This month Emma Davies who runs the Walled Nursery in Hawkhurst with her husband Monty is embracing a virtual approach to gardening…
The nights are drawing in, the evenings and mornings are positively chilly and you should be well on the way to preparing to put the garden to bed for the winter. You should’ve completed the tidying you wish to do, but do remember our feathered friends and the insect world – make sure you’re not too tidy! Biennials should be in now, such as wallflowers to give you spring cheer, and you can pat yourself on the back and take a well-earned rest! So what can you do to satisfy your gardening thirst over the winter months? Of course, there is still much to do in the garden over winter: pruning of roses, trees and shrubs. There are many delightful winter flowering plants that on the whole also have knock-out scent, drawing you out in the garden but at some point, the ground will freeze over and you’ll be forced to put your feet up!
Welcome to the virtual world of gardening! I can hear you saying, ‘oh, I don’t bother with all of that’, well, maybe you should? A few years ago, when I was nagged by my sister to set up our plant nursery on Twitter, I said exactly what I just predicted you would say, ‘I don’t have the time’, ‘I don’t understand it’; ‘what’s the point?’ Three years down the line, our little plant nursery tucked away down a lane in rural Hawkhurst, has 3,000 followers from not just the UK but from all over the world!
There is a large gardening community on Twitter. If you think about it, gardening can be quite a solitary occupation or hobby, just you and the birds and bees, which is quite honestly why it appeals to most of us! We’re given a chance to slow down, to look at things in close detail, to set yourself challenges, create new areas and enjoy the fruits of our labours. Twitter has all of these things in abundance and for me, I find it fuels my desire, increases my knowledge, introduces me to new gardens, plants, products, nurseries and lets me know of gardening events to attend, inspiring me endlessly.
Not convinced yet? Who is on Twitter that may interest you? Close to home, we have Great Dixter, several of Sissinghurst Castle’s gardeners including Troy their head gardener, as well as designers such as Jo Thompson, multi gold award winner at the Chelsea Flower Show and Sarah Wilson who recently won gold for her garden at Hampton Court Flower Show. Then on to the celebrities – Christine Walkden is very active on Twitter, Rachel de Thame and Monty Don, whose dog Nigel also has his own Twitter persona! The latest newbie to Twitter is the legend himself, garden designer, multi gold winner at Chelsea and all round good egg, Dan Pearson.
So, living in a virtual gardening world, how has it affected me in my real life? From a business perspective, it has raised our profile hugely, we do have many visitors who have come to us as they’ve been following what we’re up to on Twitter. We have been written about in many different national papers and magazines, all of which came about via a tweet here or there. I have discovered new plants, a photo in a tweet which has caught my eye, I then track down a plant or seeds and I’m off and away. I have discovered so many interesting gardens and nurseries to visit that my fellow horti- followers have introduced me to as well as helping me to connect with local craftspeople to find interesting, quality, hand- made gifts to stock in our nursery…we’ll leave the mass produced tatt to everyone else!
Sound interesting? Why not give it a try? If you’re not sure where to start, search for us @thewallednurser and take a look at who’s following us or who we’re following and start following them yourself. You’ll then be off and away, now I’m just off to have a look at the latest project Dan Pearson is tweeting about as I have a large new border I want to create and I need inspiration!
Happy Gardening, Emma