Find out how to make the most of your garden. Here are 13 of the best blooming blogs we’ve found so far – inspiration to turn your fingers green, and your neighbours green with envy.
The anxious gardener
“Self-employed gardening is often a lonely pastime,” says professional gardener David Marsden, who works on two large gardens including The Priory in Sussex. He started his award-winning blog to bring the gardens to a wider audience.
One of David’s favourite posts, I Hate You, recounts an early misunderstanding with local farmer Margaret. Fortunately it turned out she was saying “I hate yew”, which is toxic to livestock.
David shows that blogging can be a great source of social support. When his hedges were afflicted with box blight during last year’s rainy winter, followers flooded him with sympathy and advice – though Margaret the Farmer was quick to disapprove of yew as a potential replacement.
Are you a city dweller who wishes you could grow your own? The answer is to grow up! By focusing entirely on growing veg in containers, urban gardener and blogger, Mark managed to grow a staggering £900 worth of veg on a balcony and windowsill in a year.
If that’s got you inspired, check out Mark’s blog for images and stories of his own and other amazing gardens in tiny spaces.
There’s no reason why you can’t turn your backyard or balcony into a haven for wildlife – Mark says an old washing up bowl is all you need. Check out his post on building a basin pond. We were amazed to discover that such a small pond is all it takes to attract water beetles, pond skaters and even frogs.
Helene U. Taylor inherited an overgrown and neglected garden in East London in 2015 and set about redeveloping it. As you might expect from a graphic designer, her blog includes detailed garden design plans.
Helene says: “Whenever I visit other people’s blogs I see plants I would like to have in my own garden.” She adds these to her plant wish list which includes the 'Harvington Snowgoose' – neither a bird nor a plane, but a bulb.
THE URBAN VEG PATCH
Want to know how to grow sweet peas that last all summer? Here’s where you’ll find out. Passionate gardener and allotmenteer Caro Shrives started The Urban Veg Patch in 2009 as a way of documenting the progress of a community group of neighbours their kids.
It’s all about growing vegetables, salads, fruit and bug-friendly flowers in the gardens of the flats where she lives in North London. Caro’s blog is an inspiring look at what communities can achieve when they put their minds to it.
THE MIDDLE-SIZED GARDEN
There’s lots of advice out there for small gardens, but what if yours is middle-sized? Author and journalist Alexandra Campbell offers advice to gardeners with something “bigger than a courtyard but smaller than an acre.”
Her blog is packed full of practical tutorials, all beautifully illustrated with photographs and including a short video. Find out what makes a good wildlife garden, how to prune espaliered fruit trees, and even how to use a chainsaw.
ROCK COTTAGE YEAR
Have you ever dreamed of growing your own veg? The images of Beth Foster’s vegetable garden in late summer will inspire you to get digging, and her detailed planting lists will help you copy the look.
She documents not only progress in the veg patch but also the latest news from the chicken coop, with some very cute pictures of chicks hatching – and if you’ve ever wondered how to sex poultry, here’s where to find out.
RAMBLING IN THE GARDEN
Do you like dahlias? Gardening blogger Cathy Lyon-Green loves them so much she even writes poems about them. She also cooks what she grows – check out her blog for delicious recipes including rhubarb cake and blackcurrant ice cream.
Cathy started her blog to keep a record of her garden as she developed it from scratch. Anyone doing the same will find the maps of her garden, plant lists and annual sowing records an invaluable resource.
And now Cathy’s garden has been listed in the 2017 ‘Yellow Book’. See for yourself what someone can achieve with a little vision and determination by visiting Cathy’s garden as part of the National Garden Scheme (NGS).
When she took on a derelict cottage with an overgrown four-acre woodland garden perched on a hillside in Devon, Jessica certainly had her work cut out.
Her blog charts her plans, progress, and battles with ravenous wildlife – especially the dreaded slugs (so far coffee grounds have proved the most effective). A detailed photo-record also shows what’s blooming in the garden each month.
Jessica also records progress with the cottage renovations which, she says, are coming along nicely. It might even be time to think about cushions.
THE FRUSTRATED GARDENER
Check out time-poor plantsman, Dan Cooper’s stunning subtropical garden on the Kent coast – it even boasts an outdoor kitchen. If you’d like to recreate the look, there’s a detailed plan and plant list to follow. And if that’s not enough, Dan’s other garden is in London.
Packed with practical advice, Dan’s blog is a treasure trove of information for gardeners. Ever wondered how to keep your summer garden lush for longer, how and when to prune your hedge (how much is too much?), or when is it too late to plant spring bulbs? Dan has the answers.
Find inspiration from around the world too, as they document their garden visits. They’ve been to over a dozen locations in the UK, and have visited several international botanical gardens including the Jardin des Plantes in Paris and Atocha railway station in Madrid, which they say looks more like the Palm House at Kew than a train station!
THE BLACKBERRY GARDEN
What are your favourite, and least favourite plants? Leicester-based Alison Levey keeps a regular tally, with her annual Blackberry Garden Plant of the Year Award and Irritating Plant of the Month (IPotM).
Alison clearly likes a bit of competition when it comes to growing, documenting her plant trials so that her readers can share in the results. Ever wondered which growing medium is best for growing the ‘Jazzy’ potato? Take a look at Alison’s Jazzy Grow Bag Challenge.
A PENTLAND GARDEN DIARY
Describing themselves as “keen and willing, if slightly clueless gardeners,” Nadine Pierce and her partner Sandy moved to a cottage on the edge of the Scottish Pentland Hills, where they ripped up the garden and started again.
THE ENDURING GARDENER
Stephanie Donaldson is contributing gardens editor of Country Living magazine and describes herself as “a long-time believer in organic gardening”.
There’s lots of growing advice too, including how to prune your cordons like a pro, how to maintain your topiary, and how to grow 10 types of chillies – from the mild to the seriously hot. You can even design and print your own seed packets from her site.
Do you have any favourite gardening blogs you find inspiring? Let us know on our Facebook page!
Lead image: Alexander Raths