ORGANISING A FESTIVAL IS HARD!!!

[Welcome to the Skinny Jean Gardener Blog. I don’t usually blog and for very good reason. But if you would like a blogger that misspells, doesn’t use punuation and writes in quite a strong Essex accent then I am you man. That is a rather niche blogging style! And heres the only place you’ll find it! Enjoy!..]

 

So actually the title of this isn’t quite true. Organising a festival over the past year has been easy. Everything easier when you class your festival as the Smallest in The WORLD! It all becomes hard when something in all these moving cogs breaks and then you start to feel like its all falling to pieces. Let me explain. 

 

So for a few reasons, mainly because new management of the originally venue could no longer make it work (no I don’t no either.. not bitter lol) I was left with only 2 weeks to go to my gardening festival in Colchester with nowhere to hold it. Out of all the things that could go wrong this was no ideal. So the search was on.. I needed a new venue in Colchester town. I tried a few places, but sadly with such a short time till the event they couldn’t help and so I was left with two options. My back garden OR cancel it.

I wanted to do neither and then Katie from Replastic (who will be at the festival) mentioned a place called The Minories, just next door to the space ship that is Firstsite. I wasn’t sure, Ive lived in Colchester my entire life and had never been but she assured me it was beautiful, and so two days later I met the team at The Minories and Tiptree Tea Rooms to talk about the event. As I walked out back to the garden I was taking aback! How have I never known that this awesome place was right here! Somewhere I walk past weekly!

 

I sat down, explained my dilemma to the team and the welcomed me and my event with open arms! Id done it! Id fixed this festival problem without a hitch. But then as the diary come out to book it in there was a hitch.. someone was getting hitched on that Saturday at my new festival site. 

Now I really am excited about this festival, BUT as much as I want to do this I don’t think its a great thing to be intrupting someones wedding.. unless they are massive Matt Biggs fans, dam should have asked if they were Matt Biggs fans.. imagine having a wedding where you get to have your own Gardeners Question Time.. that would make a great podcast! 

 

Anyway I digress. 

 

So instead of ruining someones wedding we decided to change the date. Its been a tough decision, and ive been very lucky to the festival team (me) and everyone involved in the talks and workshops that they’ve been able to change the day. Actually let me just take a moment to say thanks to Dale, Brooke, Matt. Lucy, Charlie, The Perrywood team, Katie and Andre, BDV Steve, Tanjerin Manderin, the sponsors Vegtrug and STIHL AND The Minories for all you support. And also to you guys that are coming on the day!

 

I mean hey look.. has it been ideal that ive had to change the venue and DAY, two weeks before we go live..NO! But am I thankful for you support? HELL YES! 

 

So there we go! Hope that explains it all abit better and I cant wait to see you there! Theres a pic below of our beautiful new festival site. The Festival is on SUNDAY 19 AUGUST from 10am- 4pm at The Minories, Colchester, CO1 1UE, and entry is FREE!!! FREE gardening fun all day! 

 

Cant wait to see you there!

festival site.jpg

MAZEGARDEN

[Welcome to the Skinny Jean Gardener Blog. I don’t usually blog and for very good reason. But if you would like a blogger that misspells, doesn’t use punuation and writes in quite a strong Essex accent then I am you man. That is a rather niche blogging style! And heres the only place you’ll find it! Enjoy!..]

 

Its been a while peeps, but I needed to show up on here for a second to talk about this quickly before the weekend. For almost 3 years.. maybe embarrassingly more ive promised Richard and his lovely wife that I will visit their Maze Garden for the open day they do for the gardening charity Perennial. Each year we bump into each other at various gardening event, have a lovely chat and catch up that end with me saying 100% ill be seeing you this august for the open day.. which usually ends up with my diary or life not allowing. This years no different, with SJG becoming increasingly more busy. I think next time I see them I will say yes I will 100% come in the next decade!

 

The thing is, sometimes just to be polite I say “yeh sure, ill see what I can do to be there”, but actually this isn’t one of them cases. Getting to know them and the hard work that goes into the event I am so keen to get down their to see what they do, that each year I feel like im really missing out. 

 

So here I am, saying if you are about on Sunday 5th then I 100% think you should visit Maze Garden for their incredible charity event that they do each year. The details are..

In aid of Perennial-Gardeners' Royal Benevolent Society, Opening times 10-00 am till 5-00 pm, Admission will be £3-00 for adults, children free. 

Mazegarden is in Sidlesham midway between Chichester and Selsey, West Sussex, There is plenty of parking near to the gardens, Follow road posters on the day. 

Refreshments will be available in the marquee, together with garden games on the lawns, There will be stalls selling locally grown plants and new books, also hopefully sculptures from local artists displayed around the garden.

Address, 68 Street End Lane,Sidlesham,Chichester,West Sussex,PO20 7RG

Your will really be in for a right treat in the sunshine, checking out some incredible gardens with some lovely people. 

Ps. I will 100% be there next year :D

IM HIRING

[Welcome to the Skinny Jean Gardener Blog. I don’t usually blog and for very good reason. But if you would like a blogger that misspells, doesn’t use punuation and writes in quite a strong Essex accent then I am you man. That is a rather niche blogging style! And heres the only place you’ll find it! Enjoy!..]

 

Hey there blog fans! So lets look at it! Garden 7 the programme, came from The Skinny Jean Gardener Show that was a Live Facebook programme that came out monthly at the start of this year! I loved that programme but it turned out to be to expensive for me on my own, although actually quite cheap for a brand to get on board. So over the autumn/ winter im excited to look for someone to partner up with to get that back on our screens as I really love that format and thank every one that supported it so far. Stay tuned for that in 2019!

 

So after the first 4 months of that I decided that we should do a weekly show. For those of you that may not know, and why should you as its not been launched properly yet, but 'Garden 7’ is a new company myself and former SJGer Dale are setting up. In short its here for brands and creators to join forces, but we’ll talk about that another day. But the Garden 7 weekly programme showed what the Gardeners world programme couldn’t show plus showing off other creators. 

 

A weekly show to put together on your own, along with a number one gardening podcast (say it enough times and it will become true), turns out to be quite alot to do, and unfortunately didnt continue after Chelsea. 

