I bothered Ellen with questions, so you didn't have to...

1. Your work is very varied these days and you're constantly working on different projects. How would you describe your day to day job? 

No day is ever the same. I wake up and check my diary first thing because everything is so varied, sometimes I have to remember what I am doing next. I could be writing copy, preparing a presentation, at my own allotment, down at the community garden, organising the Norfolk Show, travelling to record the podcast or to do a presentation, recording my radio show. It’s a big mash up of plants! What I do know, is that every single day, everything I do is based around plants and I could never work a 9am to 5pm in an office now.

2. Would you consider yourself to be an influencer?

I think anyone who is putting information out to the public is influencing in some way. It is certainly not my goal to say I am an ‘influencer’ but if by sharing what I do and trying to help people get in to gardening and to love plants is some kind of influencer, then yes, I guess so!

3. You support a lot of charitable causes, which would you say are the most important to you and why?

There are so many worthy causes to support. Mainly I focus on gardening and animal related charities but I also try to support The Benjamin Foundation as well who work with young people and families to tackle youth homelessness. No one should ever be homeless, so its important to make people aware of the great work TBF do. Grapes Hill Community Garden is where I spend a lot of time working with the team to help people to enjoy the urban garden and to ensure inclusivity from young families and children, to low income families and refugees and asylum seekers. Gardening is something that naturally brings people together and I love being part of the team.  

4. Do you consider yourself to be an expert gardener?

Definitely not! Is anyone? Gardening is a life long learning experience, there is no one person in this world that can truly know everything about gardening. It is one of the brilliant things about working with plants. Every day is a school day!

5. Who are your heroes?

I have to be honest, I don't really have any major celebrity heroes. My Uncle who sparked my interest in gardening as a child is a hero to me and anyone who I meet that has used gardening and growing food to overcome adversity and mental health issues are all heroes, especially when they are then able to talk publicly about it and continue to spread the word. Thats one thing social media is great for.

6. What are your favourite things to grow? 

Everything! That’s the hardest question to ask a gardener. I enjoy trying new varieties, especially if someone says it'll be hard to grow! Mostly it has to be growing my own food. Firstly its so satisfying and healthy but also because I eat a plant based diet, I have a lot of fruit and vegetables in my house. I love growing microgreens in my Rhino Greenhouse on the allotment because they are super easy and speedy to grow for a quick blast of nutrition. 

7. What advice would you give to people who don’t own a garden and think they cant do gardening?

Everyone can garden. Lots of people think they are plant killers because a houseplant died or something in the garden. It’s just about getting the right plant for the right place. It doesn't matter if you don't have a garden because there are so many community gardens and initiatives across the country to get involved with and learn about gardening for free. Check out a local community space and go get stuck in. If someone wants to get started at home without a garden, try houseplants and see if you catch the green fingered bug! We have a huge source of free information out there online, via socials and some great books as well so do a little research before buying and pick up a plant or two from a local nursery. 

8. What are you most proud of?

You’ll find out during 2020, its been a long project but it’ll be worth it!

 

If you'd like to hear more from Ellen, she's very active on social media - Click for her Instagram & Twitter

 

Written by Georgie Matthews Ellen Mary