The glamorous gardener
PUBLISHED: 17:17 29 November 2010 | UPDATED: 18:09 20 February 2013
When Gilly Brown bought a pair of pink gardening gloves at Chelsea Flower Show in 2006, she found them useful not just in the garden but also for the launch of a new career as Philippa Pearson finds out
I BOUGHT these gloves because they fit snugly, says Gilly Brown as I try on some fuchsia pink gardening gloves, and because I like the bright colour.
On a visit to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2006 Gilly saw the gloves, offered in a wide range of colours, at one of the exhibits and it was only after buying them that she realised they also fitted into an idea she had been considering for a new business venture.
Gilly has always liked gardening but found it difficult to buy fun, bright gardening tools and products. The bright pink gloves from Chelsea made me realise that there were some nice bright gardening things around, she says, but not all from one source.
Tracking down other colourful items took time as products were spread over several outlets and websites so she decided to create her own online shop offering lots of fun, bright and quirky gardening products and accessories. With a little help from family and friends, Garden Divas was launched in the summer of 2007.
Garden Divas is particularly aimed at ladies but is for everyone who loves gardening, young and old. Gillys wonderful range of interesting but practical products brings a touch of catwalk glamour into the garden, after all, why do all our tools have to be in earthy shades of brown and green? A floral print trowel, pink garden twine, blue secateurs and a flowery patterned watering can are the must-have accessories whilst you are out pruning, planting and looking after borders in your garden. We plan our gardens to be full of colourful flowers and interest, so why not add to the overall picture as we work?
Ive chosen lots of fun items as well as beautifully made and practical tools, says Gilly who lives in Hitchin where the business is based. Favourite buys with customers include a pretty wooden trug by Burgon and Ball in three colour washed shades of pink, green and blue, a luxurious and comfortable padded fleece garden kneeler available in five colours, and a trendy tool set featuring a Celia Birtwell print. The practical lightweight, washable and colourful gloves, Floreo 370, that Gilly first saw at Chelsea Flower Show are also a popular item and come in six stunning colours and three sizes. Once youve tried these gloves, you are unlikely to want anything else.
Born and brought up in the Hitchin area, Gilly has always loved gardening and got plenty of tips from her grandad who grew lots of plants from seed.
In her own garden at Hitchin she has created wide sweeping borders featuring trees, shrubs and perennials planted for year-Around interest and colour and a productive plot with raised vegetable beds. Ive always liked growing my own vegetables, all from seed, she says.
Gilly wants everyone to be a Garden Diva and looking through the website its easy to see how infectious the phenomenon is, not only making you want to get outside to do some gardening but also to try some of the lovely pieces she has sourced.
The family business daughter Katie works with her in marketing the business whilst Gillys financier husband is great for financial advice attracts would-be Garden Divas from across the UK, Europe and the USA; even celebrities have bought Gillys products.
I just love being a Garden Diva, she says, its fun, fashionable and something different! Katie has also set up a sister website, The Horse Diva, full of fun and practical equestrian gifts and presents.
RHS Silver-Gilt medal winner Philippa Pearson is a garden designer
and professional horticulturalist, awarded Peoples Choice Award for
Best Show Garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2010.