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Behind The Scenes: Spring

We stayed in London for our
spring 'Sow Happy' shoot
- there's a surprising amount of
greenery here for a capital city!

Petersham Nurseries (Richmond),
the South London Botanical Institute
(Tulse Hill) and Rosendale
Allotments all helped make our
spring magalogue feel extra lush.

Enjoy our behind the scenes snaps
and read our interview with Thomas
Broom to get some gardening tips!

We shot in Petersham Nurseries, a garden centre in
Richmond where you can browse and buy plants and
eat yummy seasonal food. We interviewed Chief
Horticulturalist Thomas Broom to unearth
his secrets to gardening success.

How would you describe your gardening style?

It's very traditional - more of a cottage garden in style.

Where does the Nursery get its ideas for buying
in new products?

For gardening, we get our ideas from the Chelsea Flower
Show, Hampton Court and interiors magazines, but we
also start our own trends too. We'll plant wild flowers or
plants that might be considered weeds by others. We like
to show people how adaptable a garden can be by using
different plants.

Are there any popular planting or general gardening trends this spring?

At the moment, people like wild flowers, woodland
planting and huge interest in plants that are good for
bees and butterflies.

Do you have any advice or suggestions for the
first time gardener?

Consider what you're planting and think about which
colours you like; this is the most important thing.

If someone's new to gardening, what would you
suggest they grew first?

You would probably be better off starting with annuals
such as bedding plants; they come out once a year and
are a lot cheaper so it doesn't matter as much if they don't bloom. Try calendulas, nasturtiums or herbs; they are
always useful to have.

What about urban gardeners? Which vegetables could
potentially be grown on a balcony or in a window box?

Well there are these new products called 'seed balls'.
You can use these to grow wild flowers in a window box,
there are so many things you can grow in a window
box now, you can grow salads, rocket for example and
herbs; the possibilities are endless!

How do you find out when to plant key fruit and veg?

I would definitely refer to the internet. Look at things
like the Royal Horticultural Society Gardening Book and
I would definitely check the gardening columns in papers.

Could you help us with pest control?
How do you remove those nasty pests without
harming the plant?

We sell things at Petersham that encourage beneficial
insects - these are nematodes, they are basically
environmentally friendly forms of pest control.
We don't use anything here that isn't organic.

What is your favourite UK garden to visit?

Sissinghurst in Kent. The garden was created by
Vita Sackville-West, she was a writer, part of the
Bloomsbury set. My favourite non-UK garden has
to be The High Line in New York. I absolutely love
it, it's a garden built on an old railway track.
I love it there because it's got some stunning
planting schemes.

What are your favourite UK hardy plants?

My top five would have to be: roses, my favorite rose
variety is a Constance Spry, I love them. Another
hardy one is Wisteria and I have Hellebores in my
garden. Erigeron karvinskianus (A.K.A ‘the Mexican
Daisy') are great - they grow wild in the summer and
look lovely. Number five… let's say peonies.

What's the best thing about your job?

I get to be creative with plants and
working in the cutting garden. I work
as a florist as well and this is great;
the cutting and arranging of flowers
is by far the best part of my job.
I suppose it's seeing the start to end
process that I enjoy.

Favourite green-fingered celeb?

Prince Charles. I like what he stands
for, he is a great organic gardener
and really knows his plants.

Best gardening tool or accessory?

It's a tough one but it has to be my
trusty trowel.

What's your favorite thing
about spring?

So, so much, I suppose it's the plants
that I love, probably the emergence of
blossom in the trees. I used to work in
Japan and the cherry blossom was
brilliant. I like that spring is such a
significant time of year.

What would grow in your
dream garden?

Flowers I could cut all year round
- I have a small London garden so I can't quite achieve that at the moment.

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