Garlic & Sapphire is written by a team of bloggers who are passionate about gardening, cooking, flowers and floristry.
For more information about each author, please see below…
Kendra writes a blog called News from Nowhere and and also contributes to the Observer Organic Allotment Blog and Gardenista. Before moving to the middle of England she had been a writer and designer in London on magazines like Vogue and Observer Food Monthly.
“Last year I trained at Cottesbrooke Hall as a gardener but asked so many questions and took so many pictures that I may not have got much gardening done. I was a journalist with a spade. So I started my blog, and continue to be a nosy person with a camera and notebook.”
Jono blogs about growing vegetables at his cheery allotment blog, Real Men Sow. He particularly enjoys sharing money saving tips and his latest challenge is to match his record yearly allotment saving of £531 in his new garden veg patch.
“In 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, six years on, and mum now lets me work without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right.
I’ve found that there’s something joyful about allotments, growing your own food, and living within the seasons. I do my best to try and capture that feeling on my blog.”
Alissa works at the Sarah Raven offices in Marlborough – she adores cooking delicious homegrown veg, picking local wildflowers for cute table displays and wild foraging.
“I’ve always appreciated the beauty of nature – and since this year have been keenly aware of all the beautiful wildflowers dotted around the countryside. Whenever I go on holiday during the Spring, I notice all the native plants that grow amongst the hedgerows and in the fields – Gozo in 2012 was a particular highlight, as there is a riot of colour everywhere, and the whole island is jam-packed full of wildflowers.”
Jude is a busy mother and housewife, who between the school run and walking the dog spends a great deal of time in the kitchen, blogging about it at A Trifle Rushed.
“I love cooking with seasonal food, trying to source both local and Fairtrade produce whenever possible. I particularly enjoy the challenge of cooking seafood in Brittany and am delighted when my store cupboard is full of homemade preserves, cordials and liqueurs. I keep notes about my cooking on my blog A Trifle Rushed.”
Helen is a primary school teacher, currently on a career break, who writes about flowers, food, photography, and everything in between at I Write This Sitting in the Kitchen Sink.
“During this time at home with my now one year old daughter, I’m relishing the opportunity to follow my enthusiasms for photography, gardening, crafting, cooking and writing. Now the owner of an established garden, I am enjoying ‘growing my own’ as well as reaping the benefits of the garden’s past keepers.”
“I’m still a relative novice to gardening, having only recently moved from growing pots of salad in a matchbox-sized garden to being able to plan how to use my own garden space. My current wish list includes planting more fruit trees, building raised beds to fill with vegetables and a cutting patch to keep my vases full. I’m sure I’ll be helped out along the way by my toddler gardening assistant – she’ll be on watering-can duty!”
Arthur is a keen gardener, and we’ve enjoyed his photographs on the Sarah Raven Facebook wall for some time. In the summer of 2013 he embarked on a year’s traineeship at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew…. We can’t wait to hear how it goes!
“I studied an RHS Horticultural Diploma in 2010 and currently I work as a gardener within the historic grounds of Newstead Abbey, the ancestral home of the poet Lord Bryon. Living currently in the Midlands I am lucky to have frequent visits to the much loved gardens at Chatsworth and Clumber Park both whom have wonderful kitchen gardens.”
“We all have a personal style when it comes to gardening. Gardens are as different from one another in their layout, form and plant selection as the house interiors that they accompany are. For me a garden should be a lush colourful oasis with flowers and foliage jostling for space full of bold shades of oranges, scarlets, crimsons and indigo blues. Sarah Raven matches this style perfectly.”
Laura is a keen photographer, documenting the changing of the seasons and capturing everyday moments. She blogs at Circle of Pine Trees about family life and adventures in the countryside, and she is just beginning to branch out into freelance writing and photography.
“I moved from the city to the Cotswolds two years ago. As the mother of three young boys, I spend a lot of time out exploring in the fresh air with my camera in hand. I am always on the lookout for wild food such as elderflowers, hips, berries and fruits, making the most of my harvest by bottling, freezing or preserving.
I also do a good deal of baking and favour seasonal cooking and eating. Much as I love the fruitfulness of Autumn, my very favourite time of year is May, when hawthorns begin to flower and the verges and hedgerows froth with a lather of cow parsley.
A favourite game with the children is identifying and counting as many species of wild flower as possible.”
Ann lives and gardens near the sea in Suffolk, and after taking early retirement moved there in order to indulge in her passion for gardening. She now blogs at Suffolk Pebbles and pursues her other favourite outdoor pursuits, including walking, cycling and paddling in the waterways on her kayak.
“I also spend a lot of time visiting markets, charity shops and auctions in search of unique and special pieces for my online vintage shop. I love sharing my adventures and new discoveries in words and pictures on my blog.”
Sophia runs her own Interior Design Company ‘Sophia Wadsworth Interiors’, and is also the writer of lifestyle blog Sophia Home, where she explores a variety of topics including design inspiration, along with her passion for gardening, cooking, the countryside, travel and places of interest.
“Having designed and built our own home five years ago in a beautiful corner of the Kent countryside, my husband and I have since put our hearts and souls in to creating a beautiful garden from scratch. My particular passion is my kitchen garden, and for growing a large variety of our own lovely organic vegetables, and as a keen home cook, producing delicious, healthy meals to share with our family and friends. As an Interior Designer, I also look upon the garden as an extra special room and extension of our home. I love to share all my ideas and discoveries with my readers on my regular blog and now with Garlic and Sapphire readers too!”
