Hollie Newton – MEET THE MAKER
In the fifth of our new series: Meet The Makers we celebrate another inspiring woman from the botanical world. Meet Hollie Newton – where we talk about her growing (ahem) obsession for gardening and garden cocktails.
AA: What got you into gardening?
Our first rusty old rented balcony under the Heathrow flight path. What started as a pot of rosemary and a rambling rose soon became trailing tomatoes, strawberries on the windowsill, and a tasty little yellow courgette variety… followed by full-blown gardening obsession. It’s highly contagious.
AA: Have your friends been inspired by your gardening gift?
Lots of them have, even if they don’t own or rent a garden. I’ve been helping many a friend plant up their kitchen herbs and window boxes of a weekend recently. The rest…? They’ve been inspired to come round for cocktails in the garden on a regular basis. The rogues.
AA: What’s your best gardening tip for those with a small patch to call their outdoor space?
Don’t worry about creating the perfect garden in one go. Try planting up some big bright containers with summer vegetables. Training a selection of beautiful shady climbers up a dodgy dark wall. In my eyes, even sweeping the balcony, buying a big colourful umbrella, and firing up the BBQ counts as making gardening headway. It’s only by being in your garden that you’ll learn what you want from it.
AA: What is the best thing you have ever grown?
I’m terribly fickle when plants are concerned; I seem to have a new favourite every few weeks. But at the moment, I’m very taken with rainbow chard. Its colours are outrageous, it tastes delicious, and it’s both quick and easy to grow.
AA: What is the next big trend in gardening?
Indoor plants and succulents have been huge for a while now – I suspect that this newfound enthusiasm for plants will start to burst out of the house and onto balconies, front steps, patios and move towards vegetables and fruit. To be able to grow your own food – no matter on how small a level – is so closely tied to our foodie culture that I’m surprised it hasn’t become mainstream before now. Long live the wonky carrot.
AA: Is the asparagus the vegetable of 2017?
Asparagus is the vegetable of every summer. I’m making a play for pink mottled berlotti beans this year – mine are just starting to make their way up the tipi of bamboo canes I’ve tied for them. Bees love beans flowers too, so everyone gets a meal.
AA: Who is your favourite garden designer?
At the moment I’ve become a little bit obsessed with Chris Baines’, “How To Make A Wildlife Garden.” We take this sort of idea for granted now, but it was revolutionary when it came out in the 80s.
AA: How important is gardening to your well-being?
Essential. To be able to step outside, listen to the birds, water the vegetables, and see the gentle progress of nature after a day of intense stress is a small miracle.
AA: What is the next big project for you?
We’ve just moved to Dorset, lost our tiny minds and bought an abandoned 1930’s bungalow. We plan on turning this into a Scandi beach house; I have an entire new garden to start again too. It’s both daunting and thrilling – I might need a vodka.
AA: Lastly, what is the one piece of advice you wish someone told you…
To start growing things earlier on in life. Had I had this to turn to in my late teens or early 20s, I would have been a happier calmer, Hollie.
Learn how to grow with @HollieNuisance latest book.