“I like gardening – it’s the place where I find myself when I need to lose myself.” – Alice Sebold
My childhood was spent on the edge of the Fens, in a tiny hamlet, surrounded by fields, woodlands, deep ditches and endless skies. Our garden was full of apple trees and traditional cottage garden planting – lupins, hollyhocks, clematis, phlox, rambling roses, foxgloves, daisies and dianthus. My parents (mostly my mother) tinkered in the garden when time allowed and on the dark, fertile Fenland soil also grew gooseberries, raspberries, lettuces, beans, courgettes, radishes, marrows, potatoes and other things I have long forgotten. Back then, I took it all for granted, far more interested in building dens, climbing the apple trees and observing the ducks, hares, deer and pheasants that regularly visited the garden below.
Eventually, I moved from this rural idyll to London for university and lived in a succession of poky flats in the centre of town. Window boxes stuffed with herbs and geraniums and a small collection of houseplants were my only green ‘fix’. It wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I would finally get my own garden. I moved to a flat opposite Battersea Park and its small, shady garden became my haven and my teacher. An obsession was born.
I became fascinated by the cycle of life in the garden – birth, life, decay, rebirth. Rarely death, thankfully. It’s restorative. It’s full of hope and healing. It’s art and science in equal measure. It’s excellent exercise. It’s wonderful therapy. It’s emotionally challenging; full of lows, highs, failures, triumphs. And slugs. It’s a metaphor for life.
Since training as a journalist (and between stints working as a model, a fashion PR and a film producer), I’ve worked freelance in television production for twenty years, the past ten of which have been spent in live TV news (for Reuters and Sky News). The stress and strain of this environment, the constant barrage of bad news and horrific images day in, day out, not to mention the 4.30am starts, late finishes, weekend work and the twelve hour shifts in the windowless bunker newsroom all take their toll. My scruffy little garden provides solace and a constant learning curve. It’s my happy place. The place where I feel most like me.
I’m interested in many aspects of horticulture: the people behind and history of some of our most famous gardens, the plant hunters who travelled the globe searching out new species, medicinal plants, horticultural therapy, planting design and grow your own. And garden photography. Especially garden photography. When not pottering in my own garden or visiting, photographing and writing about other people’s gardens, I’m studying hard for my RHS Level 2 certificate with the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh.
I hope you enjoy my occasional posts. Thank you for reading. You can also find me on Instagram here and Twitter here. And some of my garden photography is here on Flickr – including my first commission – from a new young designer at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2016. All photography on this website is my own, unless otherwise credited. Please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org above if you wish to use any of my images.