Anya Lautenbach, aka @anya_thegarden_fairy, has created a magical garden on a shoestring by propagating almost 90% of the plants herself. Turning to nature during a period of grief, she found that propagating her own plants helped her to cope with some of the most challenging times in her life. The result is a magnificent collection of herbaceous borders, wildflower meadows and lavender hedges that are regularly shared with her loyal followers.
Anya’s hugely popular social media accounts are followed by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, so it’s no surprise that she has been shortlisted for the Garden Media Guild’s Individual Social Media Influencer of the Year Award 2023. We caught up with Anya to learn a bit about her journey as a gardener and social media influencer. Here’s what she had to say…
Tell us how you got into gardening?
I’m a self-taught gardener who is passionate about sustainability and wildlife. I created my garden by propagating plants and growing them from seeds as a result of family grief.
What’s your greatest gardening achievement?
The greatest achievement is the fact that I have created a stunning garden with all year round interest, without breaking the bank or compromising on style and impact, and now I can also help others to do the same, especially as we’re facing a cost-of-living crisis.
Creating my garden was also a very healing process and the fact I’m standing here today, stronger than ever, is probably my biggest achievement.
How has social media impacted your gardening journey?
Social media has been absolutely phenomenal in sharing my story, my approach and empowering people. I have a very engaged audience of nearly 700k followers on Facebook and 450k followers on Instagram. Social media allows me to use my voice and share topics close to my heart. I mainly share gardening tips and teach people how to garden in harmony with nature but, as a neurodivergent person diagnosed with ADHD, I also raise awareness about neurodivergent conditions and the connection between horticulture and well-being.
What’s your single, most important piece of gardening advice?
Just do it! You don’t need any special equipment or experience to create something amazing. Just be with nature and let it take over your mind and your heart.
How has a garden or landscape influenced your work or personal gardening style?
I’m very passionate about the environment and wildlife. My own garden makes me feel like I’m part of the ecosystem and, having created it by propagation, I know every plant from the moment it was created.
I have a very special bond with my garden. My garden saved me when I was facing some serious life challenges. I’m so grateful for everything I have received from the natural world and horticulture.
If you were stuck on a desert island and could only have three plants – one practical, one beautiful, and one unusual, what would they be?
My three must-have plants would be Erigeron karvinskianus, rosemary and lavender. I’m not sure if any of the three is unusual, but they would come with me for sure.
I’ve just written a book, ‘The Money-Saving Gardener’, due to be published on the 1st February so I’m very busy planning the launch and next year I’ll travel around the country on book tours. I’d also like to become a public speaker, to connect with people face-to-face and to inspire them. Everyone can have an amazing garden for very little cost and I’d like to teach people how it’s done. There’s so much I would like to share with the world and it looks like 2024 will be a very busy year for me!
More about T&M and the Garden Media Guild Awards
Each year, the Garden Media Guild celebrates talented gardening professionals. They give awards to gardeners whose high quality content inspires the nation, encompassing authors, journalists, photographers, vloggers, podcasters and gardening influencers. The winners are judged by their peers and experts in the field.
This year, Thompson & Morgan sponsored the GMG’s ‘Individual Social Media Influencer of the Year Award’. This special award is for “the communicator who inspires, educates or informs followers about gardening by posting regularly on one or more platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok or others), generating an engaged following, replying to questions and comments and interacting with followers.” For the full list of GMG awards, visit their website.
Since the first seed catalogue was published in 1855, Thompson & Morgan has grown to become one of the UK’s largest Mail Order Seed and Plant companies. Through the publication of our catalogues and the operation of our award-winning website, Thompson & Morgan is able to provide home gardeners with the very best quality products money can buy.