Amelia Grant is a recent convert to the joys of gardening, having only started in earnest during the lockdown as a way of helping her cope with the situation. Now, she has well and truly been bitten by the gardening bug, so much so that she is preparing to launch her own collection of gardening tools and supplies - the brand new Flourish range.
Join Amelia at 3pm on Monday, 4th April for the big live launch of her wonderful new collection, and be the first to see the amazing gardening goodies she's been preparing for you. Ahead of the big launch, we caught up with Amelia to chat about her gardening history, inspiration and why she wanted to bring a gardening collection to Gemporia customers.
Hi Amelia, it’s always so lovely to talk to you. Firstly, how are Andy and Jude getting along, and how old is your little one now?
Thanks for having me! Awww, they’re so good. Jude will be two in May! Can you believe that?! It’s gone so quickly.
Your new Flourish range looks fantastic. What first sparked the idea of doing a gardening range?
Oh, thank you so much. I’m beyond happy with it. Well, as many of you know, my dad, ‘our Stu’, is a gardener. So I guess it’s kind of in my blood, but I really got into gardening over the lockdown period, like many people. I felt quite overwhelmed by everything that was going on, and the garden became my little safe haven.
How long have you been gardening? What’s your first gardening memory?
I’m really just a super keen beginner in the grand scheme of things! As I said, I started in lockdown at the end of summer, and the first thing I did was actually set up a little vegetable trug. I planted the absolute basics - spring onions, garlic and lamb’s lettuce. I can not tell you the joy it gave me to see them go from seed to plate; I felt like a proud parent! (Even though the lamb’s lettuce was not as successful as planned!) I then also got my dad to help me do some containers towards the end of the year. I started simple with daffodils, tulips, and then snowdrops in January. Again the sheer excitement of seeing the first moments of green peeking out from under the compost got me out there every morning with a cup of tea in hand to spy on the progress. I knew from that moment that I was hooked!
What does gardening bring to your life as a whole?
In the early days of finding my way in the garden, I started going out while Jude napped. I found that taking the time to do the garden was taking the time to look after myself, which I found crucial for my mental health. I discovered the garden had so much to teach, the acceptance of imperfections, problem-solving, how the end of something can be the beginning of something beautiful. But the thing I found most fascinating (especially being a new parent) was that, with patience and nurturing, how something so beautiful could come from something so small - a lesson for how we treat ourselves and others.
What message are you hoping the Flourish collection will bring to our customers?
I want the Flourish shows to be a place to learn, plant and flourish together. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, have a balcony or many borders, it’s an all-inclusive gardening club for those of us who love nourishing our minds, souls and soils in the garden.
What does the collection contain? Which seeds, bulbs, and tools are you bringing to the collection first?
Oh, I’m so excited to bring these to you. Eeek! So we have gorgeous gloves and super squidgy matching kneeling pads for the first shows, along with the toolset, the clogs, the doormat, and lots more. They’re all designed with style and comfort in mind, so you feel good inside and out whilst getting out in the garden. Oh, and a fantastic variety of bulbs to plant that will flourish in the summer.
What advice would you give someone apprehensive about gardening?
There is an excellent quote by Janet Kilburn Phillips, "There are no gardening mistakes, just lessons." I really didn't have the first idea of what I was doing initially, but it's incredible how quickly nature teaches you. Start small, maybe with containers or a small border, and then take it from there. I promise you'll love it, but I'm warning you now, it's addictive!
When taking on any new gardening projects, where is the best place to start?
My number one rule would be 'right plant, right place'. Know your soil! It's a basic principle that will set you up for success. We have a Flourish soil tester coming out that measures the pH level (acidity) and texture of the soil to help with this. Knowing what grows well in your soil will be vital for the health and life of your plants and will start you off on the right foot. Then, with those things in mind, you can grow what you love. It seems obvious, but fundamentally that's what it's all about: enjoying what you're doing.
Gardening doesn't necessarily have to be an all-encompassing hobby?
No! I think that's the beauty of it. It can quite literally be whatever you want it to be. You can make it as simple as a few containers, grasses or succulents that need next to no maintenance, or you could go with lots of variety and detail if you have more time. Find what works for you.
