Posts By: Matthew Appleby

Top 20 gardening trends 2015


Top gardening trends for 2015 feature by Matthew Appleby, as seen in January 2015 in Amateur Gardening and Daily Telegraph
Big pots.
Bigger plants with longer-term impact are what most growers and garden centres are concentrating on. Thompson & Morgan’s Paul Hansord says in 2015 garden centre customers will be looking for bigger plants ”so they don’t have to do so much work”. This all ties in with the upsurge in sales of big (3 litre plus) planted containers and instant colour and the decline in sales of pack bedding, which is seen as hard work in the garden.
Shade sales
Climate change means too much sun for the kids. Fears of skin cancer are greater Down Under, meaning shade sails are almost obligatory in parks and gardens. The sails former useful shelters from rain too, so may prove to be multi-use in the UK, where they are becoming increasingly popular.
Grow for taste.
The ubiquitous James Wong’s Grow for Flavour book is published in March 2015. Sutton’s is launching a James Wong plant range including cucumelon, inca berry and indigo rose in 2015.
Making gardens simple.
The Horticultural Trades Association is running a marketing campaign called Love the Plot You’ve Got, aiming to demystify gardening. Two container trucks will travel round the UK showing gardeners how to transform their plots cheaply and easily, featuring portable plants, aiming to be doable even if the reluctant gardener lives in rented homes.

Read more on Top 20 gardening trends 2015…

Garden Media Guild awards blog

Garden Media Guild awards gossip.

1. Back to the Savoy a one-off I hear. Landscape Show’s Jeremy Storey Walker is taking over for 2015.
2. Better organisation and award winners this year. But one or two stinkers. As ever, for many categories it’s down to who judges and whether they know much about their area, rather than the entries.
3. Lady Cobham made a speech in her role as Visit England chair. She is better known as the person in the cab when David Mellor called the cabbie a sweaty, stupid little etc. Much discussion on the mysterious appeal of DM.
4. James Alexander Sinclair’s speech which was lovely and light-hearted with lots of references to his associates’ lederhosen. Last year there was a story in Dr Hessayon’s speech. No stories this year from the stage.
5. Petra Hoyer Millar is standing down as GMG judge’s chair with successor appointed in Jan.

Read more on Garden Media Guild awards blog…

Chelsea Flower Show blog


Word at Chelsea -are the much-vaunted influx of new designers any different to the old?

opmmmmThere’s two features about imported trees bringing in pests and diseases. And about 102 show features featuring imported trees. Hopefully becomes an issue this year when Defra minister turns up.
The RHS is not issuing steel toe-capped boots this year. Also on fashion…
Top celebs: Twiggy, Lily Cole, Georgie May Jagger, Lizzy Jagger, Jerry Hall, Erin O’Connor, Sir Paul Smith. All fashion types. Supporting Gucci, House of Fraser and M&S. Helen Mirren and Ringo Starr get some attention usually. Ian Gillan, Sandie Shaw and Matt Johnson from music (as well as Ringo). Designer Hugo Bugg’s cousin Jake Bugg is not coming. The best act playing is The Barron Knights (really). In the tent, everyone is… sheltering from the rain. Tim Penrose has three stands, for Bowden Hostas, Rickards Ferns and PW Bamboo aiming for first CFS triple gold. Some not given space could be unhappy. Chelsea security say designers are rudest about not being let in. “Everyone hates me”, he adds. There’s a new £2.5m drainage system, roads and kerbs being tested by the deluges in the run up to Chelsea, Royal Hospital head garden Ron tells me. There were loads of puddles/floods when I was there. TV coverage. MA to BBC.  Can you give me Countdown to Chelsea details (started on BBC1 on 12 May)? BBC: Chelsea coverage starts on 18 May. MA: What about Countdown to Chelsea? BBC: No answer. The BBC has 147 press officers.

Read more on Chelsea Flower Show blog…

Allotment planner, pinterest and twitter gardening, garden books, nude gardeners

ma signing skinny

1. A couple of people have asked for this to return. Here’s my latest Allotment Planner review.
“Hit google for better tips, it cold have been so much more, but seems to be a vanity publishing exercise.”
better is John Harrison @allotmentjohn **** The Allotment Planner by @mattapple1 | Huge thanks to @allotmentjohn for the review |…

Read more on Allotment planner, pinterest and twitter gardening, garden books, nude gardeners…

Allotment People, Boy George, BookPeople, inner chimp

1. The

 BookPeople allot

, a leading online book retailer, are  running a special ‘Love Your Home and Garden’ category on their website to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and my book ‘The Allotment Planner’ is featured.

