An edible-garden specialist's abundant Somerset smallholding

For garden designer Alison Jenkins, our green spaces should be beautiful, fruitful and sustainable, and her Somerset smallholding is the perfect example, with abundant beds of vegetables, herbs and edible flowers
Ediblegarden specialist Alison Jenkins abundant Somerset smallholding
Eva Nemeth

Twiggy, the family’s Irish terrier.

Eva Nemeth

Alison is keen to encourage growing your own in even the smallest garden and has been experimenting with galvanised cattle troughs, planting them with classic lettuces and herbs, followed by asparagus peas: ‘These have red flowers followed by angular pods, which you can eat when they’re about 3cm long – they look gorgeous spilling over the front of the trough.’

Another of her clever ideas is to sow parsley and coriander in galvanised buckets (she recommends the fern-like coriander ‘Confetti’ as the prettiest variety) to stand at the kitchen door, ready to pick when she is cooking.

An infectious sense of wonder pervades everything she does. If she invites a visitor to taste the delectable nectar at the base of the magenta flowers of the Salvia ‘Cerro Potosi’ – reminding them, of course, that this is a brilliantly tough and long-flowering plant – she will laugh as if she, too, is tasting it for the first time.

A talented and successful garden designer, Alison is excited about her new path as an edible garden specialist: ‘As a tutor, I feel energised by bringing a small group of people together to learn and bounce ideas off each other, and empowering them with the knowledge and inspiration to create their own spaces. As a designer, I like to act as a guiding hand for clients. Sometimes, just a conversation can be enough to set someone off in a new direction they hadn’t considered.’ This generous and knowledgeable approach will surely be much in demand.

Alison Jenkins Edible Garden Design