Is Gardening a Good Hobby for Secret Shopaholics?

Controversial question, I know. Most of my gardening friends are seemingly gentle souls and claim to be quite at odds with the whole consumerist/treadmill thing: avoiding fashion shops at all costs; expensive holidays? “No thanks I would rather garden” they say. Find them at the front of the queue at any local jumble sale. ‘The humble gardener’ we all think, but get to know them a bit better and lordy lord, start gardening yourself even and you soon realise that actually gardening is one of the best ways to pour money away, whilst seeming incredibly thrifty and hard working.

Looking after our gardens has become a popular pastime in the UK and it is estimated that over the course of a gardener’s lifetime, they’ll spend £30,000 on tending to their garden. A staggering amount by anyone’s standards, but just how does the amount break down?
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Going back to my roots

A little bit about me – I was born into quite straitened circumstances: my parents were a middle class, educated couple, who, somewhere along the line, had taken a vow of poverty: they met at a communist party meeting in Hampstead – cute I know. This weekend was a nostalgia trip for me because I went on an Abigail Ahern masterclass, in Islington, where I lived for the first three years of my life, in a prefab estate on Brecknock Road.

I stayed in a smart hotel in Bayswater, The Shaftesbury, where my parents later lived, in a beautiful council flat, until they very sadly died when I was 21. After a long train journey, listening to a guy behind me talking Hungarian for the last half of the journey (my Dad was Hungarian) I was predictable a heap by the time I arrived, I phoned my cousin, who has heroically carried on the London baton for us and with whom I normally stay, and who completely understood – thank you Gaby, you are so kind, and I calmed down!

Abigail’s workshop was nothing short of amazing, you are greeted by this beautiful overgrown fig tree in the front garden (yes, she plays with scale a lot.)

The small group walked round enraptured, as we were treated to a house tour.
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Indoor Kerb Appeal – the Hall

We all know about kerb appeal, the importance of a nice front door, a few pots and if you have a front garden, making it relate to the street prettily.

We have a long way to go but we have made a start with our maturing virginia creeper, collection of terracotta pots and decision to paint our front door and all our windows the beautiful Farrow & Ball shade, French Grey.

Your hall has to do the same job, welcome you, relate to the outside as well as the inside and hint at the rooms beyond. It is not a room we are used to throwing money at and inevitably ends up a bit of an afterthought, it sort of has to be the last room you do, because it is so easily damaged when you are working on other rooms, so, depressingly, you can get used to entering a rather unloved space and then when the time finally comes you have run out of money.
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Kitty The Vintage Caravan

Summer is coming it’s time for a road trip or a vintage tea or a wedding!

And you will not find a better vehicle than Kitty for any of these ventures.
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Pop Create

A sprinkling of summery weather has got me out in the garden recently and I know someone else who is doing a major garden overhaul, not very far from me. The amazing Anna Baltzer of Popcreate.

We are both very fortunate to live on a stretch of stunning coastline just outside Edinburgh, we live in neighbouring villages and the surrounding scenery is a constant source of inspiration.

Anna is a brilliant photographer and takes beautiful portraits of babies and children on location or in her home studio.
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