 

BUT I want to bring it back! And not on my own! If you’ve got this far through this blog then respect! And also you’ve past the first test, youre interested in Garden 7 the programme. So what am I looking for? Id like a group of presenters, you tubers who are able to produce a 2 minute video each week, whether that be in your own Garden, a garden make, a garden visit. Once we’ve got a team together then each week I will bring it together into a programme form to be streamed on a new channel. 

 

Now don’t get to excited. At the moment this isn’t a paid job (yet), but it is something new and exciting where garden creators come together and work together rather than against each other. THIS IS NOT the Skinny Jean Gardener Show.. This is OUR show. 

 

We are NOT here to replace Gardeners World. Gardeners World can get a bad wrap, and we’re not here to say ahh thats rubbish lets do our own thing. What I do know is that they cant show everything and WE can provide a different view to the gardening world and put a spin on it. We have less restrictions and can show what we want!

 

So… fancy it? Fancy joining forces? I want the all new programme to go out at the end of September and continue weekly, showing that just because its getting colder doesn’t mean we have to stop gardening. Drop me a tweet or lee@skinnyjeangardener.co.uk and lets do this!

HOT INNIT

[Welcome to the Skinny Jean Gardener Blog. I don’t usually blog and for very good reason. But if you would like a blogger that misspells, doesn’t use punuation and writes in quite a strong Essex accent then I am you man. That is a rather niche blogging style! And heres the only place you’ll find it! Enjoy!..]

Hey All! So I didn't want to go a week without writing a blog as we're on a bit of a roll on this website art we! Ive got a great one coming next week (he says.. no idea what it will be). Its a busy week here as im back making and creating content ready for release on Wednesday! Get ready Youtube AND Instagram TV! I think ive got something that will actually work for both you and me!

Anyway thats not why ive got you here! the main reason is I needed to write a blog and inspired by my old mate Peter Donegan im giving you the Top 3 (alternative) tips in the garden with this hot weather!

1) Water it. Leave it during the day but in the evening when the sun is going down give everything a good water. TOP TIP get the kids to do it, water pistols ahoy!

2) Have a looooooong lunch. If you've got a day of gardening ahead try and do as much early morning, and then jump back on it early evening. With the sun at its strongest mid day, try and keep shaded and come back to it later on. 

3) Water it. yeh back to this. but this time with yourself! sure the suns out, vest is on, the shoulders are red and pint is in hand.. aaaah good ol' Blighty, but hydration is key! so sure have a pint, a glass of something fizzy but make sure you and the kids keep hydrated throughout the day!

So there you have it! my top tips! although reading it back it looks like im saying make sure the kids drink water inbetween their pints. thats not the case! Anyway if you want to get some more garden advice head over to Peters blog doneganlandscaping.com/blog 

Have fun in the sun and until next week.. erm... I should really come up with some sort of witty outro!.. bye. 

I CANT BELIEVE I MET BAKE WITH JACK

 

[Welcome to the Skinny Jean Gardener Blog. I don’t usually blog and for very good reason. But if you would like a blogger that misspells, doesn’t use punuation and writes in quite a strong Essex accent then I am you man. That is a rather niche blogging style! And heres the only place you’ll find it! Enjoy!..]

 

So im boshing out some blogs on here recently hey! And theres more to come blog fans… I can here the cheers now. Anyway if you want to blame anyone for it, blame Bake with Jack as ive just come away from meeting him re energised to get more awesome/ moderately entertains content out into the world of social thingy.. whatever we call it. But back to Jack. 

 

Maybe a year or so ago now… maybe longer I can’t remember, some how I came across Bake with Jack… not really the most detailed description of how I found him, but there you go.. welcome to the SJG blog. 

 

Anyway I thought he was great, don’t get me wrong ive not made a loaf of bread yet, but I love his content and its so interesting to watch someone else in a different industry doing his thing and absolutely smashing it! Ive watched his youtube channel grow from 300 to 5000 subs, kept unto date with his daily battles with his PC and the adventures of the Bake with Jack mobil and watched him create and awesome followership of bakers.. and in my case and im sure many others, non bakers. 

 

And then last week I headed to Tilgate for the Eat Food Fest where we were both performing and I walked round the corner and there he was. That geez from the insta, from those weekly youtube vids.. right there.. it was well weird, in a great way. I mean what a great guy! So positive and such a laugh. Its weird init because your never sure what people will be like in real life.. I mean let me be honest with ya.. in real life I don’t go jumping around in a gold jacket, infact im proper grumpy.. well ok maybe not grumpy but y’know :)

 

Jack was exactly how he is on screen, proper happy, full of life and full of jokes. He even had a mini fan club that had come to the festival to watch his demo who he had been at their house the night before doing a workshop! And it after this lil meet up that its re energised me in hopefully producing some great stuff in the future, its meeting great people like Jack that really makes this job worth it.. 

 

And before I start getting all teary on the keyboards if you breads your thing or even if it aint check out Bake with Jack now, because ive got a feeling we’re going to be seeing alot more of him in the future! 

 

Also top tip be careful if you meet your social media heros in real life, its proper weird!

 

IVE BECOME THE NEW MATT BIGGS OR JAMES ALEXANDER- SINCLAIR!

[Welcome to the Skinny Jean Gardener Blog. I don’t usually blog and for very good reason. But if you would like a blogger that misspells, doesn’t use punuation and writes in quite a strong Essex accent then I am you man. That is a rather niche blogging style! And heres the only place you’ll find it! Enjoy!..]

 

 

Hey there! Blog time again, sorry ive not been about on the ol blog recently! Am getting back to it as madly I know some of you enjoy this rubbish! But thank you for reading, means alot!

 

So you may look at this title and think, ‘what on earth are you talking about???’, well let me explain. 

 

If you haven’t heard about it, I have no idea what you’ve been up to, maybe it because im involved but all I hear about on the social is BBC Gardeners World Live! Rightly so its a great event, and ive done a few bits including competitions and special podcasts featuring Carol Klein and the unplugged team, but ive not really spoke massively about it. So here I am chatting Gardeners World Live and what im doing there, and im very excited!