Read more on Allotment People, Boy George, BookPeople, inner chimp…

BBC debut, Allotment Planner, badgers

A review of popular Xmas gift Allotment Planner in English Garden.

garden mag

1. I’m making my BBC debut on 24.1 in ‘over the fence’. It’s a column in BBC Gardeners World mag.
2. surveyed the most unwanted biography book present from xmas. Fergie and Morrissey were near the top. Fergie sold 800k. I don’t believe this. If you like Man U u would want the Fergie book, same with Moz.

Read more on BBC debut, Allotment Planner, badgers…

Garden Media Guild awards gossip round-up

photoallot1. I had a lovely time at GMG’s on 27 November. Thanks Westland for the invitation.

2. It was nice to catch up with some old faces.

3. It was great they made an effort to please the vegetarians. Celeb guests including Raymond Blanc and Linda Barker enjoyed his sweet potato terrine and carrot and butterbean baklava.

Read more on Garden Media Guild awards gossip round-up…

Garden Media Guild awards, Allotment Planner: all the hassle of a garden but not at your home

Ahead of the Garden Media Guild awards on 27 November…


1. In the Guardian with Allotment Planner. In The Sun next week.
Also Cambridge News and BBC Radio Humberside etc. On the radio Doug Stewart was talking about his favourite rose. Mine is Rosa ‘Helmut Schmidt’.
Comedian Dominic Maxwell: “allotments:  all the hassle of a garden, but it’s not at your home.”
Latest celeb book buyer: QVC gardener Richard Jackson.

Read more on Garden Media Guild awards, Allotment Planner: all the hassle of a garden but not at your home…

Allotment Planner controversy, Dimmock Horlicks, Bake Off, Titchmarsh


1. My book Allotment Planner is splitting opinion. One Book People (where it’s £4.99 as a limited promo so get in quick) reviewer called it ‘rubbish’. Some RHS person bought Wisley curator Colin Crosbie one as a joke, I suspect. But HTA’s Raoul Curtis-Machin likes it – and paid full price from Wisley. As do some allotment bloggers but not others. The issue is, the book isn’t a guide to grow your own veg with step by step pics, like nearly all other books in the area. It’s about new things to do on your plot. Maybe gardening just doesn’t get news, because it so rarely produces any, apart from what I do. Rarely has a gardening book been so divisive, or indeed over-hyped.

Read more on Allotment Planner controversy, Dimmock Horlicks, Bake Off, Titchmarsh…

Chelsea Flower Show 2014 launch gossip. Allotment Planner hits top 40.

1. Went to RHS Wisley on 9 Nov which I’m pleased to say lived up to billing as the finest gardening bookshop in the world.

My bookbook desk, Allotment Planner, released on 7 Nov, two days earlier, had
already sold out on the ‘recommended’ and ‘new releases’ shelves.
There were just three left on the back a-z section, between Terry Walton
and Andi Cleverley’s many allotment tomes.
I know the shop staff probably wanted to hold back the last remaining copies before
new stocks arrive next week to replenish the dwindling initial order
(even at 50 books now acknowledged as rather conservative by Wisley’s
book buyer).
But I thought I owe it to my public -and potential fans- to let them
know Allotment Planner can change their lives. After all, no fewer
than eight (yes 8) amazon buyers have given it five stars, and many
bloggers have kind of praised the book, mostly for it’s handy size and durable
covers. (Oh, and it’s been featured in all the best garden mags (two pages in Grow Your Own mag December) and
gardening pages of national papers.)
Anyway, I took two of the last three copies, leaving a solitary tome
next to fight it out alongside at least a dozen Cleves and Lias. The
lucky pair found themselves in pride of place (replacing a very
dispensable looking Monty Don DVD set and a couple of Chris Young tomes) at the front of the book

Read more on Chelsea Flower Show 2014 launch gossip. Allotment Planner hits top 40….