Meet the #InstaGardeners - @rachels.allotment

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Rachel Greenhill is a real-life, all-action, horticultural hero. By day she is a scientist at The University of Sheffield, growing and researching parasitic plants in controlled environment chambers to prevent their spread across the world.

By night (and weekends, and bank holidays) she is an allotment gardener and rising Instagram star, documenting her triumphs with rainbow chard, arran pilot potatoes and shooting asparagus spears that she once described as “undead fingers emerging from a grave.”

The plant doctor has also battled enemies, including a cat who made regular use of one of her allotment planters as a litter tray. Preventative measures, including sticks, saw her pansies and alliums win through. In her own words: “Rachel 2, Cat 1”.

Just getting the Sheffield allotment up and running was another challenge that had to be overcome. When handed over in June 2019 it was “absolutely overrun with bindweed, couch grass, brambles and comfrey.”

Less than 9 months later it was unrecognisable, so transformed that it deserved it’s own Instagram channel: “Rachel’s Allotment”. With just over 500 posts, Rachel has attracted 20,000 followers and receives thousands of views on every IGTV video posted. She has also curated an Amazon storefront featuring her favourite gardening items.

Rachel has big plans in the pipeline for 2021, including a blog and a YouTube channel. As the #Instgardener will also be continuing a switch towards more sustainable gardening, we sent over some of our eco-friendly bamboo fibre planters. They were well received.

“This year is going to be all about reducing plastic waste for me,” explained Rachel. “So I’m thankful to find a durable, cost-effective, alternative plant pot material. I love these pots. I’m all about colour, so they are perfect dotted around.”

Bamboo fibre is an innovative composite, comprising a range of materials. Biodegradable bamboo powder, recycled from decommissioned products and the offcuts of manufacturing processes, is by far the biggest ingredient. This is combined with corn starch  and organic resin (melamine) to bind the composite.

The result is a material with similar characteristics to plastic, but that is far kinder to the planet. Bamboo Fibre lends itself particularly well to sleek designs and bold tones, as can be seen in our planters.

The Allotment Gardener will be keeping us updated as she puts hers to work. It shouldn’t take long.

“I’ve already used one for my string of hearts cuttings! It was perfect,” Rachel added.

 

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