 

So a few years ago now I was on stage introduced by the nicest guy in the industry Matt Biggs, ive recently wrote a blog for STIIHL about him, I don’t think its out yet but I talk more about how much of a ledge he is. His hosting skills brings a warmth to the stage that invites the audience in and makes them feel part of a family. 

 

On the other hand we’ve got James Alexander- SINCLAIR, just wanted to highlight the Sinclair part as I think/ know I missed this out of a recent podcast and would like to take this point to apologise :) hehe! But James is another total ledge of hosting a stage, whipping the crowd into a frenzy, as much of a frenzy as you can with gardeners, with the odd sing along and friendly dig at Joe and his hats. 

 

Why am I talking about these two? Well apart from them being two of the most supportive gardening friends that ive had since Skinny Jean Gardener began, im also hoping that some of what I am lucky enough to see them do on stage has rubbed off on me as this year I host my very own stage!! For the first time at Gardners World Live I will be hosting the Gardeners Unplugged stage which is here to highlight the best online creators all in one place!

 

Without a doubt content online in the gardening world has grown massively in the past few years, and its about time we show this off on stage. The line up for the first year is incredible, not only because im hosting guys, but thanks for saying… I mean I did say I could just stand on stage for 7 hours.. but apparently no. Anyway we’ve got some great people including Life at No. 27 who from what I hear has some right treats for you during her show..genuinely not heard what she’s got going on but im excited to see. Me old chums (not old because there old.. they aint old… keep digging lee) Thirsty Gardeners are coming down.. love these lads, lots of laughs and they really know their beverages. Michael Perry joins us with his weird and wacky plants, im just hoping they’re not too rude and the lovely Lucy Chamberlain to answer your gardening questions! PLUS special guests for a couple of my shows Chris Collins and The Happy Pear join in the fun. 

 

So if youre coming to the NEC next week check out the Gardeners Unplugged stage timetable and be sure to come and get involved, and if you can’t, well panic not we’ve got a proper Gardeners World Live social takeover on the go so you won’t miss a thing!

 

Right till next time blog fans!!!

HOW I WENT FROM HATING RHS CHELSEA TO LOVING IT

HOW I WENT FROM HATING RHS CHELSEA TO LOVING IT

 

[Welcome to the Skinny Jean Gardener Blog. I don’t usually blog and for very good reason. But if you would like a blogger that misspells, doesn’t use punuation and writes in quite a strong Essex accent then I am you man. That is a rather niche blogging style! And heres the only place you’ll find it! Enjoy!..]

 

In 2017 I headed to RHS Chelsea Flower Show on Press day, and had pretty much a rubbish time.. the show didn’t excite me, no one wanted to be on my podcast and I ended up in Chelsea, pint in hand wondering where all the inspiration I was hoping to get was? Now this isn’t a knock on the designers or organisers, its just in 2017 nothing shouted out to ME, in my opinion I just didn’t get it.

 

So this year I headed there, expecting pretty much the same, but headed there anyway with the thought that sure it may be a bit rubbish but I could have a catch up with some people and do a bit of celeb spotting (some of which didn’t go to well, not sure what it is with me and meeting my heres but it never quite goes to plan does it?!, but thats another story for another day!), so yeh headed there on a bit of a social really with the hope that ill see something that catches my eye..

 

Well, ive never come away from a week so positive.. and its off a week at RHS Chelsea?!? Surely not! I feel slightly bad now for my negative comments last year now. 

 

So why has my mind changed so much about Chelsea, without giving away alot of content in this weeks podcast? Well something changed (for ME) this year, it felt like the gardens had more about them, not more effort as I know they are all hard work, but new ideas. Last year I felt that designers were just going through the motions, and maybe thats what changed it this year, maybe that wasn’t just my feelings. But when you come away from a show with ideas for you own garden and even just to come home inspired to do more, you know its been a good show. 

 

And so ive created a rather positive, infant entirely polite podcast about RHS Chelsea.. I know im as shocked as you are.. but to be able to give you abit more of a background to it all ive dragged in Peter Donegan into it! So I hope you enjoy it. To my knowledge its the ONLY podcast to be going around reviewing the whole show, and hoping to do more this year. 

 

Now, theres always a slight negative, and after I heard monty mention it last night, and spoke to a few people on the day about it all, and even though it was a great show, it was said that it needs a shake up. Its my third year at Chelsea and even though the content is great, the layout is boring so I can’t imagine what people that have been going for many years before feel like. You go to a festival, say a music festival every year, and each year theres something different, the festival grows, theres new areas, and I know that at Chelsea they are limited on space, but they could change the layout. 

 

So if the RHS are reading this (good joke), give me a shout, ive got some great ideas and ill hardly charge you anything for them :)

 

To LISTEN to RHS CHELSEA THE BIG REVIEW featuring Peter Donegan click here.. http://skinnyjeangardener.co.uk/podcast/

 

OR head over to you favourite podcast provider and give it a listen!

WHAT HAPPENED WITH PHILLIP SCHOFIELD?

[Welcome to the Skinny Jean Gardener Blog. I don’t usually blog and for very good reason. But if you would like a blogger that misspells, doesn’t use punuation and writes in quite a strong Essex accent then I am you man. That is a rather niche blogging style! And heres the only place you’ll find it! Enjoy!..]

 

 

 

Well lets get the answer to the above question out the way. Nothing. But hey you’d already know that/ will do if you listen to the BONUS podcast that comes out every Monday.. But we’ll get to that in a minute.. 

 

Back to Phil. Basically the story goes that on episode one of the Bonus podcast I had just come off a phone call about featuring in a Summer episode of the silver foxes tv show, BUT because of my brilliant sponsorship with the lovely people of STIHL I was unable to take part, because guess what.. you can’t be sponsored by the worlds best chainsaw brand for a number one gardening podcast, and then go big up some other peeps. Weird that. So for a moment me and Phil almost crossed paths.. one day Phil, one day. 

 

So back to the BONUS! If your a podcast fan then you’ll know that I used to put the BONUS up with the main podcast, but ive now decided to make It a little bit more exclusive, abit of a BONUS club that you can be part of for FREE! Yeh thats right FREE, I aint in to that whole, pay me a fiver and ill give you another podcast (note to self.. delete this blog once I start charging). 

