Earlier this month, we caught up with Guy Barter, RHS Chief Horticultural Advisor, about horticulture, wildlife, and his plans for 2017. Check out his interview below.
Our interview with Guy Barter
1. Why is wildlife so important to the horticultural industry?
Wildlife in the general sense of biodiversity is important to everyone as our existence is tied to that of other living things. However for the horticultural industry, in particular, there is a sort of invisible help from wildlife that acts to keep populations in check, so unbeknown to gardeners, pest and diseases are generally suppressed to manageable levels by their natural enemies. Without these, there would be much more pest and disease troubles.
Pollination is, of course, important as most garden plant seeds and virtually all fruit, broad and runner beans, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and other fruiting
A short while ago, we caught up with Luke Jones, Project Manager of Energy Garden, to talk about the Energy Garden project, what it is, and how it is helping bring colour and life to some of London's busiest areas. Check out our interview below!
Our interview with Energy Garden
1. What would you say the main aim of the Energy Garden project is?
Energy Garden aims to bring communities together using the power of community gardening and community energy. We install environmental infrastructure and small renewable energy systems on the platforms of the London Overground and hand them to the local community. By doing this we are re-invigorating the civic pride that used to be commonplace in the communities around these public spaces.
2. The focus of the Energy Garden project is to provide on-site renewable energy for small scale station amenities. How do you work towards this?
Last month, we caught up with Neil Wilcox, Information Officer at Thrive, about how gardening can help people from all walks of life build confidence, skills, and relationships. We look at some of the work that Thrive does, how you can get involved, and how social and therapeutic horticulture can benefit everyone.
Learning about Thrive
1. What is Thrive?
Thrive is the leading charity in the UK that uses gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people who are living with disabilities or ill health, or are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable. This is known as social and therapeutic horticulture (STH).
2. Why was Thrive set up? What was the driving force behind it?
Thrive was initially set up by Chris Underhill MBE in 1978 as the Society for Horticultural Therapy and Rural Training. Chris was inspired after seeing the benefits that working with plants and land brought to people who had blindn
Featured image: Darren Ema and Nicky planting some purple sprouting broccoli in the greenhouse
We caught up with Ken over at People and Gardens to find out more about their work and some of the projects they are involved with, how gardening can provide substantial health benefits, and who they work with within the community for their projects and wider aims. Take a look at our interview below.
Our interview with People and Gardens
1. People and Gardens was set up to help people with learning disabilities and mental health issues to develop work and social skills. How does your work benefit them?
The work enables them to achieve participation, presence, competence, choice and respect, which leads to the participants taking control over their own lives, and to feeling that they are valued members of society.
Recently, we caught up with Mandy Barber from Incredible Vegetables to find out all about how she started growing vegetables, how she has become one of the main growers of ulluco in the UK, and to get some beginners tips to help us all become expert vegetable growers.
Take a look at our interview below.
Our Interview with Incredible Vegetables
1. You and your partner set up Incredible Vegetables as an experimental vegetable growing project and now sell perennial vegetable plants and seeds in your online shop. When you started, did you ever expect to sell so much?
It all started back in 2010, when we were lucky enough to buy a share in a piece of land which gave us a lot of space – not just to grow our own fo
Last month we spoke to Stephanie Hafferty to find out all about no dig gardening, and how you can turn homegrown food into favourite dishes and even natural products for the home. Find out all about what Stephanie does in our interview below.
Our interview with Stephanie Hafferty
1. You are a no-dig kitchen gardener, teacher, writer and chef. How do you tie all of your occupations together?
The different aspects of my work have naturally formed, so they tie together harmoniously.
After leaving university (where I studied English Literature and Art History), I trained as a secondary school teacher but after two years’ teaching in a school in Cambridgeshire realised that it wasn’t the career for me. Whilst exploring other options, I became pregnant with my first child - I have three children (all young adults now) so parenting has been a major theme of the past 23 years.
I’ve always had an interest in growing but this had been
Last month, we caught up with SweetTree Farming for All to find out more about their Care Farm project and some of the other work they do with the community. Check out our interview with them below.
Our interview with SweetTree Farming for All
1. SweetTree Farming For All runs a range of activities and training for adults and young people. What sort of activities and training do you provide?
We run a few different projects, some at our own Care Farm in Mill Hill, SweetTree Fields Farm, and some are outreach projects around Watford and Hertfordshire. At our Care Farm, our ‘Let it Grow’ project for adults with a wide range of health/social support needs offers animal husbandry, horticulture, outdoor cooking, natural arts and crafts, shelter building and other bushcraft. It’s our own farm so we can do almost anything, and have our own sheep, donkeys, chickens, ducks and rabbits, with wooded areas, a warm and cosy yurt and an outdoor clay oven.
Earlier this month, we caught up with Stuart Moody, publisher of Pocket Farm magazine. Pocket Farm provides practical information for smallholders, backyard farmers and crafters, so we spoke to Stuart about small-scale, back garden chicken keeping. Stuart gave us some great advice in his interview below, so be sure to check it out if you're thinking of owning chickens or need some advice on an existing flock.
Our interview with Pocket Farm
1. What factors do you need to consider before you start keeping chickens?
There are several things you need to consider if you decide you want to keep chickens, especially in an urban environment, not least of which is if you are allowed to. Some properties will have specific clauses in the deeds that forbid it and some local by-laws may also prohibit livestock – which is how chickens are classified – being kept.
Earlier this month, we were lucky enough to catch up with Becca Williamson, Communications Officer at Freshwater Habitats Trust, to find out more about their Flagship Ponds Project. Check out our interview below:
Our interview with Freshwater Habitats Trust
1. The Flagship Ponds project works with local communities and organisations to protect important freshwater pond sites across England and Wales. How many pond sites are you currently working on?
Freshwater Habitats Trust is working on 70 of the hundred or so Flagship Pond sites we have identified in the UK. These are the most important pond sites, the top 0.2% of ponds. They support some of our rarest freshwater plants and animals, and we’ve selected them because the work we can do there, will really make a difference to these special places.
2. How many com