Sowing the seed of social media gardening

By Tamsin Westhorpe

Over the last few weeks I’ve seen inside more gardens than I would in an average year. We might not be comfortable or able to visit as many open gardens due to the corona virus but there has been no shortage of people sharing their plots through social media.

You can happily fill your days listening to live Instagram chats, looking at virtual tours, taking part in online question and answer session, tuning in to podcasts and you can even attend zoom talks. Along with the wonderfully rich content from the Royal Horticultural Society and the National Garden Scheme so many well-known gardeners are generously sharing their time and giving their energy to spreading the joys of gardening to everyone. They are showing us their personal gardens warts and all. Having spoken to a few it seems that they decided to share their thoughts as much to help themselves as others. I for one have found great comfort in being able to share videos of the gardens at Stockton Bury whilst they remain closed (@tamsinwesthorpe).

@myrealgarden Instagram

During this period of uncertainty, I’m convinced that the gardening advice shared has been more relaxed, more give it a go and see rather than ridged step by steps. This is progress as far as I’m concerned. There are no rules when it comes to gardening so being able to rummage through the offerings and find a voice that suits you is such a joy.

There is no doubt that gardening has seen an increase in interest and this traditional hobby has now emerged as a sexy, healthy and rewarding pastime that everyone wants to have a go at. We have suddenly realised what can be achieved by staying at home and we like it. My only hope is that the excitement doesn’t dwindle as we slowly and cautiously move out of lockdown. So how has gardening saved us in so many ways? Where shall I start? It has enabled us to enjoy watching seeds emerging and buds opening. We have had time to stop, look and listen to the natural world that we have been guilty of ignoring as we race around doing what we thought were important things. It has given us a purpose and in so many cases eased anxiety.

@myrealgarden Instagram

One wonders if we will continue to be surrounded by free gardening tips and experiences when life returns to normal (whatever normal will be). Committing to regular live shows might not be practical in the long term, so for now we need to gain as much out of them as we can. It’s not too late to join in the fun and learn from so many wonderful personalities.

If you aren’t sure where to find this new and exciting gardening content, then let me help you get started. I’ve created a top ten list. They are in no particular order so delve in and take your pick.

Top Ten Gardening Social Media Accounts

1. INSTAGRAM @myrealgarden – every day since the very start of the lockdown, garden designer, presenter and author Ann-Marie Powell has been going live on Instagram at 12.30pm. She’s been sharing the transformation of her plot, interviewing guests and answering questions. It’s fun, informative and very addictive.

Join Ann-Marie Powell everyday on Instagram at 12.30pm @myrealgarden

2. INSTAGRAM @Simonlycett – Royal and celebrity florist Simon has kept us entertained by reading extracts from his book The Flower Market Year, sowing seeds, talking to guests and generally welcoming us all into his garden and his world. A very inclusive and enjoyable experience.

Royal and celebrity florist Simon Lycett shares his garden on instagram. Credit: Julian Winslow

3. INSTRAGRAM @Arnemaynardgardendesign – keep an eye on this well-known designers Instagram and you’ll enjoy mini video tours of his stunning garden.

4. INSTAGRAM @exburygardens and @marielouiseagius – join Marie-Louise Agius, garden designer and RHS judge, as she shares the most incredible footage of her family garden with the help of her dog Willow. Exbury is now open but if you can’t visit, her drone footage is to die for.

Marie-Louise and her dog Willow
Drone footage of Exbury Gardens in Hampshire

5. FACEBOOK AND MORE Mark Lane – Gardeners’ World presenter Mark has been generously answering gardening questions live every Saturday at 11am. Live across Restream, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and now Instagram Live.

Gardeners’ World presenter Mark Lane is ready to answer your questions

6. INSTAGRAM @Ellenmarygardening – Ellen Mary is a garden writer and presenter and has been spending the lockdown in the USA in an apartment with a small balcony. The restriction on space haven’t stopped her from coming up with floral ideas. Learn how to make a floral bracelet and spruce up sunglasses with flowers.

Go crafty with Ellen Mary

7. INSTAGRAM @thenewtinsomerset – great videos from the whole team at this Somerset garden. Everything from recipes for elderflower fritters to feeding the geese.

8. YOUTUBE Charles Dowding’s channel – this is the place to head if you are keen to grow your own using the no dig technique. Fantastic advice so clearly demonstrated.

9. INSTAGRAM @annagreenland – organic grower for Michelin chefs, Anna has been sharing practical tips through her Instagram account whilst having her baby strapped to her chest! Growing on windowsills, potato growing tips and so much more.

10. TWITTER @ABIANDTOMS – Nurseryman Tom Attwood runs Abi & Tom’s Garden Plants in Cumbria. He regularly shares his plant of the day and his information is so clear and informative. Great way to learn new plants.

Tamsin Westhorpe

With over 25 years’ experience in the horticultural industry, Tamsin has plenty of practical, hands on advice to share. Her career has seen her edit The English Garden magazine for six years, write scripts for TV gardening, lecture at Kingston Maurward College in Dorset and care for parks and gardens. She is now a freelance writer and curator and gardener of Stockton Bury Gardens, Herefordshire (listed by The Times in the top 20 gardens to visit July 2017). Tamsin is also an RHS Chelsea Flower Show Judge, co-Chair of The Garden Media Guild and a prolific speaker at many high profile events. She has recently written her first book ‘Diary of a Modern Country Gardener’ published by Orphans Publishing and is the voice of the popular Candide Gardening podcast ‘Fresh from the pod’.

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