About

Here’s what you’ll find:

  • PLANT RECIPES – an easy way to have fun with plants, minus the anxiety
  • HOW-TO videos showing simple, easy, lovely, charming things to do with plants
  • BLOG – my mistakes, lovingly recorded for you delectation

…and lots, lots more….have a wander.

All good things, always,

How I got here

I discovered gardening one afternoon when I was clearing out a very messy cupboard desperately looking for a vital but boring piece of paper and cursing myself for being so disorganised. At the back of said cupboard I found an un-opened Christmas stocking. Delight!…

I put down the papers and picked up the stocking; toothpaste, walnut, pound coin..and then, languishing at the bottom, a packet of seeds. The picture on the front was a vivid splash of velvety petals in deepest purple and magenta. ‘Sweet Pea Cupani’ it said ‘Intensely fragrant blooms’.

My instinctive response was to plant them, (anything to avoid the paperwork). I grabbed a mug from the kitchen, and filled it with earth from outside. I took out three little seeds and pushed them into the soil (far too deep), then I put the mug under the tap, and left it by the sink. To this day I marvel that those seeds germinated in that mug with no drainage holes and that horrible soil, but germinate they did and suddenly, without warning, I had fallen head-over-heals in love….with plants.

I started leafing through my mother’s plant encyclopedia, marking practically every page with post-it notes and spent hours in garden centres, (haemorrhaging money at the same time). Soon my balcony was completely inaccessible for pots, and there were pots on every windowsill, and in every room of my (garden-less) flat.

At first, and rather snobbishly I kept my balcony on a strict white and green colour diet and then, gradually realising that my actual aesthetic leanings in the garden were rather less modish, I relaxed and gave in to full-fat gaudiness. In the process I became a plant serial killer, viciously murdering plant after plant (mostly by forgetting to water them) and I quickly realised that I was going to have to get some help, so I quit my office job and enrolled on a course at the Chelsea Physic Garden, where they fed me horticultural knowledge from design know-how to Latin names.

I became a complete plant geek and spent a lot of time visiting gardens and taking notes, and talking about plants in rapturous tones to any poor soul who found themselves sitting next to me at dinner or on the underground…I had found my ‘thing’ and I wanted to celebrate.

Luckily, someone cottoned on and gave me an outlet for my enthusiasm, asking me if I would write a book…and The Virgin Gardener was born. This was the book I had longed-for when I first began, and if you’re new to plants and gardening, it’s written especially for you.

The sudden and delightful addition to my life of a husband and baby daughter have meant that I’ve just moved into my first actual real live garden (it does, I think, come with a house attached). The garden is larger than average for its London location, and I’ve fallen for the sheer expanse of it (relative to my balcony, that is).

I am deeply, deeply over-excited, and there is an awful lot of work to be done, because I’m going to be creating the garden from scratch and writing a book about it. The new book ‘The Virgin Gardener’s First Garden’ (working title) will also be published by Bloomsbury, but you can read all about my progress with the new garden here, on the Blog.