if it’s raining – for starters, she says, you get to enjoy a cosy cuppa in the shed…

Bitten by the gardening bug, Sarah and her family now tend three plots. “A bit of planning’s in order”, says Sarah. If you’re in the same boat, check out her list of at-home allotment tasks – it’s a great place to start.

Her Outdoors

her outdoors allotment

Jane Merrick’s ultimate planting tip? Garlic.
Image: Her Outdoors

Got a plot but can’t decide what to grow? Take Jane Merrick’s advice and plant garlic. The Independent columnist and Britain’s Best Allotment judge says: “If the conditions are right, it’s easy to produce a decent crop.” Plus, it’ll make you feel productive over the winter.

A blog that’s busting with excellent hints and tips, beginners will love Jane’s advice on embarking on your first allotment. And for more experienced gardeners, we recommend Jane’s post on dealing with weedy paths – the woodchip really does look great.

Plot 7 Marsh Lane

plot 7 marshlane's raised beds

Healing and life-affirming, gardening changed Belinda’s life.
Image: Plot 7 Marsh Lane

Gardening was the perfect route back to full health for kidney transplant recipient, Belinda. Now her blog is an inspiring and informative resource for anyone who loves life in the garden.

Need some crop rotation ideas? Belinda’s scheme includes diagrams to help you decide where to plant everything from broad beans to parsnips. You’ll also love her wildlife section in which she gives the lowdown on the bugs, birds and animal visitors to the allotment.

Our Smallholding Adventure

seedlings from the smallholding

Tracy’s smallholding seedlings.
Image: Our Smallholding Adventure

Our Smallholding Adventure is the “frugal journey from street house to small holding, fast food to self sufficiency and shop bought to homemade” for the Chadfield family.

With lots of fruit and veg to use from their smallholding,Tracy’s posts about preserving produce are sure to be of interest. As she says: “It’s a really satisfying feeling preserving seasonal produce that we’ve grown right here!” It looks delicious, too.

Check out Tracy’s quick and easy sweet chilli sauce and the homemade strawberry vodka! And with the winter fast approaching, her elderberry winter tonic looks pretty good too…

Allotment Diary

veg from the allotment diary's plot

Dan grows some delicious veg on his Yorkshire allotment.
Image: Allotment Diary

Ever wondered about the dedication it takes to grow a 10lb onion? Let blogger Dan take you through the process step-by-step from sowing to harvesting as he tries to break the 10lb barrier.

Dan keeps a diary of everything he grows, which is a great source of gardening information, and check out his YouTube channel  too. We love the idea of planting your peas in lengths of guttering. It means you can “germinate them indoors and slide the plants out into the beds when they’re big enough”. What a great labour saver.

The Backyard Larder

the backyard larder's soup veg

The perennial veg Alison harvested for stew.
Image: The Backyard Larder

Veg gardener Alison is hooked on perennial vegetables like kale, sea beets, artichokes and sorrel, and once you read her blog you will be too. As she says, they’re the ‘perfect edible plants for a busy lifestyle!’ Less work than traditional veg, they even keep producing during the winter.

Ever heard of skirret? This long-forgotten Tudor veg is one of Alison’s current crops. She shares what she’s learned growing it over the past years, as well as this top tip – use it in stew! She says it’s ‘best part of the dish, so satisfying with their sweet taste and potato-like texture.

Carrot Tops Allotment

british queen potatoes

A small yield of potatoes, but a big yield of advice from the Carrot Tops Allotment.
Image: Carrot Tops Allotment

Protect your beans and peas! This year, the Carrot Tops allotment plot came under attack from weevils. That meant holey veg leaves for blogger Adam, but the good news is, he always shares his experiences so you won’t make the same mistakes. He says start by covering your bean with fleece or cloches to help the plants outgrow any damage.

Adam’s blog runs the full gardening gamut from how to help bees to a recipe for a delicious carrot cake with cream cheese icing. And for keen composters, his top 10 composting tips reveal some good ideas – like adding paper.

Rainbow Chard

rainbow chard

The rainbow chard grown by the folks at the Rainbow Chard blog!
Image: Rainbow Chard

Wondering what to plant after your tomatoes are finished? Organic allotmenteer Lou recommends salads like winter purslane to keep your greenhouse or coldframe producing even as the weather cools.

Pop over to Rainbow Chard every week for photos and a rundown of the happenings on this organic allotment in Norwich, along with great ideas for what to cook with your homegrown veg, like this vegetable toad in the hole. And do check out the ‘monster green butternut squash’ – a beast at 16lbs, a real monster.

Self-Sufficient in Suburbia

self sufficient goats eating weeds

Jonathan’s animals love weeding day at the allotment.
Image: Self-Sufficient in Suburbia.

Is your garden more derelict that delectable? Jonathan Wallace knows how you feel. But over the past 10 years, he’s transformed the space in his ongoing “battle to be self-sufficient”.

It’s hard graft, Jonathan says, but it’s working. Today, he has livestock, bee colonies, and a thriving garden that produces more veg than you can shake a shovel at. Tune in to watch Jonathan’s videos in which he discusses a wide range of topics from making pigeon burgers to cherry-rhubarb jam and more.

Down on the Allotment

patio veg

Matron’s courtyard vegetable garden.
Image: Down on the Allotment

You don’t need much space to grow delicious vegetables, says Matron. She says to prioritise climbers which will “make their own space up against the wall.” Runner beans, tomatoes, and squash are all grow well in her courtyard veg garden.

Inheriting a ‘dig for victory’ mentality from her parents, Matron has always loved gardening and her blog is a treasure trove of useful and unusual tips. If you can get your hands on some fresh walnuts, her step-by-step guide to how to pickle them is a must-read.

English Homestead

english homestead gateway

Kev and his family are trying to be self-reliant on their homestead.
Image: An English Homestead

If you’ve got budding young gardeners at home, this is the blog for you. Having grown up on a farm, today, Kev is a carpenter, homesteader, and at-home dad to his three kids.

About self-reliant family living, Kev’s kids help him forage for blackberries, collect eggs, and can now even identify edible wild foods by sight. He says, “they’re building skills and hopefully a work ethic which will last them a lifetime.” This is a top read – you’ll love his tips on making the most of a courgette glut, and dealing with rabbits evading a rabbit-proof fence

Urban Veg Patch

raised urban veg beds

The community veg patch at York Rise.
Image: Urban Veg Patch

Avid gardener Caro Shrives is part of a group that works to revitalise the overgrown gardens of the historic 1930s flats in North London where she lives.

Nurturing the community, as well as a mini orchard, Caro posts pics of the gardens from yesteryear, as well as in-progress shots of the current plots. It’s a gardening journey through history and one that’s sure to inspire.

While it’s now more of a solo project, it’s one Caro loves. Her passion for gardening is contagious – and particularly of interest to anyone involved in shared gardening.

Have we missed any of your favourite veggie gardening blogs? If so, we’d love to hear from you – please get in touch via or Facebook page.

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