‘Mindful gardening’ looks set to grow in 2018 as the British turn to tending their allotments, herbaceous borders and houseplants as a way of helping to boost mental health and wellbeing. In our increasingly stressed out and digitally-focused lives, the down-to-earth benefits of grow your own grub, adopting eco or organic techniques, and even rediscovering a love for cacti, succulents and other ‘hipster houseplants’, are being embraced by novice and experienced gardeners of all ages.
These are some of the top horti-trends highlighted by the winning and shortlisted entries in the so-called ‘gardening Oscars’, the Garden Media Guild Awards. One of the biggest events of the horticultural calendar, rivalling the Chelsea Flower Show in its significance for those who write, blog, photograph and broadcast about gardening, the awards attract entries from the country’s leading gardening trend-watchers and setters. This year has seen a record number of entries.
The 2017 winners include News Journalist of the Year Nick Triggle for a piece in Gardeners’ World magazine ‘Can gardening save the NHS?’; Stephanie Mahon, who won the Environmental Award, for features on garden design for wellbeing and sustainability; Practical Book of the Year which was awarded to No Dig Organic Home & Garden by Charles Dowding and Stephanie Hafferty; and Columnist of the Year Katherine Swift for Last Word in The English Garden who wrote that gardening “…links all the selves you are and all the selves you have been. It links past and future, man and nature, wild and cultivated. It brings out the best in all of us“.
Shortlisted blogger Michelle Hurford, thebohemianraspberry.com, was praised for her personal reflection on the benefits of gardening for mental health and well-being. Journalist Veronica Peerless was shortlisted for Reference Book of the Year for How Not to Kill Your Houseplant and Jane Perrone for Radio Broadcast of the Year for her podcast On the Ledge which judges said had “… good focus on a potentially new audience of houseplant owners”.
Clare Foggett, chair of the Garden Media Guild, said: “That so many of this year’s winning entries document the benefits gardening has for our health and wellbeing, or appeal to people discovering the joy of gardening for the first time, shows that our winners are adept at turning the mood of the moment into high-quality content that makes people want to get out and garden. Gardening is good for you, and it’s fantastic that this year’s Garden Media Guild Awards reflect that.”
Producer Paolo Proto won the best television broadcast for a BBC TV Gardeners’ World film showing how Oxford Botanic Gardens is using tiny wasps, instead of pesticides, to control aphids. The BBC also triumphed in the Radio Broadcast of the Year with producer Marion Foster winning for the Garden Mania programme at BBC Radio Newcastle.
The hotly-contested Alan Titchmarsh New Talent Award was won by forager and wild food lover Charlotte Petts for her Growing Wild show on Radio Reverb. Blog of the Year was won by Jack Wallington. Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award was Richard Jackson, the face of gardening on QVC who helped found Greenfingers, the national charity building therapeutic gardens for childrens’ hospices.
The Awards were hosted at The Savoy in London by Gyles Brandreth.
The Peter Seabrook Practical Book of the Year Award (sponsor The Garden Press Event)
Charles Dowding & Stephanie Hafferty, No Dig Organic Home & Garden
Reference Book of the Year
Aljos Farjon, Ancient Oaks
Inspirational Book of the Year (sponsor Westland Horticulture)
Ambra Edwards, Head Gardeners
Garden Publication of the Year (sponsor Bosch Home and Garden)
Clare Foggett, The English Garden
The Dr David Hessayon Garden Columnist of the Year Award (sponsor Cobra Garden)
Katherine Swift, Last Word for The English Garden
Practical Journalist of the Year (sponsor Thompson & Morgan)
Alan Titchmarsh, Gardeners’ World
News Journalist of the Year (sponsor Briggs & Stratton)
Nick Triggle, Gardeners’ World
Journalist of the Year (sponsor Stihl)
Matthew Appleby, Horticulture Week
The Gordon Rae Photographer of the Year Award
Features Photographer of the Year
Kevin Mackintosh, Rakes Progress
Book Photographer of the Year
Marcus Harpur, Secret Gardens of East Anglia
BROADCASTING & NEW MEDIA AWARDS
The Roy Lancaster Television Broadcast of the Year (sponsor The HTA)
Paolo Proto, Gardeners’ World
Radio Broadcast of the Year
Marian Foster, BBC Radio Newcastle’s Garden Mania
The Alan Titchmarsh New Talent Award (sponsor Hayloft Plants)
Charlotte Petts, Growing Wild on Radio Reverb
Blog of the Year (sponsor Mr Fothergill’s)
Jack Wallington, jackwallington.com
Website of the Year
Daniel Haynes, gardenersworld.com
New Media (sponsor Honda)
George Williams, Smart Plant app
Lifetime Achievement Award