 

Its a weekly no holds barred chit chat about whats going on this week in the gardening world, we can literally chat about anything. Along with some good old one sided opinions im also keen to get some exclusive.. (I should put that in capitals really) EXCLUSIVE prizes, such as new product and tickets to events!

 

So how do I get involved? I hear you not cry! SIMPLE just click here.. 

 

Enter your email.. and BOOM!! You’ll get the password right to your email box! 

 

Then each week ill drop you a little email as a reminder (if I remember) and you can listen to whats going down! Don’t worry its not a spam think.. god I hate this spammers! If that happens just tell me to do one! But together we can create a right little family of awesome podcast listeners!

 

This week on the bonus theres more info on Phil, another tv show on the horizon, news on the radio show plus I review Gardeners World, so that will be interesting!

 

NATIONAL GARDENING WEEK

 

[Welcome to the Skinny Jean Gardener Blog. I don’t usually blog and for very good reason. But if you would like a blogger that misspells, doesn’t use punuation and writes in quite a strong Essex accent then I am you man. That is a rather niche blogging style! And heres the only place you’ll find it! Enjoy!..]

Its National Gardening Week! Thats right a whole week dedicated to the great activity of gardening! Theres so much going on this week and so many event to go and visit that are highlighting the love and awesomeness of gardening!!!

 

I won’t go through all of the events on here, basically copying and pasting whats already been said, but if you’d like to find out whats going on in your area then check out.. http://www.nationalgardeningweek.org.uk/Events.aspx to see what you could get involved in. 

 

So Lee if your not going to repeat all that what have you got us to your blog for?.. Well, even though theres loads of events that you cold go visit and get inspired Im listing MY top 5 gardening ideas that you can create in your own garden with very little cost, Ive even put the approx cost of each make to show that if you want to get involved in National Gardening week this year it really doesn’t have to cost alot!

 

  1. The Bean Pole Tipi, is something that I recently mentioned on last weeks podcast and is such a simple idea, creating an awesome den for the summer time all for under £10. You’ll just need some runner bean plants and some bamboo canes. Choose your area in the garden, in a circle stick the canes into the grass, and then plant your runner beans next to each one. Give it time, don’t run over it with the lawnmower and boom your tipi will be ready for the summer! Plus you’ll get beans.. RESULT!
  2. Hedgehog House. Another SJG favourite attracting wildlife into the garden, check out this video of a slightly younger, thiner Lee.. https://youtu.be/vv9FgVsnITI Your looking at about £3!!!
  3. Sunflower Family competition. Go grab some sunflower seeds and everyone in the family has to sow their seed and care for it. The winner is the one with the highest sunflower. Look at it as a spring version of conkers, that will be sure to take the school playground by storm, and then get banned. Yeh that will be it! £2 is all it will take!
  4. Bird feeder. Feed the birds with really simply up cycled water bottles, string and bird seed! With the bird seed £3
  5. My first allotment. This is advance level! But creating your own mini allotment to grow food for the family couldn’t be easier. Start small and grow throughout the years. This make can go from £10 - £100 its up to you!

 

All the above plus over 40+ more Blue Peter style (sure) makes can all be seen during a Skinny Jean Gardener Stage show coming to a garden or food show coming to you very soon! Infant the next one is RHS Malvern in a few weeks time! Very excited for this as its the first RHS show ive ‘walked the boards’ (dunno what that means it just sounded right) at, so will be alot of fun! If your coming along give me a shout, it would be great to say hi!

 

Plus if you manage to get out and amongst it this National Gardening week then drop me a message and let me know how you got on! The main thing is to get some time outside, whether that be visiting a garden OR just outside the back door enjoying it with family and friends! Happy National Gardening Week!

I MET MY HERO.. IAIN LEE!!!

[Welcome to the Skinny Jean Gardener Blog. I don’t usually blog and for very good reason. But if you would like a blogger that misspells, doesn’t use punuation and writes in quite a strong Essex accent then I am you man. That is a rather niche blogging style! And heres the only place you’ll find it! Enjoy!..]

So where to I start. In September 2016 I decided that the only way to get through my days as an electrician was to start listening to podcasts. I thought podcasts were quite a big thing, but still people ask me what they are, but for those who don’t know its erm… whats is it, its like a radio show, but not. Im sure theres a better explanation about!

 

Anyway September 2016, in the van as an electrician, flipping through the many podcasts that were on offer and I come across Iain Lee. I remember him from my school days, just before heading off to school I used to watch a programme called RI:SE and it was the funniest thing to start you day with and so 10 years odd later I rediscovered Iain Lee’s TalkRadio podcast and instantly got addicted to listening to him. When I found him he had already been at TalkRadio since March and was releasing the full show on the podcast so I literally had hours of bingeing on the podcast.

 

Then in the same year of December I featured on the gardening podcast the Sodshow and 3 months later I brought out what was once know as the Weekend Tea Break Gardening podcast.

 

It was from listening to Iain Lee that I realised that its ok to do something different, try out different ideas. His radio Show is very much different to any other talk radio show that you will listen to. He steers away from the political news that many other shows use as an easy subject to get people talking. Without a doubt if he said ‘lets talk Brexit’ it would make an easier show for him to get callers, but wouldn’t make the show an easy listen, a relief from negativity and feeling that your part of a family, however slightly strange a family that may be. 

 

And so with my own podcast that is what I did, some may say copied.. actually id say copied too… no replicated.. replicated for a different audience, a gardening audience. Their was already fantastic podcasts like Sodshow out there that covered the interview and back story of garden designers. I wanted it to be just as it would be down the allotment or if you were in the garden chatting to a neighbour. If you popped into the garden you wouldn’t start integrating and asking for a life story. It would just be a chat, and who knows where that chat would go. 

 

Iain Lee does this perfectly, from the outside looking in, he makes it flow without making it look like anythings planned, it keeps you interested because you really have no idea where the conversation is going to go. I say it doesn’t look planned, although I suspect some of it is, and over the years he has mastered how to create it seamlessly. Its something I’m trying to learn as I go, but is not as easy as you would think. 

