Dubbed the Nigella of the plant world, Laetitia is our go-to expert for making the most of our gardens from bulbs to blooms
Our new campaign is all about taking time to de-stress – what techniques do you use to stress less?
I love reading, but need to get more skilled at setting aside time for it! Ditching the 'to-do' list or the laundry to go off and do something life-affirming with my kids is always a de-stresser, but in my experience you can't beat good old-fashioned physical exercise for reducing stress, and luckily for me I can combine it with gardening.
You rose to fame gardening on your balcony – do you think anyone can be green-fingered and what’s the best way to start if you have little experience, time or space?
A balcony or windowsill is the very best way to start gardening, because you are obviously restricted in what you can grow, and that means that you can concentrate on one or two things, without getting overwhelmed. I don't believe in green fingers... the only thing that plants need in order to live are light, water and nutrients; if you don't give your plant these things, then it will probably die. No mystery. What you do need is enough interest and enthusiasm not to forget about your plants, that's all!
Does gardening provide a good way to stress less?
Yes. On a large scale, it can give you really good physical exercise. On a small scale, it either becomes so involving that you forget about everything else, or it can be like ironing (i.e. rather boring and repetitive) giving you head-space to sort stuff out in your brain.
We love your inspiring recipes and gift ideas using plants and flowers from the garden – are there any seasonal recipes you’ll be indulging in this spring?
Scented pelargoniums are one of my favourite plants - they come in a myriad of different scents, from rose to coca-cola (yes, really) and it's the leaves that give off that wonderful aroma. I use them in cakes, drinks, and to fragrance rooms.
When life is so hectic, how important to you are relationships with family and friends?
Essential, of course. When things are busy it's such a release to put work down for half an hour and go meet a friend, or have a cuddle with family.
What plans do you have, both personal and gardening-wise, going into spring and summer?
At the moment I am frantically trying to baby-proof the house, as my little boy has just started crawling! We are hoping to extend our home, and I'll be making some changes to the garden at the same time so that it works better for all of us - you can never have enough space to play (or chill out with a drink!). I'm also hoping to set aside more time for blogging, which I adore.
Laetitia is the author of The Virgin Gardener and Sweet Peas for Summer. She blogs at www.laetitiamaklouf.com