London gardening accounts, activists and creators it is best to know

London gardening accounts, activists and creators you should know


Here’s a wealth of London-based horticultural professionals sharing their experiences, advice and thoughts online.

Here are the gardening experts and activists you should know by now.

Guerrilla gardener Ellen Miles (@OctaviaChill) is reclaiming neglected green space

/ Instagram/@OctaviaChill

On TikTok and Instagram, green activist Ellen Miles’ guerrilla gardening tips exploded during the pandemic as she reclaimed neglected green spaces with plants, flowers and seed bombs.

She founded, demystifying the art of guerrilla gardening for beginners and offering advice on spotting potential spots and creating “dream green” for your community.

It’s easy to dismiss gardening as apolitical, but that’s far from the case. @decolonisethegarden, founded by Sui Searle (@thetemperategardener), sheds light on the dark side of gardening and holds institutions accountable to create positive change. It has become a feat in tackling issues of race, equality and colonialism in horticulture.

Errol Reuben Fernandes is Head of Horticulture at the Horniman Museum in south London

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Errol Reuben Fernandes, garden designer and head of horticulture at the Horniman Museum, is pushing the limits of what can be achieved in a London garden as the climate warms.

Follow James Hitchmough’s prairie planting, new dry gardens and the quasi-natural planting of Miyawaki trees.

Grow2know was founded by Tayshan Hayden-Smith – pictured above with colleague Danny Clarke – when the post-Grenfell community turned to gardening and the outdoors. Grow2know is a grassroots group with a mission to reclaim green space and use it as a catalyst for positive change in the community.

Sixto Juan Cavala from @QueerBotany is looking for a new way of looking at the plants around us

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@queerbotany takes a two-way look at botany and gardening from a queer perspective and asks, “How can botany be queer and how can queerness be botanical?”

From plants that are inherently “queer” and have both male and female flowers, to interpreting marginalized perspectives through plants and green spaces, the project, created by Sixto-Juan Zavala, seeks a new way of looking at and thinking about the Plants in the area to discover us.

Benny Hawksbee, chief gardener at Clapham’s Eden Nature Garden, is in his own words a “conscientious gardener” whose feed consists mostly of beautiful images of lesser-known wildlife that he finds while gardening, and occasional commentary about nature as he grows climate change.

Among the wildlife in his highlights are entertaining but slightly depressing examples of a plant butcher’s shop that made someone happy with a saw and secateurs.

Ula Maria lining is the ultimate inspiration for small gardens

/ Rebekah Kennington

Landscape architect Ula Maria’s feed shares content from her garden design creations and looks from other gardens and is the ultimate inspiration for small gardens. Check out her highlights for planting combinations and advice for making the most of small spaces.

If trees are your thing, look no further than Paul Wood’s account. Author of London Tree Walks. It is a photo documentation of some of London’s rarest street trees alongside some of the most ubiquitous. If you want to learn more about London’s 900,000 street trees, there’s no better place to start!

Urban explorer Izzy takes us on a tour of London’s edible plants

/ Andy Lane

Professional urban collector Izzy shares her discoveries of London’s edible flora and fungi. From alien crumpets (black morels) to triangular leeks (a type of wild garlic), you’ll find dinners on your doorstep. She regularly offers forage hikes.

Three gardeners at Chelsea Physic Garden, London’s oldest botanical garden, bring it into the 21st century with TikTok videos and Instagram movies. Go behind the scenes as their greenhouses are restored, enjoy plant transformations, ASMR irrigation, and gardening tips and tricks.