Podcast - Andrew O'Brien, gardens weeds & words

Gardener and RHS writer Andrew O’Brien’s podcast is an interesting combination of thoughtful, lively conversation, horticultural advice and readings from garden and wildlife writers and poets.  Guests include both gardeners and designers as well as other creatives such as illustrators, photographers and poets whose art is inspired by the natural world. 

Alys Fowler makes an intelligent and articulate guest talking on the theme of how we can heal nature and nature can heal us.  She discusses how we can all contribute to bigger environment issues on a domestic level whether its nurturing houseplants, making our own gardens more wildlife friendly or growing your own food and herbs.  (Her book A Modern Herbal is a useful read on these subjects).  Alys also talks about how to garden for personal wellbeing by being mindful and gently embracing not battling the plants and growing conditions.  I also liked her tip on how to design your garden with a light touch, starting from the part nearest the house and gradually working out over a period of time.

Interviews with designers include a chat with the dynamic designer Ann-Marie Powell talking about her lockdown project @myrealgarden.  She revealed how nervous she was about showing her own garden but got a lot of pleasure from seeing the community grow.  At the other end of the scale she talks about her design studio, working as a team and the projects they are working on such as the new wildlife garden at Wisley.  Designer Jo Thompson talks about ways to have a wildlife garden such as letting the clover grow in the lawn and the odd nettle in the borders.  I particularly enjoyed hearing how she approaches her delicate, painterly planting style, with ripples of plants repeated throughout the garden.  And when asked what the rose fan’s favourite is?  R. Banksiae ‘Lutea’, a vigorous climber with clusters of delicate yellow flowers. 

This is a really enjoyable podcast in which Andrew lets his guests talk away,  with just the right amount of prompting, and we in the process learn a lot from his knowledgeable and broad ranging guests.