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.


New Year, New Challenges

Sound the trumpets, send for the messenger, release the homing pigeons. It’s official – I’m self-employed! Film editor/director, garden presenter, gardener.. and tea maker.

This week, I’ve worn out the soles of my boots going door-to-door, posting garden flyers in letterboxes, all in the hope that someone will require my gardening services. Peeking into other people’s gardens has given me the chance to look for ideas, and think about how I might be able to make their green spaces sparkle.

Then early yesterday morning, I packed a knapsack, and headed for the bright lights of old London Town. On behalf of Suttons Seeds, I was guest presenting on Michael Perry’s Garden World on QVC, talking about the Charlotte Russe Mulberry Standard and Grafted Turbo Veg. I’m thrilled this has become a regular gig for me, as I get to talk about the thing I love most – plants. As always, it’s great to spend time with the talented Michael Perry, someone who has supported Agents of Field since the very beginning.

Back at home, I’ve been beavering away, converting one of our rooms into my edit suite/office. Whilst I may have given up my London career as an editor/director, I’m still putting myself out there, freelancing. From garden shows to interviews, to my previous television promo work.. I’m up for hire!

Meanwhile, out in the garden, things are looking bare. After removing over a dozen half-dead conifers, and giving all the remaining trees a good prune, the template is set. The conifer logs will season for a year, and then we’ll use them in the woodburner. Also, when time permits, I’ll build a log store from the panels of the old garden shed I took down last November.

There has been some hard landscaping as well. Bases have been laid in anticipation of the arrival of both my new Vitavia greenhouse and spanking new garden shed. Already, I can visualise what the final kitchen garden will look like, and I can’t wait. But I’m all too aware that the growing season, despite the recent frost, is slowly starting to stir from its winter slumber. Time is short, so I need to build my raised beds, and get them filled within the next few weeks. Day in, day out, I’ve been out in the garden with my tape measure taking measurements, changing my mind and starting over again. Finally, I think I may have my blueprint.

But there have been some unforeseen garden expenses. With the conifers gone, I realised just how much the rear garden fences and posts had rotted, so I made the decision to replace them all. The section sits behind the ‘soon to be’ kitchen garden, and will be partially obscured by the new greenhouse and shed. Nevertheless, I’m not a fan of your average garden fence, so I’m currently looking at evergreen shrubs to cover them. At the moment, I’m swaying between cherry and Portuguese laurel. I know laurel can be a swine to keep in check, but I think I can handle its pruning demands, what do you reckon? All shrub suggestions welcome!

As always, I’ve sown my chilli, pepper and aubergine seeds already as they can take a while to get going, so giving them as a long run as possible is always a good idea. Also, this ‘January sowing’ was something introduced to me by my beloved Dad. So, now he’s gone, the tradition seems more significant than ever. Although a bittersweet experience this year, I know if I hadn’t have done it, Dad would have come back and haunted me, rattling his fork and trowel in the dead of night… Haha, the sod!

So three weeks into the new year, and I’m spinning more plates than I know what to do with. But the spinning is good for the soul, and it’s slowly putting the smile back on my face… Oh, and did I mention we’ve also got a house to renovate?






‘If I Could Turn Back Time’

Climbing a warship in her wispy undergarments, only to mount a cannon, Cher once sang, ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’. And I know exactly where she’s coming from. We gardeners are always complaining that there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done.  Continue reading “‘If I Could Turn Back Time’”