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Our PlantGrow family is still growing! We’re pleased to reveal our latest PlantGrow champion: Chris Jesson from @groovygardeninguk. Chris set up his Instagram account in January 2021 when he decided to reconsider how to use his spare time best and to focus on his well-being. We caught up with him to find out more about his gardening style and his favourite things to grow!
What made you get into gardening?
“I had a change of priorities to focus on my well-being and to see how I could be ‘busy’ and creative in a different way that feels more nourishing. Since setting up my account, I haven’t looked back!”
What is your favourite thing to grow?
“I seriously have a top 10 favourite flowers, with the favourites being roses, sunflowers and wisteria. I like growing sweet peas from seed the most.”
Who is your biggest gardening inspiration?
“Tough question – my followers are! But if we have to cascade that to individuals I would say I have a big allegiance to the enthusiasm set by Carol Klein and Adam Frost. In more recent times, the energy of garden designer Ann-Marie Powell and her efforts to inspire through social media as part of @myrealgarden set the motions rolling for rethinking a journey into horticulture.”
Have you got anything exciting lined up for 2023?
“Yes! I am delighted to have been approached by fellow PlantGrow Champion, Samantha Wright, to be working on the fascinating restoration of the historic walled and formal gardens at the Manor in Bardney, Lincolnshire. It’ll be opening in stages as a new horticultural visitor attraction, and I’ll be part of that journey! I’m also delighted to be starting as a horticultural trainee for Lady Ursula Cholmeley at the prestigious Easton Walled Gardens in Lincolnshire from February 2023. Famous for snowdrops and sweet peas, but so much more. This, I hope, will be immense!”
Why do you garden organically?
“I adapted to gardening organically very quickly upon learning how much more accessible it has become and ultimately why it is beneficial to us, the planet, and wildlife. The soil reaps the rewards too with no apparent disadvantage, providing the product ingredients are of good quality. I think it is our duty to reap the benefits of our plant material and what we don’t use on the land to enhance the goodness of the soil domestically/for the mainstream. Plus, we know that if we get the soil right, much of our gardening prowess will follow!”
What do you think about PlantGrow?
“The product feels nourishing and I like that it is from the bi-product of anaerobic digestion, reducing waste on our farmsteads and putting it to good use and, as a commercial operation, supporting the rural economy and the future prospects of our highly-prized soils. I think it feels part of a necessary movement to make sure we’re using plant material for plants wherever possible. This extends right from products in bulk right to smaller bottles available at ease on the shop floor.”
What are your top tips for sustainable gardening?
“Firstly, consider the timing and routine of mulching. Grow with the thought process and intent of how many purposes a plant or gardening space might have, or with the mindset of trying to reduce unsustainable practices. An example could be growing cut flowers for the home in replacement of flowers bought in (especially from abroad). Another could be the swapping of pesticides, fungicides etc with biological means of control such as nematodes. I made this switch very quickly. A third example could be the growing of certain plants that can better support pollinators or be reused for supporting other plants as we progress into other seasons.”
How do you feel about being a PlantGrow champion?
“Honestly, pleased to be asked in the first instance! In all seriousness, I’ve been showcasing gardening in a positive, real and sincere world here and with that comes the genuine endorsement of products and brands I feel comfortable with. PlantGrow is one of those; family-owned, ingenious, award-winning and full of goodness. I’m more than happy to champion what PlantGrow does.”
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