Meet the Gardener: Jen @myboxofbliss
- Tell us a bit about you and when did you start gardening and why?
I moved into my first home in December 2018 after renting a flat for four and a half years and I was so excited to have some outdoor space. My grandparents love gardening and I was brought up visiting garden centres in the school holidays and spending time helping out on their allotment. The first summer in my home they grew me all my bedding plants and I loved adding colour to my garden, but it wasn’t until lockdown this year when I realised I wouldn’t have any help from them that I learnt to grow things from seed and really fell in love with gardening. I ultimately just want to make myself a beautiful garden and for them to be proud of what I’ve created.
- Which gardeners inspire you and why?
Not just saying this because you’ve invited me on here but the answer really has to be you! We’ve had many a conversation about the bloody leaflets and adverts that come with the gardening magazines and I truly love what you are doing with The Rose Press Garden. Celebrity gardeners wise I absolutely love the Rich brothers and love their modern take on gardening too.
- What’s the most ambitious gardening project you’ve completed or have planned?
I have plans this year to totally transform my garden space; new patio area, plenty of new planting beds and really putting my own stamp on my garden. I’ve currently just been trying to work with what the previous owner left me in terms of design. I can’t wait to see it come together and hopefully it will look as amazing as it does in my head!
- What is your favourite thing to grow?
Being so new to all this I don’t have much to choose from, but my absolute favourite find has to have been Cosmos. They’re so beautiful and I can’t wait to plant more of them next year.
- Anything new you want to try in the next growing season?
Again, almost everything is new to me, but I planted over 600 bulbs in my garden this Autumn and I’m so excited to (hopefully!) see them all come up in Spring. I think it will be a real test of my garden conditions as I have no idea what will grow well where, which is part of the reason I have planted so many. I’m also SO excited to plant all of my seeds from your advent calendar.
- Where is your favourite garden in the world and why?
Is my grandparents’ allotment/garden allowed? My passion definitely stemmed from that place, I just feel so calm and happy when I am there and it’s just incredible what they are still managing to achieve in their 70s.
- What do you wish you’d known earlier about gardening?
I wish I’d known how good for my mental health it was. I’ve always known I loved having flowers around, but really getting stuck in myself, planting seeds and watching things grow is so rewarding and a different kind of joy to anything I’ve experienced. Last year I had some difficult times in work which I struggled to separate from my home life and if I’d known how good for my brain gardening was I may well have started growing from seed earlier.
- What advice would you give to someone new gardening?
Don’t be afraid to try anything and everything! I definitely think it’s the best way to learn. My garden was a complete mismatch this summer and I expect it will be in spring too with all the bulbs I’ve planted (my garden truly isn’t big enough for 600 bulbs!) but at least I’ll be able to take away what has worked and not worked ready for spring 2022.
- When not gardening what do you like doing?
One of my other favourite hobbies is baking but I don’t do it enough. If I’m not in the garden usually you will find me sat watching football which I absolutely love. Everyone always says they’ve never met a girl into football as much as me but as with gardening it’s something I’ve grown up around and will be instilled in me always.
Lizzie: I think Jen perfectly optimises how much joy can come from getting stuck in and learning to grow from seed. Clearly her grandparents are a huge inspiration for her and I can't wait to see all those amazing bulbs in Spring!