It sounds cliché, but the best thing a gardener can grow is a new gardener, inspiring others to work with and learn from nature to create beautiful and edible things. Have a look at these favorite gardeners and their work. They ignite the garden spark in me. I hope they will for you too.
I have shared more on these garden influences here.
The Best Thing a Gardener Can Grow
Beyond anything else, the most important accomplishment a lifelong gardener could have is to know they have inspired new gardeners.
If you are a gardener yourself, you have probably learned the great secret: gardening is much more than plants and outdoor work. It’s a transformative experience that replenishes and uplifts many of us, like nothing else. We start off attracted to the visuals. We continue for the inner wow factor.
And this is what we hope to pass along when someone sees what we are up to and decides to try it too.
The garden influences here are all well-known. I have chosen them because they each ignited something in me. Each one makes a love of gardening delightfully contagious.
Helen Dillon is well-known to many gardeners in Ireland and the UK, but I had not heard of her myself until her famous home garden in Dublin was sold a few years ago. News stories started popping up with video tours of the final summer the garden would be open to the public. And what a fine garden it was.
I took this photo when I first saw her garden on a show (and it knocked my socks off):
One valuable tip in her approach to gardening, besides choosing spectacular plants, is to make use of containers. If you look closely at the photos and videos, you’ll see that she puts large plants in containers so they can be placed where they look best, and moved around as needed. Granted, it may take some muscular help. In my case, I use a handcart. It’s one of my best gardening tools.
Carol Klein is well-known in the UK, and co-hosts the super popular show, Gardeners’ World.
I became smitten when the series Life in a Cottage Garden aired in 2011. It followed a year in the life of her gorgeous, country property in Devon, where she also had a garden nursery. Carol is an encyclopedia of plant biology and propagation methods, and that enthusiasm is most contagious.
This is the book version of the Life in a Cottage Garden series.
Grow Your Own Garden is my go-to book for plant propagation how tos.
- Carol Klein books on Amazon
- Grow Your Own Garden by Carol Klein is one of my top favorite garden books.
Tasha Tudor is probably best known for her children’s book illustrations. I learned of her gardens when Tasha Tudor’s Garden by Tovah Martin was published in 1994. That was it: her gardening style was exactly what I was hoping to create.
I have written more about Tasha here.
The narration is in Japanese.
Ruth Stout came into my life when I was learning about permaculture and found this video (below) of her on YouTube. She was quite brilliant in many ways, ahead of her time, and marching to her own drummer.
I have written more about Ruth here.
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Monty Don is the main host of Gardeners’ World, the infamous BBC program. Why it doesn’t air in Canada, I do not understand. We have nothing like it here and I’m sure I’m not the only one who is hungry for gardening content like this.
I recently found this talk Monty gave at a Swedish gardening event and loved what he had to say about gardening.
Joan Gussow is one of those rare birds who saw the critical need for healthy, whole, local foods in our diets back in the 1970s.While Joan is best known for her work on food, sustainability, the environment, and climate change awareness, she first influenced me with her books.This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader and Growing, Older: A Chronicle of Death, Life, and Vegetables are two of my favourite memoirs.
Smart. Observant. Candid. Truth-teller.
And there you go. Be ignited and ignite.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