 

So this has turned out to be quite the review of Iain, but needless to say I really enjoy his show and there literally hasn’t been a working day where I haven’t listened to abit of his show or his Rabbit Hole podcast to see me through. 

 

Fast forward to Christmas 2017 and I get ticket to see him record his Rabbit Hole podcast show in April, next thing you know the day is here.. and I’m scared. Ive already emailed him to ask him to chat on my podcast, and he’s kindly said yes. Oh no.. now not only am I going to see him but now I’m going to be actually talking to him. 

 

From doing Skinny Jean Gardener ive never been nervous of speaking to anyone. But everyday for the past year and a half ive listened to this person, made him part of my daily life and now I’m meeting him! He’s the main inspiration to a lot of what I do AND NOW IM MEETING HIM!! 

I must not fluff this up, why does it mean so much to me? I don’t even know. Ive never cared really about what people think about me, I do what I do and I love it. 

 

But what if he doesn’t like me? It shouldn’t matter, but as I briefly mention in an upcoming podcast with him, he has a way of drawing you in, making you feel part of something, making you feel like he is your friend. Now I know he’s not my friend, I know he’s not going to be my friend, BUT he could be my friend.. he’s not going to be though, but I don’t want him thinking I’m an idiot.. thats the main thing. 

 

So I watch his show, luckily we sit down and a giant of man sat in from of us and we literally couldn’t see a thing.. I mean respect to the geeza he was a brink wall of tallness, and without knowing it he did us a favour, as we sat to the side it was a little bit like being behind the scenes watching Iain and Kath (Female Pal) work the crowd and phone lines like true professionals, absolutely seamless. 

 

Now I know, more than anyone (especially after a rather technical issued full live show the other month) that with any project it doesn’t always go to plan, and from listening them talk in the past I know they’ve been through this before, but they have it down to a fine art from what sounds like just rocking up to a mic, to actually seeing the work that has gone into it.

 

Then after he meets everyone outside for photos etc. and then I catch him just as he’s about to leave and he asks Kath just to wait for him for abit as he records something. 

 

Lee. Act. Cool. 

 

Well what a fumbling mess. All the interviews that I do mean a lot to me, but this more than any interview in the past or future will ever beat talking to the person that inspired me the most. And so shaking like a leaf I proceed to ask some pretty mediocre questions that he answers with such energy and enthusiasm, and I continue to explain to him that he’s the reason I podcast and do what I do now, and got me out of the job that I didn’t enjoy. 

 

I ask him questions and with the thought in my head that I don’t want to keep the guy for too long, I mean I don’t want him to think I’m some sort of stalker or anything.. like I wouldn’t want to write a blog just on Iain Lee.. that would just be weird, I look down at my recorder and its a blank screen! A blank screen! The battery has run out on the recorder! On one of the most important interviews in my life, the most important 10 minutes ill probably have on the podcast. I wrap it up, with no idea of whats recorded and thank him and get a iain lee hug, and say goodbye!

 

Ah man that was scary and exciting at the same time, but ended on such a low with the recording problem, and as I go away devastated with the possibility that it didn’t record I scramble through the recording to hear (if any) audio. With luck it only cut out on the final 3 minutes, which was a relief, but I can’t help thinking what it would have been like without me spotting the issue and cutting it short. 

 

It was a mix of emotions that night, of sheer delight at watching the show, to being completely terrified to meet Iain, to being upset that the interview didn’t go quite as I thought and thinking he may have thought I was some sort of idiot. Ive never felt all that before, and it left me with a sleepless night with it all running around my head. 

 

The next evening on his radio him and Kath talked alot about self publishing and creating new content, and was relieved to hear him talk about `me and what I do, which means I couldn’t have made too much of a plonker of my self. 

 

When I listen back to the audio which will be coming out this Friday, its not my usual interview style but it is with one of my heros, it may cover stuff he talks about all the time, but thats not to say my listener have heard it before. I suppose its abit like when people ask me how I become Skinny Jean Gardener you tell the story with as much passion as the first time you told it as its thats persons first time of hearing it. 

 

Anyway, people say never meet your heros as sometimes they never turn out to be how you’d think. I did meet my hero, and it was the best experience ever. I only really got to speak to Iain, but him and Kath were both really nice and kind people who really respect the people that follow them, I mean my wife went from ‘who is this guy’ ..to Iain Lee fan over night.

 

If you want to listen to his show Listen to The Late Night Alternative with Iain Lee 10pm-1am on TalkRadio or check out The Rabbit Hole Podcast at all good podcast stores! Oh and you can here a pretty average interview with him this Friday from 6am on The Skinny Jean Gardener Podcast Sponsored by STIHL. 

WHAT ACTUALLY IS MY JOB?

[Welcome to the Skinny Jean Gardener Blog. I don’t usually blog and for very good reason. But if you would like a blogger that misspells, doesn’t use punuation and writes in quite a strong Essex accent then I am you man. That is a rather niche blogging style! And heres the only place you’ll find it! Enjoy!..]

 

So the season is really kicking in now, and as always when over winter you think your whole career is hanging by a thread and that no one wants you anymore, boom! The dafs start popping up and all of a sudden everyones interested in you and gardening again. Its been the same since I ever started this whole media game, but the question of ‘Lee what do you actually do?’ Is something asked by both parents and peers, and so I thought id write it down. 

 

When your filling out your car insurance weirdly there isnt an option for 'International Gardening Superstar’, which is weird on a few levels, the main reason is because its not entirely true, so gardener will just have to do for now on that form. 

 

So to begin with ive got the podcast, over anything this is my most successful outlet ive ever created, talking to everyone from friends to celebrity gardeners its a relaxed place to talk about growing plants and is proudly supported by the people of STIHL, a concept which is soon to be turned into a radio show. Its recently just celebrated its first birthday and has made so many gardening friendships, and created my love of audio. 

 

Next ive got the stage shows. When I first started this, it was the most scary thing ive ever done, now I can’t wait to get up there! I think this stands for all my projects but the more confident ive become with my brand and what I promote, the confident ive become with my content and talking to people about it. You’ll not get latin or expensive ideas from me, as thats not what im about and im proud of that. 

