Stories of Merry People: August's Garden
At Merry People, we believe life's all about embracing the unknown, trying new things and following passions. This Stories of Merry People series is all about sharing the stories of people who are doing just that!
Today we're talking to August, an avid gardener and educator from Oxfordshire. August founded Seed Explorers and is Head Tutor at Raymond Blanc gardening school.
Whether you're a regular or occasional gardener, kids or no kids, read on for August's recommendations on growing your own veggie garden, books to read, places to go and how to style the Mustard Yellow Bobbi Boot.
Tell us about your business? What inspired it?
I have my own business called the Seed Explorers which is an activity box of seeds designed to connect children and families with the magic of growing their own food. Each box has 9 varieties of seeds, each with a vegetable character and all the advice and tips you need to grow your own healthy organic vegetables.
I was inspired by my job as a primary school gardening teacher and the realisation that a large proportion of our children have no idea where their food comes from or how it is grown. I believe all children should be given the opportunity and education on the basic skills of life... Growing food! We all depend on it and we all survive on this skill, so it should be a priority. I believe connecting kids with gardening builds a relationship with nature and in turn a healthy relationship with food and our planet.
When do you feel most merry?
I am most merry when I see the smile on the face of a new Seed Explorer eating their first home grown vegetable. It brings a tear to my eye every time.
What are your outdoor essentials?
My Merry People wellies are top of the list, along with a trowel, hoe for weeding and a trusty pink wheelbarrow in toe everywhere I go in the garden.
Tell us what is good to grow in the garden this month?
I have just been planting my Garlic cloves along with Shallots and all of my spring bulbs. There is nothing better than the eruption of tulips come spring.
How do you slow down and switch off?
I am partial to a gardening book, I am currently working my way through Charles Dowdings No Dig book. This book is incredible and really breaks all the old school rules, making gardening simple. I also love Alan Buckingham, Allotment month by month, as it's a great quick reference guide to growing veg.
Best places to visit in your area?
Well obviously, I can’t help but say my favourite restaurant in my area is the two Michelin star Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire. Not only because it is my second home as Head tutor of the Raymond Blanc gardening school (which is within the kitchen gardens), but also because I truly love our genuine connection from garden to plate. We have an acre and a half of kitchen garden which I am lucky enough as a part of my job get to care for and harvest from on a daily basis. The genuine love and knowledge that goes into growing the vegetables within our kitchen gardens can be tasted on the plate when it is turned into magic by out chefs and delivered to our guests.
How do you style your Merry People boots?
I actually like to wear my bright mustard yellow wellies with dresses as well as the garden dungaree. With that a pop of yellow really brings personality to an outfit.
Tips on how to style or match colours together?
I generally break all the rules on colour matching! I am obsessed with all colours, the brighter the better I also don’t mind a clash of colour. I would be a walking rainbow on a daily basis if I had my way. To me if you feel good and comfortable that means more than any colour rules. Hence why I love the yellow Bobbi Boots, they make my feet pop!