How did Heart & Soil start?
I was working for a wonderful designer some years ago, but yearned to be outside more (the reason I studied garden design in the first place!) so I thought the only way to have the freedom to decide how and where I spend my time was to set up my own thing. It’s been hard work, but I just love being my own boss and I now couldn’t imagine a different kind of working life.
What is your favourite thing about landscape gardening?
Being out and about with the birds and the bees. I can be tired and stressed about how much there is to do... and then up pops a robin, hopping around looking for worms as I’m churning up the soil, and it never fails to pacify and make me smile.
Which flowers/plants would you choose for your ideal summer window box?
I always put something trailing in there. I find some petunias a bit brash but I’m a big fan of petunia surfinia 'Blue Vein' or 'Sophistica Lime Green'. Lobelia ‘Blue Cascade’ too, trailing verbenas and cheery bacopa ’Snowtopia'. Fuschias are such a delight - they remind me of my childhood garden - and you can get some gorgeous varieties that aren’t the commonly seen purple and pink combo, such as fuchsia 'Blue Angel’ or “Bella Rosella'.
What are the best flowers to plant to help the bee population?
The bees and insects go wild for our herb garden at home - lavender, wild marjoram, thyme, and chives. Other favourites for wildlife are honeysuckle, foxgloves, verbena bonariensis, rose campion. The bonus is lots of these are wonderfully scented, so humans benefit from the wildlife friendly choice too.
What advice would you give an urban gardening beginner?
Just start. Gardening is such a trial and error thing and the most important ingredients are enthusiasm, patience, and the will to nurture. Pick up a book with some basic guidelines, but don’t treat it like a bible. Use your intuition and just go for it. It’s fun! And there is aways Google - an enormous amount of information at your fingertips.