When do you go on-air with your first show?
I’m very much hoping to get the first show on the air in March or April, ready for some summer bulb planting and hopefully some sunshine! Keep an eye on my social pages for launch show updates. Once we launch, we’ll be on-air every Monday from 3pm to 5pm to start with, so prepare for ‘Flourish Mondays’. The idea behind a regular Monday show is that you should get your Flourish goodies delivered in time for the weekend, and we can then discuss your experiences during the show on the following Monday.
Will you be doing any demonstrations on-air?
Absolutely! I’m also working on a little outdoor Flourish garden, so we can all plant, learn, and share tips and tricks together.
Do you grow vegetables in your home garden, and will you be bringing vegetables to the Flourish range?
We moved house early this year, so with that in mind, I started my vegetable growing in a trug to make sure it was transportable! It was actually a really lovely way to start growing as I tend to be over-ambitious! The trug sits outside my kitchen window and only allows me to grow a small amount at a time, which I find more manageable. I started in October of 2020, and I began by researching the best vegetables to plant at the time of year whilst bearing in mind the advice a vegetable growing friend of mine gave me, which is now my motto: 'grow what you love to eat'. I planted garlic, spinach and leeks; food me, Andy and Jude all enjoy and devoured the minute the harvest came. I am really keen to bring vegetables, herbs, and fruits to the Flourish range, especially because they can be grown on windowsills, small spaces, and containers. Watch this space.
What are you hoping to bring to the collection over the course of this year? Do you have any ideas for expanding the range yet?
Oh my gosh, there are so many exciting goodies coming your way. Everything from the practical: gloves, toolsets, kneeling pads, soil testers, secateurs, gardening clogs; to planting: dahlias, begonias, lilies and more, through to gifting; mugs and bags with wildflower prints, calendars, vases, and lots more.
In preparation for launching Flourish, you did a horticulture course at Winterbourne House and Garden in Edgbaston, on the campus of the University of Birmingham. What did this entail, and what did you learn?
Yes, that's right! It's an RHS level two course that runs right through to this summer. I absolutely love it! My gosh, I've learnt so much, from propagation to plant diseases, Latin plant names to garden planning, production of fruit and veg to plant cuttings and cultivation. One of my favourite things on the course has been learning how our gardens can make a difference in saving the planet and learning sustainable ways to garden. It's something I've become very passionate about and will really enjoy sharing with you.
Have you been visiting any public gardens and gardening shows to gather inspiration? Do you enjoy a walk through a country garden, and do you have any favourites?
The Winterbourne garden where I study is gorgeous; if ever you're in Birmingham, I definitely recommend a visit. I have a lot of gardens on my 'to visit' list, but I'll be honest, it's tricky at the minute with a 20-month-old. Little legs get tired quickly. However, I do have an RHS membership, so I intend to make full use of it when Jude is a little older. Luckily there are some gorgeous parks near us, which have some beautiful feature gardens and woodland walks. So I can wear Jude out in the park, then he can have a rest in the pram whilst I get my outdoor fix!
What’s in your garden?
We recently moved house in January, so I feel like I’m starting all over, which is equally exciting and daunting all at once. I love lots of colour, which probably doesn’t surprise you at all! I particularly love dahlias, peonies and tulips. I think ‘flamboyant’ and ‘fun’ would sum up my style.
Do you have a gardening or horticultural icon?
Gertrude Jekyll. Her inspiring English country gardens and idyllic colourful borders will forever be my inspiration.
Where can we follow you online to keep up with your shows and your collection?
Please come and say hello, @ameliagrantuk and @flourishbyamelia on Instagram, and ‘Amelia Grant Presenter’ on Facebook.
Thanks so much for talking to us, Amelia. We can’t wait to see the launch of your collection and the joy and mindfulness that Flourish will bring to the lives of Gemporia customers.
To tune in to the very first Flourish show, tune in to Gemporia at 3pm on Monday, 4th April - we can't wait for you to see what we've got in store for you.
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