Podcast - Why Women Grow

This podcast isn’t about gardening as much as an insight into the lives of interesting women of note from designers to chefs, and the impact gardening has had on them.  They talk to presenter and writer Alice Vincent about what has drawn them into gardening, as well as more wide-ranging discussions on motherhood and careers.

In the second episode, Sarah Raven talks about her move from medicine into horticulture and running her own nursery and cut flower business from Perch Hill in Sussex.  She relates an anecdote about how her dream birthday present was a cut flower spending spree, courtesy of her husband Adam Nicholson, where she could feel like an opera singer for the day.  As you’d imagine, she’s really interesting on the topic of colour in planting design, describing how she divides her planting into four colour palettes including bold colours and paler pastels.  She also discusses how to use white for cooler colour schemes and how she likes to use it with silvers and blues and lots of green, as they do in Sissinghurst where she has lived.

Creating a garden is a creative process, so it’s no surprise that fashion designers such as Margaret Howell are drawn to it.  She shows Alice around her calm green haven in Blackheath where she aims to work with rather than against nature.  There’s also a nice episode with Paula Saturn from Hill House Vintage, who made the decision to leave her career in fashion and her London home and friends to create a garden in Norfolk.  It was a brave move and she’s open about the emotional transition and how she gradually found calm, happiness and a new direction in her garden.

We hear from food writers such as Rukmini Iyer, a keen amateur gardener, as she discusses combining growing food with being a new mum and making nourishing meals.  Alice also talks to the author of India Express about growing from seed and how to produce enough to cook for friends.  

There’s an intimacy in these interviews as these interesting and creative women discuss their lives through gardening, which they all do in their own different ways, getting different things from it but united by the joy is brings.  The podcast, often recorded on site with the sounds of nature in the background, gives gardening podcasts a slightly new angle and makes for interesting listening.