In our series on gardening in style, we’re asking some of our favourite garden people, “What do you wear to garden, and why?” Our latest contributors are Henrietta Courtauld and Bridget Elworthy, aka The Land Gardeners.
Henrietta and Bridget established The Land Gardeners to research plant and soil health through growing, cutting and designing. The mission of The Land Gardeners is to work with gardeners and farmers to improve the health of our land – creating beautiful, healthy plants, gardens, and farms brimming with biodiversity and life – all founded on healthy soil.
We pull on our navy blue canvas smocks – pockets full of secateurs, glasses phone, seeds, pens and old plant labels. A cross between a nursery smock and a Cornish sailor, these practical smocks mean each morning’s wardrobe choice is easy. We have large red and white name tags on the pockets in case we forget who we are.
The smocks fit a multitude of woollen layers and puffa jacket underneath in the winter and in summer we have our Breton coastal vibe with blue and white stripped long sleeved t- shirts. They are unisex so the whole team can wear them. They work so well in the garden or on the farm but our husbands do not appreciate us turning up to dinners in them.
It is slightly odd – two middle-aged women wearing the same thing including the same Izipizi tortoise shell glasses (which we share), M&S undies (which we do not share) and R&M Williams boots. However, Henrietta wears the pants (trousers) and Bridget oscillates between her silk petticoat and leggings and her old corduroy dress. Thick navy woollen socks in the winter and bamboo in summer.
We have navy and white rubber Stutterheim ankle boots for the wet and long navy Hunter wellies for the mud. And on the rare occasions we stray from navy blue we are in full tweed – warm, comforting and timeless.
We do not leave home without a a thick woollen rug and wicker basket with a stanley thermos, enamel mugs and tiffin boxes with our packed lunch. Our hand tools including our beloved Niwaki secateurs and copper trowel are wrapped in our Land Gardener’s Toolkit and our SHOWA gloves which we love as you can still feel the plants through them.
Our dogs Iris and Arthur are normally in tow and we never leave home without a hot water bottle which we often strap to our kidneys under the smock!