 

Then ive got my newest project, and thats the Facebook Live programme. Its putting a different spin on gardening tv. Theres one reason people get so excited about Gardeners World.. and thats because its the only gardening tv programme that isn’t a makeover show that we’ve got! With the aptly named Skinny Jean Gardener Show its bring some fun and games to proceedings. Something different. Im just waiting for the BBC to commission it as a Gardeners World XTRA.. They must have lost my phone number or something. 

 

Then theres the Youtube. Well this is something im still working on. Throughout the year a lot of my work is creating videos for gardening companies, my own youtube is a testing ground for a lot of it, and its not quite found its niche. Its creating something different, new, thats not already out there, because really who wants to produce content that someone else is already doing. 

 

Its abit like the podcast. When I started there was already the Sodshow, my gateway in to the gardening podcast world. Peter talks to the top garden designers in the world mainly.. and me, so the last thing I wanted to do was bring out something identical to that. Someone that taught me that its ok to be different and produce content that pushes the boundaries is broadcaster Iain Lee who will be on the podcast in a few weeks time. Watching and listening to what he does has made me push my ideas and be confident about what I am doing, not being too worried to leave the flock. Its easy to fall into the gardening rut and produce content thats just the same as whats already out there. 

 

With these what is the message? Who am I aiming towards? Well everyone will hopefully know me mainly form Blue Peter and from encouraging families to get out into the garden and enjoy the space they’ve got. And thats something ive kept true from the beginning. Im here to get families gardening, spending time with each other and teaching kids where their food comes from. 

 

So after all that.. ‘Lee what do you actually do?’. Well after some time of looking for something ‘cool’ to call myself ive ended on ‘Gardening Content Creator’. Simple put, I create (incredible..sure) content in the gardening industry. Maybe ill call it ‘Incredible gardening content creator’!!! That would look better on the business card. 

 

My aim is to bring something new and put a different twist on gardening. Theres nothing wrong about SOME of the content (thats a whole other blog) thats already out there, I’m just here to talk about it in a whole different way through and as my brother always likes to say ‘look at it through a whole new lens!'

 

So yeh.. Lee Connelly.. Gardening Content Creator.. now ive just got to convince my mum and dad!

 

WHY ALAN TITCHMARSH HAS BEEN LYING TO YOU

[Welcome to the Skinny Jean Gardener Blog. I don’t usually blog and for very good reason. But if you would like a blogger that misspells, doesn’t use punuation and writes in quite a strong Essex accent then I am you man. That is a rather niche blogging style! And heres the only place you’ll find it! Enjoy!..]

Firstly let me start by saying that the title of this blog is clear clickbait. I think I only mention Titchmarsh once or twice, and I have the upmost respect for him, he really is a nice guy. I was speaking to him last year at BBC Gardeners World Live about how long do you keep newspaper cutting of yourself, plus some other stuff, and he was really kind.

 

As much as the title isn’t entirely true, it does talk about managing your expectations for your garden project. Right that little disclaimer should keep the lawyers away, and Titchmarsh.. I love ya!

 

 

Anyway.. Its the start of the season, and I'm here at Ideal Home Show giving advice in the Renovation Hub. Ive spent the whole easter weekend here talking on stage and to people who have woke up on the weekend and thought that this will be the year that we will hit the garden and make something of it.

 

Great stuff. Having the passion and the enthusiasm is step one to any project like this! But hold your horses, don’t get to excited. Your garden is NOT going to look or be finished like one of all Titchmarshs TV shows by the end of this year. Actually thats not true.. if you’ve got a lot of dosh to throw at it then yeh, your sorted! If your on more of a budget and are doing it yourself and getting your hands messy then No.

 

Theres a few reasons for this, but mainly because gardens take time, time to grow. Lets go right back to the beginning. You move into a house and are excited to get the garden done. My first rule is to leave it, don’t touch it for the whole of the first year. You need to see how the garden grows throughout the season, see what you enjoy in the garden and what you don’t like so much, but most of all how you use the garden. What areas do you socialise in, where do the kids play, where do you normally dump the rubbish bins (the real exciting stuff!).

 

I say this mainly by experience. When I first moved in I went for it. Social area at the bottom in the sunshine, cooking and all that. God how I wish I never started that! Fast forward a few years later and its all moved up the garden closer to kitchen. A lot of people say put the social area where the last bit of sun land at the end of the day. Theres a few issues with that, 1) when was the last time you saw the sun, and you’ll probably be in you jumper by then anyway! And 2) Do you really want to be carting all the plates, drinks and sausages up and down the garden. Bring it closer to the house and its less legwork and a more enjoyable social experience. 

 

This year will give you the time to realise what you want fro the garden and what the garden wants from you! And then its time to work out whats important and to split it into sections. Each section will be a separate year. As I said at the start TV is TV, they have to show you a before, middle and end to inspire you, this is exactly what Titchmarsh is here to do. In reality and without a big budget your looking at a project that will take years not months. Plus anyone will tell you that a garden never really stops evolving and theres always something to do, so why try and bosh it out straight away. 

 

Once you’ve split the garden into sections make year one the social area, either the decking or patio the first priority as for the future years work you’ll need somewhere to sit back and enjoy. Then you can look at the allotment area or the area your going to be growing cut flowers or play areas in the following years. Its all about making it manageable and not overloading you brain with so many jobs that they all get half the effort as you just want it done NOW!

 

Hope that helps a little bit if your planning on doing something in the garden this year. Im propa getting into this whole blogging thing but who knows you may not hear from me for a while OR you could end up with another 20 odd blogs in a week. Ill be looking at other gardening tips to start your garden other the coming weeks. 

 

Lee x

WHY I DON'T BLOG

[Welcome to the Skinny Jean Gardener Blog. I don’t usually blog and for very good reason. But if you would like a blogger that misspells, doesn’t use punuation and writes in quite a strong Essex accent then I am you man. That is a rather niche blogging style! And heres the only place you’ll find it! Enjoy!..]

