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Wishing you a happy new year from The Earthworm, plus some news and lots of lovely links
To readers in Oceania, happy new year, and welcome to 2023!
To everyone else, I hope the last few moments/minutes/hours of 2022 treat you well, and however poor or pleasant the past 12 months have been for you, the next 12 bring a marked improvement.
As regular readers will know, I’ve taken a bit of a break from writing over the past 8 weeks or so owing to the arrival of Baby Boy #2. Having said that, I had still intended on publishing the occasional post, but a combination of parenting duties and some heavier-than-usual seasonal illnesses put paid to that plan.
As such, I wasn’t able to share with you my homemade winter wreath (pictured above), that I cobbled together using foliage foraged from my garden, plus some pyracantha berries snipped from a local hedge and a few fir branches donated to the cause by a kindly neighbour.
I’m pleased to say that the wreath held its form through the bone-chilling sub-zero temperatures in the build-up to Christmas/Chanukah, and is still beautifying our front door today. It was good fun and technically straightforward to put together, and the end product is so much more satisfying – and dare I say attractive – than the (admittedly very affordable) supermarket-sold alternatives.
I’d also intended on penning a post to let you know that while I sadly did not bring home the Alan Titchmarsh New Talent Award at this year’s Garden Media Guild Awards, I did manage to attend the star-studded event (if you, like me, consider Carol Klein, Roy Lancaster and Alan himself to be “stars”).
The award in my category went to a YouTube sensation by the name of Niall McCauley. A worthy winner, and a very pleasant young man.
I was fortunate enough to meet a whole host of very lovely people. Some, like me, new to this whole garden media game, and others much more well-known and established names. Here’s a quick-fire list of the people in whose company I spent the most time, links and all:
Sarah Gerrard-Jones, aka The Plant Rescuer. There’s being green-fingered, and then there’s Sarah, whose work bringing houseplants back from the (almost) dead is borderline miraculous. She has a book on the subject, but her Instagram account is where the regular action occurs.
Ellie Mitchell, a working gardener and gardening consultant who, alongside partner Ben, hosts The Wildlife Garden podcast, and associated YouTube channel. I really enjoyed their recent episode on whether we should rewild our gardens. Ellie’s passion about wildlife and gardening in a way that is sensitive to the natural world is infectious.
Ben Dark, who actually won the New Talent award a few years back, and this year picked up the prize for Journalist of the Year. Ben is a gardener, author and podcaster who has been referred to as “The Millennial Monty Don” and “The Joe Wicks of Gardening”. The former description is more appropriate than the latter. Either way, he is a very nice and talented man, who spotted me standing all on my lonesome during the pre-ceremony drinks reception (schmoozing and networking are not my strong points) and came over to keep me company.
Gareth Richards is on staff at the RHS’s The Garden magazine and presents the Gardening with the RHS podcast. He is also the author of the brilliant book Weeds: Fifty Untamed and Beautiful Vagabond Plants, and penned a great piece over on Radicle titled Unpicking the ‘Native’ Myth, about native vs invasive plants. Gareth and I (and some other excellent people, too many to list here), shared a couple of overpriced pints at the pub after the do, and it was a pleasure to make his acquaintance.
Meanwhile, I’ve got some exciting news to share with you, but more on that in the next instalment…
Here’s to a happy, healthy and herbal 2023. Cheers!