Feeling a bit like Eddie the Eagle

I remember as a kid watching Eddie Edwards at the Winter Olympics in Calgary. His exploits later made into a film which portrayed him as a bit of an amateur (talented all the same) up against much better individuals, where he had to beg, borrow (not steal) in order to compete.

Taking my plants to RHS Hampton court is slightly different. You aren’t judged against others, but against set criteria. But I do feel a bit like Eddie when so many exhibitors are made up of the greats of the gardening world, who are professional horticulturists, and there I am, just someone who liked to grow flowers.

I suspect I had somewhat underestimated the cost of my attempt. Having just been told just the display posters by the time they are done are likely to come in at £800 the exhibit is going to cost a sizeable four figure sum by the time we are done. Just the cost of peat free compost for potting on (not the initial sowing or indeed final planting will come in at over £400. It’s not a moan – its the reality of the attempt. I doubt I will see much change from £5000 when I’m done – in fact could be more, so its been an eye opener.

Will it be worth it? Well I hope so. Being able to talk to people and encourage them to grow things from seed and to maybe change just a few behaviours on the journey to being a bit more sustainable will be worth it.

Its not fly Eddie fly… sow Jonathan sow 😂

Cosmos being otte don

I like big butts….

Of course that’s water butts. Just adding to my water storage ready for the ensuing growing season. It’s really important to save as much water as you can, and I’m able to store over 20,000 litres for use on the plot, which so far has been enough each year so that tap water isn’t required for our growing.

Chilly end to March

The weather forecast was right with the chilly end to March. In fact the next three nights are going to be freezing so I need to keep an eye on the cosmos in the polytunnel.

The October sowed sweet peas are showing just how hardy they are, and another load of peat free compost made from green waste was steaming as it was dropped off. Can’t wait to get my hands in it!

Hollyhock heaven

If you’ve found this site following the little snippet on Gardeners World… welcome. Here you will find a few musings on hollyhocks and cosmos (the other collection I’ve established). Do follow on instagram if that’s your thing @thejsheppard. We have a few seeds on sale on the website.

Drop us an email… it may take a while to respond. But we love to hear from you.


The last two years…

… have been hard for lots of people. Life took quite an unexpected turn due to Covid. In the scheme of things I’ve been very fortunate. But in terms of gardening the last two years have also been pretty dramatic for me too. Pre Covid there I was… gardening away and just having fun with it. Fast forward those two “covid years” and here I am with two national plant collections, attending an RHS conference last week which was for exhibitors to RHS Hampton Court in July.

I think for anyone that’s quite a journey in a short time. I never intended having a national plant collection as I just think people should grow whatever they like. Ignore “fashion”, ignore what other people like. Grow what YOU like and your passion may encourage others that its the thing to grow. If you are passionate about it, then thats what will get you outside on a cold winters day doing things to move things forward.

Why have I do it? Well number one, I enjoy it. If I didn’t then there would be no point. The day it becomes a chore is the day to give it up. But more importantly there is a part of me that wants to show other people they could have go. And that includes starting a national plant collection to sowing some seeds. (I was so surprised at how many people were scared about growing from seed).

Plus if I can show that I can garden on a larger scale than average while trying to be a bit more sustainable than maybe others could change a few habits too.

It’s going to be exciting to see where the next two years takes this. Keep watching this space. On that note.. its time to check the cosmos seedlings that will hopefully look as good as last years 👇🏻


There’s no better feeling than getting your hands deep into some crumbly compost. Ok maybe there is.. but this might be a close second.

Today 4 cubic metres was delivered from a local farm who turns the green garden waste into this. I may not use it for growing the seeds in, but it can certainly be used to top up the hollyhock beds.

At little over £80 it seems good value, and no peat. I better get my shovel!