Instagram gardening is huge these days. This social media app is a great virtual place to make friends with like-minded growers, swap advice and grow an online audience as you grow your own.
But if you’re not sure how to get started, or would love some ideas for improving how you Insta-garden, we’ve got some amazing tips to share with you.
We asked some of our favourite instagram-loving gardeners for their best advice on growing and capturing Instagram-ready gardens, and here’s what they said:
“My home garden is for the chickens and kids, with flowers around the borders so it will never be award winning. I’ve had my allotment for 5 years now, I’ve learned to grow things that we all like, although I always end up with too many courgettes!” says Dave of @greedy_gardens.
Dave’s priorities are growing things he and his family love, plus keeping his two sons busy on the plot – with a mud kitchen for the youngest and a ‘Minecraft’ related veg patch for the oldest.
With regard to what ‘works’ on Instagram, Dave feels that’s a bit of a mystery: “In the past I have posted what I thought were great photos of flowers only to get very few ‘likes’, then I’d post a muddy carrot and would get loads of likes.”
His advice is to concentrate on the social side of social media:
“I would never consider myself an expert gardener or instagrammer but I would say try and be enthusiastic and interesting. Interact with the gardening community; I think that’s more important and fun than trying to create an amazing photo.
“Seeing my girls faces light up when the seeds they have sown poke through the soil, and then even better when they get to eat their creations, is something I desperately want to share with other families and this is quite simply what motivates me to share photos and posts on Instagram.
August of @augusts_garden loves to grow unusual shapes and rainbow colours to get her girls enthusiastic about growing – and eating – good food. And as market gardener at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, August certainly knows her onions. She loves bright colours, so her Instagram feed is a treasure trove of fruit, flowers and delicious veg:
“I find so much beauty in nature which Is why I find it difficult to stick to a scheme resulting in a garden bursting with colourful vegetables and flowers. If you look at my page I strongly recommend sunglasses!”
Her main advice for Instagram gardening is to follow your heart:
“I think you have to stick to what you love and trust in yourself even if it’s not what everyone else is posting. It’s not just a picture you post, the words also make an impact. If you love what you grow it’s hard for it not to come across in your posts.”
Amy of @amyskitchengarden describes herself as a ‘rookie veggie grower’. She rediscovered her childhood love of gardening last year and started with potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and aubergines. Now she’s getting great results from her Brighton balcony garden (although she openly shares the not-so-great ones too).
“I try not to think too much about my Instagram channel when I’m planning my garden,” says Amy. “I always choose interesting seeds that catch my eye, rather than thinking what will do well on social media… I have to admit, I did buy some rainbow sweetcorn last month because of it’s beautiful colourful kernels too!”
She advises using lots of flowers and bright colours to jazz up your feed. But her main concern is looking after the environment and spreading awareness:
“I try to use upcycled materials in my gardening, the most eye catching of which are my big recycled beer keg containers! I’m always keen to do my bit for the environment as sustainability and minimising waste are super important, so whilst my garden isn’t the most ‘Instagrammable’ I think people really enjoy seeing how they can take these tips into their own garden.
Lucy of @shegrowsveg takes her Instagram presence seriously:
“I completely ripped out, redesigned and replanted my garden to showcase what you could do with fully edible planting. I wanted to take the opportunity to show that choosing edible plants did not mean compromising on beauty or design or mean that the entire garden looks like an allotment.
Her grid is full of lush, large veg and vibrant colour. And she loves to showcase specialist and unique fruit and veg that looks great in her photos and inspires her audience.
But, despite her commitment to Instagram gardening, Lucy’s main piece of advice is to follow your heart rather than the likes:
“Don’t make it all about Instagram, remember this is your garden and it should still be a place that makes you happy. People enjoy following accounts that are genuine as opposed to content simply created for a good photo. If you are loving your garden, other people will love it too!”
The garden that Will shares on Instagram is grander than your ordinary backyard or allotment. He’s head gardener at South Wood Farm in Devon, and his Instagram account @solegardener is packed with stunning images of the grounds.
With such an excellent backdrop, it’s not surprising that Will has become an expert in getting the best out of garden photography. He has some advice on composition:
“I find wide angle shots of plants or borders with a subject matter or focal point in such as a house/gate/bench always seem to be a lot more popular than just a plant portrait for example.
And his top tip for a successful instagram feed is incredibly simple:
“It sounds obvious but I’m always very aware of the lighting and weather when I’m taking pictures of the garden. Plants never look happy on a grey overcast day (much like the gardener!)”
For Vera of @growntocook Insta success starts with a tidy garden: “A well-organised garden with neat beds is generally easier to photograph than a jungle-like planting which can be very delightful in real life, but is not easy to capture well in photos.”
Vera’s kitchen garden comprises 15 rectangular beds which are very practical for the no-dig gardening she practises, while also looking great on camera:
“The photos that get the most likes on my feed are usually aerial shots of our kitchen garden, but the ones that generate most engagement are often those where I share more in-depth information about specific plants.”
Ultimately, says Vera, it’s your humanness that’s going to help you grow an audience:
“… don’t be afraid to share your failures. If you don’t want to make them a part of your grid, share them in stories. We all have failures and ultimately, perfection is boring! Concentrate on what you love about gardening in the first place and then share that love with your audience.
