In September 2011, 24-year-old John Foley won BBC Three’s Young Gardener of the Year, an award he had to keep to himself until mid-February 2012, when the programme, presented by George Lamb, was broadcast.
According to Lauren Thomas on Twitter (here’s a screenshot):
… Now that made me smile.
I’m still trying to find out if George Lamb is into gardening, out of curiosity, but presume BBC Three wanted to attract a young audience. Lamb is, after all, well-known for presenting various ‘Yoof TV’ programmes.
Shortly after BBC Three Young Gardener of the Year was broadcast, Foley was interviewed by Ed Cumming for The Telegraph. Cumming’s article explains that Foley has taken over the family business, a nursery called Holden Clough in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire. “My father’s obsessive about plants, but he’s not as focused on the business side,” Foley said. Indeed. In my other life as a gardener I’d met his father, Peter, years before and remember his enthusiastic nature. On reading the Telegraph article, that certainly seems to have rubbed-off on his son. You can follow his progress on Twitter @HoldenClough
Speaking of his award in the aforementioned article, Foley comes across as a passionate advocate. “I hope it inspires young people to think about horticulture as a career. Everyone presenting on TV is in their forties or fifties. In a few years we could have a real problem when there are no gardeners left. The eternal problem with gardening is that it’s not cool. Fruit and veg growing is coming along leaps and bounds thanks to Jamie Oliver and all the self-sufficiency stuff, but we need to help get some focus on the plants and horticultural side.”
Well. I, kind of, empathise with Foley to a point. It’s fair to say that for many people gardening is something you take up later in life. That said, I’ve encountered many young gardeners and some very cool garden-related happenings. These encounters have mostly taken place in gardens, unsurprisingly. Some of them, however, have been in the ether – I’m an armchair gardener too. John Foley’s words – thank you John – have provided me with an opportunity to give a shout out to some of those garden-related happenings, and to some of the gardening guys and girls, admittedly not all as young as Foley, but all far from retired. In this post I’m (mostly) hanging out in London. You dig?
The Pothole Gardener @potholegardener
First up, Steve Wheen, the Pothole Gardener. Steve is a so-called Guerilla gardener and the creator of some of the smallest gardens you’ll ever see, he takes wonderful images of his work too. His first book “The Little Book of Little Gardens” is soon to be published, by Dokument Press ” … a Swedish publisher that provides information on subcultures through the publication and distribution of books, magazines and films. The company is run by enthusiasts with great knowledge of art, music, fashion and alternative culture.”
If you like the work of artist (model maker and photographer) Slinkachu, you’re bound to dig Steve Wheen’s pothole gardens too.
Allison Ogden Newton @aogdennewton
A lovely chap who I met at a social enterprise conference, Dave Dawe, asked in a tweet (@davedawes should you wish to follow, he’s a prolific tweeter, very warm, very funny) “So which tweeters you follow would most like to meet in real life?”
One of the tweeters I’d like to meet is Allison Ogden Newton: An award-winning gardener, occasional Guardian writer and CEO of Social Enterprise London (SEL) who have just joined forces with Social Enterprise UK.
I enjoy Allison’s writing and photographs of her allotment, she keeps it real, although one visitor to her blog ” … said to me recently that they went to my blog because I write about social enterprise and yet many of my contributions seemed to be about an allotment. She said, “How can anyone write so much about gardening?” Clearly, she was not impressed. I do wonder what folk make of my rather eclectic mix of social commentary, horticulture and family life.”
Keep up the great work Allison is what I say, her blog received over 28’000 unique visitors last year.
Artist Gardeners @DimitriLaunder
Ethically-minded, creative and inspirational. From ‘Artist Gardeners’ website: “Dimitri Launder is founder of Artist Gardeners ~ Sculptural Concepts, Edible Planting. Ideas cross pollinate between his commercial private | public gardens and emergent ideas in his art practice: His concerns are often based on an apocalyptic view of the sustainability of localised food production in an urban context.”
Three links follow, just because, “because of the wonderful things he does.”
I’ve Dimitri Launder to thank for providing me with a link to the following publication, which is really beautiful. ‘Think like a Forest, Act like a Meadow.’
Project Dirt @projectdirt
Project Dirt was founded by Nick Gardner and Mark Shearer. This is a social networking site for green-minded people, free to use, you can sign up in a few minutes, create a profile and, if you have one, a project page – There’s literally hundreds of projects and events that you can explore and take part in, all over the UK. Project Dirt have a sister site in Liverpool too.
Chelsea Fringe @ChelseaFringe
Finally, a shout out to Chelsea Fringe. I love the Guardian’s description of this event: “The Chelsea flower show’s punkier, upstart cousin …”
The above article by Debbie Taylor originally appeared on Storify. http://storify.com/bangyourdrum/you-dig
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