Before we continue YES I do realise the irony in this blog :)

So once again its been a while since we spoke on the blog. In fact Ive spent the past month or so telling people I DO NOT BLOG! Its not what I’m about. I’m a Vlogger and Podcast Hero (No one has ever called me that but we’ll stick with it!). Anyway I thought id write a few, y’know just to give you abit of a behind the scenes chat, plus I can write this while I’m on the train, or sitting in an advice hub waiting to advise (but ill talk about that another time). 

 

The main reason I don’t blog, well for other companies anyway, is because of the way I write. I write just as I would speak, which is probably why I enjoy audio so much. The only people I currently blog for at the moment is my podcast sponsor STIHL and even they edit out the Essex of my blogs, so the only place I can blog freely is here on my own site, but you never know there may be interest in a blogger with bad spelling, awful punctuation and the need for everyone to read it in an Essex accent! 

 

On the bad spelling part I actually go a A* in GCSE ill have you know! My goodness I hope Mrs Myers doesn’t read these, she’d drag me back in to the classroom. To be fair I did get that A* by writing about the specialised subject of David Brent, which had some quite choice words added to it. I must find that!

 

Anyway where was I! Oh yeh blogging, so I don’t really do it that much. There also another reason too! There is already some great Bloggers out there. Its covered. If you want a garden blogger it won’t take long to find one. Ive got some favourites that I really enjoy reading. Heres a top 5..

 

  1. Life at No 27 - https://lifeatno27.com
  2. Jack Wallington - http://www.jackwallington.com
  3. Sara Venn - http://thephysicblog.blogspot.co.uk
  4. Joe Harrison - http://growwithjoe.simplesite.com
  5. Andrew O’Brien - http://www.gardensweedsandwords.com

 

They’re all great blogs that grab my interest and I enjoy reading! Its not to say they are the only ones and you MUST read these, but its what I personally enjoy, and with so many different blogs out there, theres and style and subject that will please everyone. Its just getting out there and finding them!

 

Theres one other reason I don’t do too much writing for blogs, magazine, or newspapers. Its been covered a lot but let me explain my view, although this could really put the nail in the coffin for my (non excitant) blogging career but its something I feel quite passionately about so lets get into it. 

 

Actually before we do I should say that I know that there are plenty of bloggers out there that write because they enjoy it.. nothing else, because they get up in the morning have some thoughts and decide to write them down to express them. Im looking at this from the view of someone who does this for a living. Although I must say that if your thinking of writing a blog then you definitely should! Just jump right in, get writing and let it all out (bit like this). Being creative is what its all about and I love to see new and exciting ideas that people have been thinking about. 

 

My great business advisor Jay-Z once told me.. “I’m not a businessman, Im a business, man!”, and with those words ringing through my head this year I made Skinny Jean Gardener my business, which is probably why this has started to mean so much more to me. The reason I don’t generally write blogs is because there is no money in it, plain and simple. Its because I want my work to mean something to the people that are using it, and not just be another bit of text thrown up on to a website. 

 

Sure there are the few that make the dollar, and good on them, but generally no. Companies don’t pay for blogs and for a few reasons. 

Firstly they don’t need to. There are so many bloggers out there already that want there own blogs to be seen that they’ll do it for free. Even if they do get ‘paid’ then it generally is through a few seed packets or some product that costs the company little. The whole ‘this will be great social media exposure for you’ thing doesn’t wash with me. 

 

From being a past electrician its like being paid it 50W bulbs! Or saying can you fix my sockets and get a post on twitter! If people want to do it for this thats fine but its does ruin it for the pros who work hard and put a lot effort into what they produce. The point of any content used is to drive traffic to a website, used to tap into new audiences which can then be turned into a sale, so any hard work should be rewarded, and some sort of value (not a few seeds) put on that work that has been done. 

 

The only way any of this will change is if as content creators we come together and work together. At the moment a lot of people see each other as ‘competition’ when it shouldn’t be like that. If you see someone else as competition then your doing it wrong. Either team up with each other and help grow each others brands or find something else to write about and set yourself apart from everyone else. Only then can gardening content be taking more seriously and a value put on our work. 

 

Wow that turned into quite the rant! Good to get it out of the system, but it would also be good to know how you feel? A lot of this above doesn’t really just go for blogs, what I talk about at the end also stands for youtubers, podcasters and all creators alike. Lets grow each others brands

 

Lee x

THE SHOW

So just a quick blog today from me as theres lots going on here at SJG HQ! I just really wanted to share this with you as I'm so proud of it and so thankful to everyone thats supported it and been part of the process of getting it to this point. When I have more time to write about this I will! but for now Thank you! You can also watch this live on facebook, but as your here you might aswel click the play button!

P.s its back February 23rd! Much love x

I QUIT!!!!

So it’s a big day today, something I’ve been working up to for quite a while, and am lucky enough only now to do it.

Quietly in the darkness (not literally speaking as that would be stupid, but just on the ol’ social) for 10 years I’ve been working as an electrician, the last half of that being a Skinny Jean Gardener! From one day being on Channel 4, to next day connecting some sockets, then heading to Media City for BBC Blue Peter, and then getting back to do an electric test (as I write this, it sounds like a subtle advertisement for what I can do as an electrician.. it’s not!)

 

Then back in Jan ‘16 I went part time which allowed more opportunities and projects to kick off, like the Skinny Jean Gardeners Shop (now no longer trading.. I didn’t say they were all Successful projects did I?!) and hit up more garden festival stages and working for bigger brands!

 

In 2017 (if your still reading this thanks.. even I would usually just hit like and scroll on) I went solo, Dale left the SJG life to continue his career, and for a time I wasn’t sure if I could do it alone, but luckily I’ve made such good friends with people in the gardening industry and they have really been so kind to me and 2017 has seen Skinny Jean Gardener go from strength to strength, talking at more shows, creating more awesome content & creating and proudly getting sponsored by STIHL for the Skinny Jean Gardener podcast (Every Friday 6am).. ok less of the adverts I get it! It was a good year, and even though I missed Dale, our brother relationship got better and we’re now at a stage, I think, where we can work on projects again together.