For Lucy of @allotment.postie, Instagramming is a great motivator to get down the allotment, even when the weather’s rubbish.
She told us that her most popular posts tend to feature pumpkins:
“I think because they’re very exciting and satisfying to grow! Flowers are always a crowd pleaser also, and I’ve noticed if you have a personal project people like to follow along.
But as well as growing a following on Instagram, Lucy really values the community and support of other growers. She recommends engaging with other Insta gardeners, asking questions and spreading appreciation.
“The biggest mistake is to not share mistakes. Everyone knows life isn’t what social media shows, but by sharing your mistakes… you can get advice on how to fix it or move on. It may seem embarrassing to share mistakes but everyone has them, even the big names that seem to have it all figured out.”
Shannon of @diaryofaladygardener doesn’t let Instagram sway her planting decisions too much.
“This year my focus is on things that we’ll actually eat at home rather than what looks best (although I’m still hoping it’ll all look lovely too). That said, I’ve got my eye on an awful lot of dahlias for this year because I got such flower envy from everyone else’s feed in 2019!
When it comes to photography, Shannon takes a lot of photos. For every one photo she posts, she’s probably taken about 30-40. Her advice? Introduce a dash of colour wherever you can: “that’s why my gloves are bright pink and my wheelbarrow has splashes of yellow – the extra colour can really bring a photo to life, especially during the winter months.”
And Shannon also recommends showing yourself in your feed:
“I personally love to follow the people who have really authentic feeds and have themselves in the photos – you can really see how happy growing makes them and the love that’s gone into growing those plants, fruits and veggies!”
Dave and Joy of @our_tiny_garden grow fruit and veg in their small back garden and have just taken on a new allotment. Their Instagram feed is full of colour and beautiful close ups.
“We’re growing some coloured corn this year because it looks amazing, and Chioggia beetroot too. Fundamentally though, we grow for taste. And we’re just lucky that tomato plants and tomatoes are super photogenic, and yellow courgettes are delicious too!
We asked the couple for their photography tips and they shared this with us:
“A good camera helps a lot, but it doesn’t need to be an expensive DSLR. All of our photos are taken with a mobile phone camera… Our major tip would be to use natural light. Sunshine if possible, as it lifts the colours and the feel of the photo massively.”
And when it comes to those stunning close ups, take note of this advice: “Don’t use a digital zoom – Take a larger area photo and zoom in afterwards. This prevents the image from pixelating as much.”
“Having an Instagram page was my way of making me keep up my home allotment and to make sure I spent some time out there every day,” says Claire of @sowing_at_the_stoop.
“It’s turned into much more that .. I’ve ‘met’ some truly great people always on hand with advice or ideas as well as being involved with the Thompson and Morgan trials last year … which I loved!”
When it comes to photography, Claire says:
“I think a more natural setting works best with social media… the colourful images seem to be popular or some garden hacks that I share… Summer watering or propagation… that type of thing does well too.
Like many of our Instagrammers, Claire urges you to do what you enjoy: “Do what you love and garden in a way that suits you.. don’t go for the ‘likes’. If you enjoy what you do, that will shine through onto your IG page.”
Rachel of @thegoodlifeainteasy (but it’s worth it) colourfully documents her efforts to live as sustainably as possible on her Instagram account. She’s got an organic allotment and some lovely ex-battery hens to help her in her mission.
Despite her large Instagram following and an engaged audience, she doesn’t garden for the Gram:
“To be honest, I don’t really think of Instagram when I plan my garden. I just do what I love and what I’ll enjoy, and then share that. So if anything I think my tip would be to be authentic and just share what you love and your passion will come through.
“I think my most liked photo is actually of some chard roots which were bright pink,” writes Karen of @welliesandwaffles. Colourful images are key to engaging Karen’s audience, but they’re not the only things that count:
“I also find that a good description works very well… alongside the photo. Otherwise it’s like having cheese without the crackers!
She continues: “Showing a wide variety of plants, detailed descriptions and adding tips always adds to the post. It takes time and effort to get a garden to look great so show this and take people along on the journey. The gardening community loves a ‘before and after’ photo.”
“For me, the best images come from something that you’re passionate about. The growing community on Instagram are a wonderful bunch: the best posts are made with an enthusiasm that often transcends the image on a grid,” says Jane of @plot_life_.
When it comes to plants that make the best images, Jane has been experimenting lately, and with some success:
“Last year, I experimented with vertical growing: the aesthetics of crops at various heights across the plot was very pleasing to the eye and is something I’ll probably build on this year.
But, ultimately, says Jane, don’t worry too much about what’s going to ‘work’ on Instagram or not:
“Grow what you love: be driven by your personal taste, not by what others are growing or what you feel you ‘should’ be cultivating. You will spend far longer in your garden than the person scrolling through your feed, so make sure you love it!”
“I started my Instagram account to encourage people to grow their own, showing it’s possible even in a small space with limited time,” says @inatinygarden.
And for this Instagrammer, it’s the pollinators who govern all her decisions.
“I grow a variety of plants in order to have flowers all year round for multiple pollinators… So my advice is, don’t grow for what will get the most likes on Instagram, grow for the pollinators, Mother Earth and last but not least for your own enjoyment!
We’d like to thank all of our wonderful Instagram gardeners for their generous advice. And we hope you’ve found some inspiration to help you start – or grow – your own Insta accounts.
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.