With decades of gardening know-how and green-fingered knowledge, learn more about the writers and experts who share their stories with the Thompson & Morgan blog.
Sue Sanderson is the e-Commerce Horticultural Executive at Thompson & Morgan. Plants and gardens have always been a big part of her life – she fondly recalls helping her dad to prick out seedlings even before she could see over the top of the potting bench!
Having received a BSc. (Hons) degree in horticulture from Writtle University College, Sue started her career in a specialist plantsman’s nursery, going on to work as a consulting aboriculturalist before joining T&M in 2008. Her initial role was Plant Trials Co-ordinator, while also looking after the grounds. She now supports the web team and offers horticultural advice online.
Sue has a keen interest in drought resistant plants and a passion for perennials, particularly hardy geraniums. She previously stood as regional secretary for the International Plant Propagation Society.
Geoff Stonebanks is the owner of Driftwood Garden – a multi-award winning coastal garden in Seaford that has raised £133k for charity since 2009, much of which for Macmillan Cancer Support.
His garden, which first opened to the public in 2009, has been featured on ITV’s Good Morning Britain and BBC 2’s Gardener’s World.
When he’s not tending his plants, Geoff writes a weekly gardening column in Friday Argus and contributes a monthly article to Garden News Magazine. He’s also an Assistant County Organiser & Publicity Officer in East & Mid Sussex for the National Garden Scheme.
Cotswold-based Garden Media Guild member, Mandy Bradshaw, is also known as the Chatty Gardener. Passionate about gardening and writing, her beginnings are in football reporting for her primary school, and Mesembryanthemum planting with her mother. Winner of the ‘Garden Journalist of the Year’ in the 2018 Property Press Awards, she writes for not only her own blog but also newspapers, magazines and other sites.
Sue Russell joined Thompson & Morgan’s customer care department in 2016 as a horticultural advisor. Having grown up on a farm, Sue fell in love with the outdoor lifestyle at an early age and trained in Horticulture (Professional Gardening ANCH) before setting up her own gardening business in the Suffolk/Essex area. For the past 15 years Sue has tended the grounds of a 25-acre private estate.
When she’s not gardening, you can find her supporting the Blues at Ipswich Town Football Club. Follow her Instagram page at @russellintehbushes123.
Carol Bartlett, The Sunday Gardener, lives in the north of England where she has created a diverse garden including wildflowers, natural areas, herbaceous borders, a wildlife pond, trees and wetland plants, along with a vegetable plot.
She has been gardening, reading, researching and photographing plants for over twenty years and her website is a popular resource for gardeners young and old. Carol’s philosophy is that gardening is a great combination of the therapeutic and practical – our outside space, big or small, is the perfect place to escape day-to-day stress.
Holly Taylor has been Thompson & Morgan’s Online Manager since 2017, and has seen more than her fair share of plants over the last decade or so. Starting as a keen novice, she has developed her skills since she got her very own garden which is now full of beautiful flowers and a small vegetable patch. Holly enjoys photography and being outdoors, both of which are perfect when you have a garden!
Caroline Broome has been gardening for more than 20 years. Having passed the RHS General Certificate, she has since developed her East Finchley garden into a “personal paradise” that she and her husband invite the public to visit each year via the National Garden Scheme.
Her picturesque garden won the Best Small Back Garden Trophy in the London Garden Society Awards three years running and has been featured on BBC1’s The One Show and ITV’s Love Your Garden.
Caroline describes herself as the plantsperson, always experimenting with unusual perennial planting combinations, and her husband David as creative genius behind all their humorous and quirky garden ornaments and water features! They have transformed their terrace into a plant packed Catio for their six cats to enjoy the outdoors, whilst safely enclosed within a mesh covered patio, allowing the birds and wildlife the freedom of the garden beyond. Always on the lookout for new projects, they created a prairie themed roof terrace above the Beach Hut summerhouse, and an exotic front garden with ornamental grasses adorning hanging buckets and a mini living wall.
Alison Levey is a keen amateur gardener living in Leicester. Her inspirational blog, The Blackberry Garden won Garden Media Guild Blog of the Year 2019, and Vuelio named it ‘Garden Blog of the Year’ for the last four years in a row.
Alison has a passion for growing things and shares her enjoyment of gardening on her blog. In addition to growing and writing about plants, flowers, fruit and vegetables, she also reviews gardens, horticultural books and products. Beautiful, whimsical names transport readers to the various parts of her garden – the exotic border, the dancing lawn and the prairie are just a few. Alison also loves wildflowers, and has been a valuable member of T&M’s customer trial panel for several years.
Nic Wilson is a writer, professional garden designer and Garden Media Guild Awards nominee for her excellent blog – Dogwooddays. Her horticultural qualifications include an Advanced Diploma in Garden Design and RHS Level 2 Qualification (with commendation).
In her own garden, Nic enjoys growing flowers as well as unusual fruit, vegetables and herbs. She has a passion for natural history and loves to encourage nature into her garden. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Beth Chatto Environment Award. When she’s not gardening or writing, Nic enjoys cooking gluten-free food with home grown produce and has been a keen forager since she was a child.
Jean Willis began gardening over 65 years ago on her dad’s allotment. Now retired, she spends a huge amount of time in her award-winning Bournemouth garden where she specialises in hanging baskets, containers and troughs.
Jean doesn’t have space for a permanent greenhouse but nurtures vast numbers of blooms in a 4-foot plastic growhouse which is dismantled when not in use. She loves begonias and fuchsias, and has been a valuable member of T&M’s customer trial panel for many years.
Garden Ninja, Lee Burkhill, is an RHS winning Garden Designer from the North West of England covering Manchester, Liverpool, Southport and the Cheshire region. He’s also one of the garden expert panellists on BBC Radio Manchester’s ‘Gardener’s Question Time’ and runs the Garden Ninja blog to help troubleshoot your garden design problems.
Garden Ninja also runs a popular YouTube channel with over 100 garden design hints tips and hacks.
Kris Collins is the Quality Control Manager at Thompson & Morgan. He indulged his interest in horticulture shortly after leaving university in 2003 by becoming Features Editor at Horticulture Week. Almost 6 years later he progressed to Gardening Editor at Amateur Gardening and after 5 years in the hot seat he joined the Thompson & Morgan team where he has worked ever since.
Ellen Mary has loved plants and gardening since she was a child. By her own admission, she now lives and breathes gardening – she writes garden and travel content, hosts a horticultural radio show, the Plant Based Podcast and has appeared on many TV channels across the UK and USA to promote the ways that nature and gardening can benefit well-being. Follow @ellenmarygardening on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
Graham Ward was Thompson & Morgan’s E-Commerce Marketing Assistant from 2013 to 2018, but he has been gardening for as long as he can remember. In fact his earliest memory is planting seeds in his Grandfather’s prestige flower bed and growing a prize lettuce amid the flowers!
Graham has also run his own professional gardening and landscaping services and loves all aspects of gardening – from the design and build stage through to planting out the things he has grown from seed or raised from plugs. In his own garden, he enjoys trying new and unusual varieties, even if that sometimes means learning from his mistakes!