The best London gardeners, activists and creators to follow on Instagram and TikTok right now

·3-min read
Tayshan Hayden-Smith and Danny Clarke of @growtoknowcic (Instagram/@grow2knowcic)
Tayshan Hayden-Smith and Danny Clarke of @growtoknowcic (Instagram/@grow2knowcic)

There is a wealth of London-based horticultural creators sharing their experiences, advice and musings online.

Here are the gardening experts and activists you should know about right now.

@OctaviaChill

Guerilla gardener Ellen Miles (@OctaviaChill) reclaims neglected green spaces (Instagram/@OctaviaChill)
Guerilla gardener Ellen Miles (@OctaviaChill) reclaims neglected green spaces (Instagram/@OctaviaChill)

On TikTok and Instagram, guerilla gardening tips from green activist Ellen Miles blew up during the pandemic, as she reclaimed neglected green spaces with plants, flowers and seed bombs.

She started @dreamgreen.earth, demystifying the art of guerilla gardening for first-timers and giving advice on how to scope out potential spots and ‘dream green’ for your community.

@decolonisethegarden

It’s easy to dismiss gardening as non-political but that is far from the case. Highlighting the dark side of gardening and holding institutions to account with the intention of bringing positive change, @decolonisethegarden, founded by Sui Searle (@thetemperategardener) has become a tour de force in addressing issues around race, equality and colonialism in horticulture.

@ErrolReubenFernandes

Errol Reuben Fernandes is head of horticulture at the Horniman Museum in south London (Handout)
Errol Reuben Fernandes is head of horticulture at the Horniman Museum in south London (Handout)

Garden designer and head of horticulture at the Horniman Museum, Errol Reuben Fernandes is pushing the limits of what can be achieved in a London garden as the climate warms.

Follow James Hitchmough’s prairie planting, new dry gardens and quasi-natural miyawaki tree planting.

@Grow 2Knowcic

Founded by Tayshan Hayden-Smith — pictured above with fellow director Danny Clarke — when the community turned to gardening and nature in the aftermath of Grenfell, Grow2know is a grassroots group on a mission to reclaim green spaces and use them as a catalyst for positive change in the community.

@QueerBotany

Sixto Juan Cavala of @QueerBotany seeks to unearth a new way of looking at the plants around us (Handout)
Sixto Juan Cavala of @QueerBotany seeks to unearth a new way of looking at the plants around us (Handout)

Taking a two-way look at botany and gardening from a queer perspective, @queerbotany asks: “How can botany be queered & how can queerness be botanical?”

From plants that are by their nature ’queer’, having both male and female flowers, to interpreting marginalised perspectives through plants and green spaces, the project launched by Sixto-Juan Zavala seeks to unearth a new way of looking and thinking about the plants around us.

@bennyhawksbee

Head gardener at Clapham’s Eden Nature Garden, Benny Hawksbee is in his own words a ‘conscientious gardener’ whose feed mainly comprises beautiful images of the lesser-known wildlife found whilst he’s gardening and occasional commentary about nature in the wake of climate change.

Amongst the wildlife in his highlights, you’ll find entertaining but slightly depressing examples of some plant butchery where someone got trigger happy with saw and pruning shears.

@UlaMariaStudio

Ula Maria’s feed is the ultimate in small garden inspiration (Rebekah Kennington)
Ula Maria’s feed is the ultimate in small garden inspiration (Rebekah Kennington)

Sharing content from her garden design creations and looks from other gardens, landscape architect Ula Maria’s feed is the ultimate in small garden inspiration. Check her highlights for planting combinations and advice for getting the most from small spaces.

@thestreettree

If trees are your thing, look no further than Paul Wood’s account. Author of London Tree Walks. It’s a photo documentary of some of the rarest street trees in London alongside some of its most ubiquitous. If you want to know more about London’s 900,000 street trees there is no better place to start!

@RightsForWeeds

Urban forager Izzy takes us on a tour of London’s edible plants (Andy Trace)
Urban forager Izzy takes us on a tour of London’s edible plants (Andy Trace)

Professional urban forager Izzy shares her discoveries of London’s edible flora and fungi. From alien crumpets (black morel mushrooms) to three-cornered leeks (a type of wild garlic), you can find dinner on your doorstep. She regularly offers foraging walks.

@jess.snowball

@liligardens

@botanicallyjayy

Three gardeners at the Chelsea Physic Garden, London’s oldest botanical garden are bringing it into the 21st century with TikTok videos and Instagram reels. See behind the scenes as their glasshouses are restored, enjoy plant transformations, ASMR watering alongside gardening hints and tips.

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