Gardening has become the go-to hobby for those looking to reconnect with nature after spending the majority of the pandemic indoors. This year’s Chelsea Flower Show recognised that yearn to create our own outdoor oasis too, with the introduction of categories like ‘Balcony Gardens’ and ‘Container Gardens’.
Not everyone is naturally green-fingered, so there’s now an influx of brands helping those beginners to get their garden to thrive. Enter Herboo: The British seed brand encouraging people to get into gardening and create their own outdoor oasis. Herboo creates themed seed kits and packets to get you started, suited to all seasons and skill levels. We caught up with founder Henry Kimber to find out more about why he started Herboo, plus his tips on how first-time gardeners can get started.
We caught up with founder Henry Kimber to find out more about why he started Herboo.
Hi Henry. How did Herboo come to be?
Like all of us, my world got turned upside down during the pandemic and I decided really early on that this was going to be an opportunity for change. I'd always loved gardening, but it had become an increasingly distant hobby, after taking on a flat with no outdoor space and only one windowsill that got good light.
So I wanted to start a business which made gardening feel inclusive, no matter your space or experience. Seeds are a great way to start. I find you care more about plants you have sprouted yourself, you can give some away to friends, guess which sprout is going to be the strongest plant and collect more seeds for the following year.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Gardens are where a lot of it starts. I look at plants and planting schemes I like, garden designers like Piet Oudolf and Nigel Dunnett, plus there are some really great old published books on plant characteristics which bring to light old forgotten varieties. My background is in fashion and I’ve previously worked with designers like Emilia Wickstead, Burberry and Ralph Lauren, so colour is a key element to our design.
Which packet is your current favourite?
I have a soft spot for the Teddy Bear Sunflower in our cut flower collection. It's a brilliant fluffy pom pom flower that is a dwarf variety, so great for most gardens.
What are your top 3 tips for first-time gardeners?
Start with a plan
Consider how much light the plants will get in your garden vs what they need, how much space they will need to grow and what time of year they will put on a flower show, so you always have something popping out throughout the spring, summer months.
Knowing how much care a plant needs is a balancing act for new gardeners, it’s kind of like knowing personalities, what pests they attract, if they like to be cut back, fed, it can feel a bit endless. To start with, think about how much time you must focus on your garden. If it’s short, stay fuss free with lavenders that are quite drought resistant, cosmos which are fast growing or things like grasses which can fill in beds and still feel ornamental.
Know sometimes it’s disappointing
To really enjoy gardening, it’s always good to remember sometimes, no matter your best intentions or gardening prowess, plants are living things and sometimes just don’t flourish. You learn from it, hopefully haven’t spent too much and can try something else in its place.