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Have you checked out Nigel Slater’s garden on Insta yet? We’re here to tell you that it is lush. And we mean that literally, as in abundant healthy plants, as well as really, really attractive and appealing. 

As you might expect if you’re a fan of Nigel’s simple but delicious recipes, it’s a true kitchen garden full of produce to add fresh flavours to the table. But it’s also packed with planting that creates colour, fragrance, shape and interest, and it’s a space that attracts birds, bees and butterflies.

As you might have guessed then, it’s a garden full of ideas to inspire you, and we’re going to share some of our very favourite tips from Nigel so you can get the look (and the edibles) in your own outdoor space. There are plenty more ideas and tricks for your plot on our garden ideas page, too.

  • Grow your own: an easy guide to growing your own crop at home from scratch

Inspired by Nigel Slater’s grow-your-own garden? Buy his books for more brilliant tips and advice

Tender Volume I: A Cook and his Vegetable Patch contains over 400 vegetable recipes, including classic dishes every home cook should know, as well as new ideas for already accomplished home chefs. Nigel explains how to cook veggies for their own sake, and to go along with meat and fish.

Tender Volume II: A Cook’s Guide to the Fruit Garden is a definitive guide to cooking with fruit, which Nigel started to produce from his garden at the same time as he began cultivating vegetables and herbs. There are over 300 recipes, including both sweet and savoury dishes.

Take a peek at Nigel Slater’s amazing garden

We are devotees of Nigel’s books and TV shows – but we’ve spent a lot of time oogling his garden over the years. Here are our favourite bits – and the lessons you can learn from them.

1. Grow your own near the kitchen door

Nigel grows fruit, veg and herbs near the kitchen door. Right now, there are tomatoes and courgettes, the herbs are healthy, and figs are ripe. The lesson here? You can grow your own near to the house without sacrificing any of the loveliness from your garden design.

2. Grow tomatoes in pots – perfect for a small garden

Here’s inspiration from Nigel for those who have the tiniest of gardens. He grows tomatoes in pots right outside the kitchen. The diminutive size of your exterior space will be a virtue when all you need to do is take a step outside to grab some sun-warmed tomatoes for your plate. Find out more about when to grow tomatoes, and how, don’t miss our guide.

3. Fill dark gaps with shade-loving plants

Dark spot in your garden? Try following Nigel’s lead by planting hydrangea ‘Annabelle’, which likes a sheltered position, can be south, north, west or east-facing, and can thrive in partial shade. 

Shade gardens: 10 planting ideas and design tips for success

4. Group herbs in pots on a table – for easy harvesting

The herb table spied through a mist of bronze fennel. Mint, rose and lemon scented geraniums, sweet cicely, Thai basil, chervil, tarragon, lemon thyme, marjoram and lemon verbena are all doing well in light gritty compost. I grow them in pots as my garden soil is too heavy for them. Some survive the winter, some don’t. I restocked a few missing varieties this year with a delivery from Pennard Plants in Somerset. (I missed not seeing their stand with it’s romantic vegetable garden at RHSChelsea so much this year.) I can’t tell you how grateful I’ve been to nurseries that have supplied their plants online over the last few months. Opening boxes of herbs and perennials, pots, plants and packets of seeds has been quite cheering during the dark times of lockdown. This little table (an old palette now weathered by years of rain and sun) is where they live, a few seconds’ walk from the kitchen. Nigel Slater

A photo posted by @nigelslater on Jun 21, 2020 at 10:34am PDT

If your garden’s soil isn’t suitable for growing herbs, you’ll definitely want to get on board with this strategy from Nigel. His go into pots instead, and they’re grouped together on a table near the kitchen. Raising them up like this means grabbing what you need for your cooking is even easier than when they’re growing in the ground. 

Herb garden: planting ideas and advice on how to grow herbs

5. Grow scented blooms around the kitchen door

When we said Nigel’s garden was lush, we meant it. He’s grown wisteria, jasmine and climbing roses here, and it’s a great reminder to take advantage of the verticals in your plot. Focus on scent, too, to give it another dimension. 

6. Zone a small garden to make it feel bigger

Nigel’s garden has separate zones, and we love the idea of going through a gate in the hedge to a new part of the plot. It’s magical. While it might seem an obvious strategy to copy for a big garden, separating areas like this can make a small garden feel so much larger as you don’t see its extent in one glance.

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