Roots to knowledge: the best gardeners to follow on social media | Gardens
Alessandro Vitale has become an Instagram and TikTok guru for urban gardeners growing their own food. The Italian tattoo studio manager films his experiments in vertical farming and organic gardening for fun- and information-packed posts. If you’re wondering about the username, it’s a reference to his chilli obsession – he has seeds for more than 600 varieties.
The Irish gardener and landscape designer found fame as the youngest contestant in the Chelsea Flower Show to win a gold medal in 2002. Since then, Reynolds has completely rethought her approach to the land. She sees humans as guardians, not gardeners, of the land. Her organisation, We Are The Ark, helps people rewild their gardens and outdoor spaces and her new philosophy is explained in her book, The Garden Awakening.
Jimi Blake’s Hunting Brook Gardens houses one of Ireland’s largest private collections of plants, including sand gardens, exotic plants and woodlands. If you can’t make it to County Wicklow to enjoy it in person, sign up for Blake’s online classes to experience one of the most enthusiastic, upbeat tutors ever.
In the wake of the Black Lives Matters protests, horticulturist Sui Searle started the Instagram account Decolonise the Garden to spread information about the impact of colonisation and racism on gardening and land access. The feed is a great edit of posts and writing by people of colour working in horticulture, and information about gardening and cultural events. Searle’s newsletter, Radicle, is available on Substack.
Jason Williams is a Manchester bar manager who spent lockdown turning his 18th-floor balcony in Deansgate into a green oasis, complete with its own fish pond. He found gardening helps his anxiety and depression, and his films on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok discuss mental health, as well as how to combat slugs in a sky-high microclimate. Post lockdown, he’s started a community garden at his bar.
Queen of Herbs Jekka McVicar is the acknowledged authority on growing and using herbs in the UK. She’s an invaluable source of knowledge for Britain’s top chefs and the Queen apparently gave the Duchess of Cambridge a copy of Jekka’s Herb Cookbook as a present. McVicar’s Gloucestershire herbetum now offers master classes and group experiences, as well as open days for curious browsers to investigate herbs first hand.
This mature tree nursery, founded by landscape designer Micahel Pfahl 22 years ago, situated in the highlands of New South Wales, Australia, is home to a majestic range of flowering peaches, Chinese pistachio and red maples among many others. You may not be able to visit in person, but the Treekeepers instagram is a beautifully curated feed of posts and regrams of trees, fungi and the natural world. Follow and like.
Sargeant was the first black woman garden designer to show at Chelsea. Her Modern Slavery Garden won a Gold Medal in 2016; it was also the Flower Show’s first social campaign garden. This year she’s back at Chelsea with the new Blue Peter Garden, which is based around soil. Sergeant trained as a doctor and a lot of her work looks at the effect of gardening on wellbeing and mental health. Sargeant runs great courses through her Sussex Garden School.
The father of the new perennial movement and the move toward more naturalistic gardens. This Dutch gardener’s work includes New York’s High Line, the grounds of the Serpentine and Hauser & Wirth galleries in the UK, and the garden at Vitra Design Museum in Germany. Watch the 2015 documentary Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf and read Gardening with Grasses and Planting the Natural Garden for an insight into Oudolf’s ideas.
This community-led start-up works with allotments, schools and community gardens to promote food education for children, with an allotment tour planned for 2022. Its colourful GrowZine and fun stickers are great for teaching kids.
This Japanese botanical sculptor won’t help if you’re looking for tips on how to repot your spider plant. He’s a former rock guitarist who moved into floristry in 2001 and now creates works of art by encasing plants in ice and even setting them on fire. As Instagram inspiration, his account is a great one to follow. The recent book Flower Art: Makoto Azuma (2020) is the most comprehensive survey of his remarkable art.
Maurice Harris is the LA florist of choice for fashion shows and celebrities, but his extrovert floral designs and personality have made him a star in his own right. His TV show is incoming. His Instagram is a vibrant mood board for his extravagant talent and also an insightful record of life as black, queer American. Learn more from the man himself by signing up to one of his lectures on Masterclass.
This joyous blog and Instagram features home and community gardeners from around the world who grow, save seeds and share crops and gardening tips. You could read about Sri Lankan immigrants growing Asian vegetables or a suburban American family gardening for a sense of wellbeing. You’ve never seen more uplifting photos of tomatoes