You may have seen Laetitia appear on Alan Titchmarsh’s TV show ‘Love Your Garden’ on ITV last year. Her new book, which is her second, sees her move from a flat where she did all her gardening in window boxes and a balcony, to a house with a garden.
Her plan on moving was to create a garden in a year…from scratch…without waiting for formal plans with hard landscaping, water features and patios.
And that’s exactly why I found her book so captivating…
You see, the thing is, we’ve been in our house for nearly three years and apart from having a huge pine tree removed and a new fence put up, we’ve done very little else to the garden. It’s simply a lawn with flower beds running down either side.
Because of Flowerona, people ask me if we’ve got a garden bursting with flowers and I must admit that I’m a little embarrassed to say no….
It’s just that I keep on thinking that I’ll wait until we’ve had it looked at by a garden designer, before I start planting and sowing flower seeds.
Well, after reading Laetitia’s book, my mind-set has changed completely! I’ve been so inspired and three things have happened over the weekend:
- As mentioned in one of the chapters, we’ve now measured the garden and have the start of a plan.
- To get some ideas of what sort of garden we’d like, I bought Gardener’s World magazine and have started a mood board.
- Following Laetitia’s instructions, I’ve sown lots of flower seeds indoors…including sweet peas.
I’ve realised that there’s no point in waiting until we’ve had work done. I’d like to enjoy colour in the garden this year and also have enough cut flowers to bring some into the house.
Laetitia’s book shows you that you really can start growing plants straightaway and I love the quirky style that it’s written in, with such infectious enthusiasm. And if you’re a novice gardener, there’s a glossary for any gardening terms which you may be unsure of.
The book starts with a chapter on ‘How to create a garden in ten easy steps’, followed by ‘How to create a planting plan’ and ‘My essential tools’.
It then takes each season in turn and guides you through what to do each month, with ideas of which flowers, vegetables and herbs to plant and how to do so.
There are also planting plans by personality type, such as hopeless romantics and calm seekers, plus her little black book of her favourite places to shop.
Here are a few beautiful images from the book, followed by a Q&A with Laetitia and then details of how you could win your very own signed copy of ‘Sweet Peas for Summer’.
Q&A with Laetitia
Could you tell us how you became interested in gardening?
I had a ‘moment’ when I sowed a forgotten packet of sweet peas in a mug, just to see what would happen. They sprouted and I got obsessed.
Where did you learn about horticulture?
Could you tell us about your new book ‘Sweet Peas for Summer’?
‘Sweet Peas for Summer’ is the story of how I made my garden, from scratch in the first year.
I hope it will help anyone who is cash and time-poor to get their garden up and blooming really fast, so they can laze around and enjoy it in the first summer.
What advice would you give to a complete beginner who would like to grow some flowers for cutting from their garden this summer?
Buying plug-plants is a really beginner-friendly way to start. Antirrhinum, cosmos and dianthus are all great for cutting and widely available.
But sowing easy seeds like nigella, cornflowers and ammi majus is also great fun and yields fantastic results.
What are your plans for 2012?
I will be blogging (I love blogging) and tending my garden….and having a rest!
What is your favourite flower?
Don’t ask me that! – What’s yours? Can’t choose? Thought not!
Your chance to win a signed copy of ‘Sweet Peas for Summer’
Laetitia’s publisher, Bloomsbury, have very kindly offered a copy of ‘Sweet Peas for Summer’ for one of my blog readers.
To win, all you need to do is sign up to receive my monthly Flowerona newsletter. Simply pop over to my About page, scroll down and fill in the two boxes.
The competition is for UK residents and one entry per household only. It’s open until midnight on Friday, 27th April.
I’ll put all the names in a hat and choose a winner, who will be notified by email during the week commencing Monday, 30th April.
So, I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s blog post. I’ll be re-reading Laetitia’s book each month and I’ll be letting you know how my flower garden develops. I may even attach our hanging baskets to our cherry tree for a change, as she suggests…
Many thanks to Laetitia and Jude at Bloomsbury for all their help in compiling the post.
P.S. You can also buy this charming book from Amazon and all good book shops.
(Images : Bloomsbury/Jill Mead)