Alexandra writes a blog called The Middle-Sized Garden. She’s the author of nine novels (under the name Nina Bell), eight books on interiors (most recently Fleamarket Chic, co-authored with Liz Bauwens) and she also teaches blogging and writing.
“When I read gardening magazines or go to lectures, I feel that most gardens shown are either wonderful sweeping acres of inspiration in the countryside or beautifully designed ‘outdoor rooms’ in town. But my garden is just middle-sized – too big to spend the £££s per square foot that makes the ‘outdoor room’ so stylish, and too small for drifts, vistas and specialist areas which look good at different times of year. Most advice scales up or down in size – but some doesn’t and that’s what I want to write about.”
Helen R is a freelance writer, writing mainly about books and cakes. Since moving to the country two years ago Helen developed a passion for keeping chickens, planting trees and wildflowers. She blogs about her efforts at Hen Orchard.
“In just two years I’ve gone from a person who disliked gardening to a complete lover of the outdoors. It all started with chickens. Then I planted some fruit trees for the chickens to happily peck about beneath. I’m becoming more and more passionate about gardening that not only looks great but also creates useful habitats for insects and wild birds. So now I’m hoping to transform the green area we have into a stunning backdrop of blossom trees, a small wildflower meadow and a stream bank full to bursting with bluebells and snowdrops. It’s a bit daunting but I look forward to sharing my efforts on Garlic & Sapphire and hope others will be inspired to have a go too.”
Helen D blogs about simple pleasures and seasonal observations at The House at Nab End. She is interested in wildflowers, hedgerows, meadows and woodlands; and their diminishing presence encourages her to look at the garden as an alternative habitat for wildlife.
“My interest in bees began as a child, when I found a dying bumblebee queen at the side of the road. I coaxed her onto a leaf and took her home, placing her in a sheltered spot in the rockery in our front garden. The sight of a big, buzzy bumblebee will always bring a smile to my face, but I am equally fascinated by solitary bees and honey bees, and try to encourage as many as possible in to the garden here in Oxford. I look forward to sharing my adventures in creating a pollinator-friendly paradise with Garlic & Sapphire readers.”
Lisa moved to rural East Perthshire in 2005, where her husband and her took on a ramshackle old cottage set in an acre of land. They’ve slowly and lovingly restored the cottage and redesigned the garden surrounding it to suit family life with a small child.
“We have two streams that run through the garden, so ducks and geese were a must, along with a handful of hens to keep them company. Inspired by my grandparents love of gardening, we have a large productive veg plot, a sun trap filled with herbaceous borders, a small orchard in the making and various wild areas waiting to be tamed!
My blog, The Girl That Likes to Garden, is a diary of our adventures in the wild Scottish countryside, gardening can be quite a challenge at times, lots of patience is required! We enjoy cooking with our produce and a vase of cut flowers from the garden are always welcome on the kitchen table!”
Sarah is a blogger and mum to one-year-old Joe. She lives in Cheshire but will be returning to Pennine Lancashire, where she grew up, later this year. Her interests include photography, cooking, writing, hunting for vintage treasures and drawing. She blogs at www.mitenska.blogspot.com.
“I had a very outdoorsy childhood which was spent riding ponies, playing in the fields and learning about plants and flowers from my mum. I hope to pass this love of nature and the countryside on to Joe.
My current plot is quite small but we manage to grow soft fruit, vegetables and perennials in a variety of beds and containers. I’m particularly drawn to native plants as I’m fascinated by the traditions and folklore surrounding them. I also love growing, cooking and eating seasonal produce and for me, autumn is my favourite time of the year: British food really comes into its own then and I do enjoy comfort food, particularly after a bracing walk!
Future plans include getting my hands on an allotment, doing some freelance writing and photography work, and keeping a few chickens… watch this space!”
Katie is 25 years old, lives in Hampshire and writes a blog over at Lavender and Leeks. Her obsession with growing started back in 2011 when she used to help her Dad on his new allotment. She put her name down for her very own plot and in 2013 she was given her own little slice of heaven.
“I love to grow fruit and vegetables but I am very fond of flowers too and I believe every allotment should have some, oh and bunting too! I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty and love to upcycle and create things. When I’m not gardening I like to sew, cross stitch and cycle around my village foraging for flowers and berries, I also like to make jams, chutneys and cordials with all our foraged goodies. My full time job consists of selling vintage items and I just love rummaging around markets, although sometimes I want to keep all the things we find!
My allotment is tiny but has a very girly, shabby chic feel to it with a large galvanised trough, a handmade wonky hazel archway and a purple shed with reclaimed windows. It truly is my little slice of heaven, I don’t treat it simply as a place to grow vegetables but as a retreat for me to unwind at. I don’t have my own garden so for me this is my happy place, a place to relax and to escape all my worries, and plus I get strawberries too!
I have only been gardening since 2011 but I guess you could say that growing your own food runs in my families blood. My Dad has an allotment, his parents grew their own food in their back garden and my great-grandparents used to grow and make endless amounts of jams, wines and cordials. I love family history and tradition, it makes me happy to know that over 70 years ago my great-grandmother made elderflower cordial just like I am doing today.”
If you would like to write for our blog, or you would like to contact one of our previous bloggers, please get in contact via a Facebook message or Twitter DM.