Book Review: The Magic of Seeds by Clare Gogerty

“Seeds are magical. Every little one has the potential to become a new plant and give you more seeds – connecting us to the circle of life and nature’s endless ability to surprise and delight.”

We’re over halfway through March (how the heck did that happen?) and with the Spring Equinox nearly upon us, Clare Gogerty’s gorgeous new book, The Magic of Seeds, is a timely guide to growing flowers and herbs from seed as well as a joyful celebration of plant magic.

A former London magazine editor who decamped to a smallholding in Herefordshire to write books, grow vegetables and keep chickens while immersing herself in the mystery and magic of the countryside, Clare’s knowledge and appreciation of the plant world reaches way beyond the horticultural. Although the book does contain helpful guidance on how and when to sow, plant out and harvest the seeds of 100 different garden plants and flowers, it also touches upon the culinary and magical properties of plants and is sprinkled with fascinating snippets of folklore. There are tips for making your own compost, an introduction to gardening by the moon, instructions for natural remedies and beauty treatments, and recipes for homemade incense and potpourri. A diverse mix of plants are profiled from garden favourites, such as Poppy and Lavender, to the more unusual Woad and Joe Pye Weed, and there are some intriguing recipes that I can’t wait to try out myself.

For some gardeners, there can be a tendency to rush the process of sowing seeds, to be too preoccupied by the plants they will one day become and the harvests they’ll provide, but Clare invites us all to slow down and appreciate the seed for its own sake, along with the act of sowing it. For even if a seed doesn’t germinate, the gardener might have learned something in the process and will have deepened their connection to nature along the way.

A delight to read and beautifully-illustrated by Prudence Rogers, The Magic of Seeds is a wonderful compendium for those who love plants, magic or who simply want to embrace their spiritual connection to nature. Published by David & Charles on 28th March, you can pre-order a copy here.

We’ll be giving away a free copy of the book on Instagram this week (UK followers only) so do keep an eye out!

The Magic of Seeds’ by Clare Gogerty was gifted to us for the purposes of review.


Four Seasons in One Day

British gardeners don’t know if they’re coming or going this week. In a period of seven days, we’ve had sunshine, rain, hail, snow and sunshine again. But, with normality restored this weekend, it gave me the chance to get a few jobs done.

Continue reading “Four Seasons in One Day”

Creating a Front Garden

Whoever said, “There aren’t enough hours in the day” knew what they were talking about. I have so many plates spinning at the moment, I’m not sure if I’m coming or going. For the most part, I like it, but making time for my own garden projects has been bit of a struggle lately. However, this weekend was a goodie; I finally turned a corner on one project.

Read more: Creating a Front Garden

Since late September, I’ve been gradually turning the front of the house from a parking area into a garden. As Soph Mentioned in her previous post, there’s been a decline in front gardens recently, as homeowners have sacrificed them for parking spaces, but I’ve never been one to follow the trend! I want the area in front of our house to be full of colour, fragrance and wildlife, and if I can cram more plants around our home, then that makes me very happy!

To cut a long story short, the front drive was dug up, the concrete removed, the soil dug-over, two tonnes of topsoil added, railway sleepers and rockery borders installed, and a path built. Finally, in the last few days, I’ve moved onto my favourite part of garden design: the planting. I’m a big fan of cottage garden planting, so by dividing some of my plants from the back garden, I’ve added bearded irises, tall daisies, honesty, aquilegia, primroses, foxgloves and, something that I strongly associate with Suffolk, hollyhocks. As we live in what used to be the village school, there’s a large gothic-style stained-glass window over-looking the front. We already have a few hollyhocks growing in the bed just below the window, but there will be a lot more going in. In fact, Soph sowed over one hundred and ninety seeds into module trays last weekend, using seed we’d saved over the summer. So, that should keep us going for a while!

There are also spring bulbs going in, including: snowdrops, alliums, miniature irises and daffodils. For permanent structure I’ve added a skimmia, Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ and a Sarcococca confusa, but there will be one or two more shrubs to follow. The front already has two very large climbing roses, a red one with a repeat bloom that has grown up and around the big window, and the other with a white bloom that’s been planted in the wrong position. It’s clearly a sun lover, but it’s been planted in the shade, where it grows very leggy and struggles to flower, so that’ll need moving.

November to March is a dormant period for many shrubs and plants, but it’s an ideal time to buy and plant bare root varieties which are often cheaper than their potted counterparts. I’ll soon be ordering over twenty-five hedge variety roses to create a low, sweet-smelling hedge at the front of our house. At the moment, I’m veering towards David Austin ‘Harlow Carr’ Rose. I planted this as a long hedge for a client a couple of years ago, and it now looks fantastic. It suffers few problems, it repeat flowers, and has a beautiful pink bloom that smells exquisite.

I bought a ‘Golden Gem’ crab-apple tree a few weeks ago, and this weekend it finally went into the ground. It was the same variety we had planted in our last house, but I didn’t have the heart to dig that one up when we moved. So, it was a thrill to see this beauty back and planted up right outside my office window! As I type, I can happily look at it from my desk as it gently sways in the wind.

With the front garden now set-up, that’s another garden box ticked. But there’s no rest for the wicked, as I’m about to start my next gardening project: creating a wildlife pond. It’s something that Soph has wanted for years, so she’s going to be designing it and I’ll be building it. Hmmm, something tells me I’ve drawn the short straw here.

Happy gardening!