 

So that brings us to now 2018.. I’ve got the brand new Skinny Jean Gardener LIVE show coming out on Friday 26th January FacebookLIVE 8pm ;), a 40 date tour, a festival and the podcast, + I’ve got so many more plans (oh cliff hanger, what are those plans Lee? ..can’t tell you yet!... please tell us!?! ...FINE I’ve got nothing yet :).. I’ll have think.. dangerous). It’s going to be a busy year!

 

I’ve done and organised a lot over the last 5 years of SJG, ducking and diving between my electrical job, and I’ve being lucky enough to have such understanding bosses that have helped me get to this point. Formally Justin Dearing of whom probably thinks I’m still on holiday considering the amount I used to take, and now to Mark Richardson & Kirsty Horton who’s diary is so full of ‘Lee’s swap days’ I think I may have my very own diary at theirs just so they could keep up.

 

I’m very lucky to have a very supportive wife and daughter (let’s be honest Olive hasn’t really got a choice), but within my work life these 3 have been so supportive that I’m very thankful, so thank you and I’ll never forget how much that has pushed me forward.

 

Right anyway enough of that soppy stuff.. I’d be very surprised if many of you have made it this far into this post, sorry it was so long, had a lot of time on me hands waiting for a van to be sited so I could connect and test it!..

 

anyway so long suckers!!!..

 

...1 month later .. takes down post as he returns to being an electrician :)

DADDY BUILDS A SNOWMAN

Wow! Haven't wrote on the blog since October! I can only apologise! Hopefully the Podcast & the Re-Launch of the Youtube channel is a good enough excuse for the last couple of months. But I can promise you that in the new year weekly blogs will be going up right here, whether they be intros to youtube videos, or explaining whats going on in the world of gardening. The past couple of months has been concentrated on the podcast and youtube, and next in line to get up to scratch is these here blog!

So now its back I'm so excited to bring you this little video fro the other day! We had actual snow! SNOW!!! I haven't seen this much snow since I was twelve! We had got a brand new go kart style sledge, which was so awesome! Unfortunately that only got used once, on some very sludgy snow.. 8 years later it got sold having spent all those 8 years in my Nans loft. fast forward to 2017 and I wish Nan had kept it, not that I could get over to Nans as the roads were chaos!

I said to Olive lets go make a snowman, initial answer was "no its too cold" but once I had sat down for half hour and explained how long Daddy had been waiting for this day, much of which was ignored while 'Trolls Holiday' was on the TV, we headed out in to the snow. The above video is the outcome of our 1 hour outside! THE BEST hour of my 2017! of my decade!! minus the birth of Olive, and getting married obviously! ;) 

If there is anymore snow over the next couple of weeks, don't be scared of the cold, the dirty clothes, the frozen fingers, the no doubt flu to follow, as you never know! Olives 2.5 yrs old now, she could be 25 the next time she build a snowman!

BEST. DAY. EVER! Merry Christmas!

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone! Pumpkins! Ive got a new found love for them this year, and I'm all about using the pumpkin to its full and using as much of it as possible! so below are 3 awesome makes that you can do with the family this halloween!

Have a great night trick or treating! and don't eat too many sweets! (I mean you Mum and Dad!).

How to organise a Open Gardens in 48 hours

So a couple of month ago I got involved with St Helena Hospice, a charity that I was really keen on working with. If you want to find out more visit sthelenahospice.org.uk

I got involved to help advertise their Open Gardens and I thought 'hey that sounds easy, sure I'll do one of those!'. Not long after I was just speaking to a lady about it who said that they were a lot of work, and very hard to organise. Now you'd think that after a warning like that I'd be panicking and organising like or crazy, but with a week to go, very little had been sorted apart from a few raffle prizes, and my garden was a tip! But hey I've got a whole week to sort that out so no worries! Unfortunately we had 3 days of bad weather which meant we had 48 Hours to organise our Open Gardens!!!

Thursday evening and Mum and Dad were invited for dinner/ garden tidy up. Mum cut the lawn, while Myself and Dad tidied the rest of the garden sorting out chairs and tables, sweeping away the rubbish (I'm abit of a horder, so all those un finished projects had to disappear. My wife and little Olive was busy baking some cakes sorting out tea bags (460 which perhaps was an over estimation) and asking her fantastic friends to bake some more for the weekend. After about 3 hours incredibly the garden was looking ready and the cakes were cooling down. 

By Friday there was some final bits to tidy up, some turning of soil, some pinching of tomato plants, a few colourful plants to go in.

By this time I was panicking a little bit. Not because we were not organised, but because maybe my garden wasn't the normal open gardens thing. When I think of Open Gardens, I think acres of land with 1000s of different plants from all over. I had my garden that although not small, is only really used for growing veg, my main worry was, what will people think of my garden?!?? It turns out I didn't need to worry!

Saturday morning came and the decorations went up, tea, coffee and cake were layed out and we were ready to go. I probably wouldn't have been so stressed if it wasn't for the fact I accidently cracked my outside toilet half hour before opening, leaving me to super glue it back together.. it still leaked.

12pm arrived and so did our guests. We chose to do invite only for our event to control how many people came. We had many of our neighbours family and friends and it all went without a hitch and we raised £372 in 4 hours! And we enjoyed it. So what are my top tips for organising a Open Gardens in 48 hours?..

1) Core Team - Don't go it alone, you can't do it all, so have some fantastic support from family really helps!

2) Garden Blitz - Get the family over for a garden blitz, tidying beds and cutting grass really makes a difference. 

3) Raffle help - Call in some favours from friends and family a few weeks before hand for some raffle prizes. 

4) Big shop - We literally live in an age where we can walk in to a shop or order online and have decorations the next day, but 24 hours before you should have all these. 

5) Remember everyone coming is here to raise money for charity and have a good time, so don't be too crictical of yourself or your garden.

6) Enjoy it - it's a time to make new friends, welcome Nan and grandad over, and explain to your neighbours why on earth you've got an old London cab in your garden.

The time for Open Gardens is coming to an end, or so they say! My next one will be next Feb, out of season, and in the evening, lighting up the winter delights. It doesn't matter if you've got a 2 acre field or a 2 meter balcony, everyone can get involved, anytime of the year, to raise money for a great cause!

Thank you to everyone that visited! See you next year!

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