Meet the Gardener: Sophie @the_gardenstylist

I've followed Sophie on Instagram for a while. Her ability to transform gardens and spaces from bland to brilliant is amazing! She shares tips and tricks and lots of 'before' and 'after' shots on her Instagram. If you're looking for a bit of inspiration to add some flourish of style to your garden then she is your lady. If you don't follow her already then go and find Sophie at @the_gardenstylist.

I’m Sophie, a Mum of two girls Evie & Elsie and also know as The Garden Stylist. Over the last year I’ve grown (pun intended) my passion for gardens into a business. 2020 sent me back to college to study garden design and later on this year again to study RHS level two in practical gardening. My goal for any client is to turn their garden into a functional part of their home that they will use & enjoy for years! 

Tell us a bit about you and when did you started gardening, and why?

Well, my love of gardening has been forever! I remember attempting a rockery at my childhood home made of broken pots after watching Alan Titchmarsh create one with Charlie Dimmock! I find it, like most incredibly relaxing and really the only time I truly zone out and forget about the world around me! That and the instant reward - be it pruning a messy hedge or completing an installation for a client who updates you with the progress!

Which gardeners inspire you and why?

Well besides you, there are loads of amazing inspirational gardeners & garden designers. My main inspiration at the moment would have to be Tom Stuart-Smith because of his use of Corten - I love it and always try to use it in as many installations as I can! 

 I also adore Pollyanna Willkinson - I often disappear into her Instagram for longer than I care to admit! Her talent for converting even the smallest space into something incredibly functional and stunning is utterly inspirational!

 

What’s the most ambitious gardening project you’ve completed or have planned?

I have some amazing projects in the pipeline that I can’t wait to share, and I’m working with an amazing team to give function to an area of a garden that has been totally ignored! Watch this space. Each project I work on is just so exciting, but the best part of it is seeing how the garden develops long after I’ve completed my installation. I also love to plant surprise bulbs (time of year depending obviously) for my clients and they love it when they pop up & so do I! 

What is your favourite thing to grow?

 Hydrangeas are an obvious one I think, but this year I’m giving Dahlias a go for the first time! I’m so excited and have been utterly inspired by my lovely Instagram friend Andrea of @dahliabeach

 I’ve also been inspired by you to grow from seeds and thanks to your advice I’m growing sweet peas from seeds! I’ve just pinched them all out too!

Anything new you want to try in the next growing season?

Well that’s 'how long is a piece of string' question! Yes of course...I mentioned Dahlia’s but I also want to give my veg patch another go. Last years crop wasn’t so brilliant so I’m going to give it anther go with some cucumber & carrots!

 

Where is your favourite garden in the world, and why?

 I have a special garden that I like to visit with one of my oldest dearest friends and that is the Rose garden in Hyde park. It’s a lovely stroll and the smell is just incredible. 

What do you wish you’d known earlier about gardening?

LOTS!!!! I learn something new every day! I did have a real ‘no way’ moment when I was taught about vine weevil! Now I can identify them & treat them! 

What advice would you give someone new to gardening?

Try it all! Make your mistakes & learn from them! Also, use google lens to identify plants you don’t know...it’s a game changer!

When not gardening, what do you like doing?

I’m actually a photographer also, so if I’m not in the garden you will find me taking photos of babies or families etc. That and doing the school run for my two girls and taking care of my third child aka my husband 🤣

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