The Women’s Room Meets: Alys Fowler

alys fowler 02We were thrilled to be asked to the Gudrun Sjoden’s International Women’s Day celebration at the Covent Garden store on Friday, and to meet my favourite gardening columnist Alys Fowler, who writes for the Guardian’s weekend magazine, along with other publications. I love her bright, optimistic attitude that shines through in her very upbeat writing style which always enthuses me to get out of my pyjamas and into the garden.

In real life she’s wonderfully no-nosense and funny, we have a shared love of Hasbeens it seems -she spends her whole life in clogs and was rocking a neat pair of scarlet Zip It Emy Hasbeen boots when we met -and admires Gudrun’s sustainable-retail philosophy and non-ageist approach to clothes. ‘I wish there were more brands that took the spread of ages as seriously as Gudrun’ she commented.

Alys FowlerAs well as a cute Gudrun black and white stripe dress topped off with an apple green cashmere cardigan, Alys was wearing a Tatty Devine Day of the Dead necklace and a vintage rose belt picked up in New York, so she’s clearly a girl with a sense of style… We had to ask – Alys what do you wear gardening?

“I do own jeans but I’m a real fan of dresses, as they’re easier to dig in and I don’t differentiate my ‘garden wear’. I used to wear crappy clothes for gardening when I was a student, but then I realised I was going to be spending the whole of my life gardening in crappy clothes, so I made a conscious decision to make an effort to look good when gardening, so that if anyone came to find me when I was working i wouldn’t be embarrassed by what I was wearing.”

alys fowler at gudrun sjodenEven though it was miserable outside, rainy and cold, Alys performed a quick demonstration of what even the space-challanged could all do this weekend to bring some spring cheer to our lives. She suggests planting pea seeds on a windows sill to germinate speedily for cutting as pea tops to add to salads and stir fries. Any old container (Alys uses take-out containers) will do and you can get two or three cuttings from the plantings before the leaves turn a bit tough (compost the knackered mini seedlings after this).

You can also grow micro greens this way too, any old cheap vegetable seed will do (Alys reckons Lidl’s is the cheapest at about 40pence a packet) and the small sproutings are packed with nutrients so will pep you up after a winter being kept inside.
alys fowler at gudrun gardeningAlys has also written a number of books which concentrate on gardening if you have very little money, I have made my sons buy me her newest one, The Thrifty Forager  for Mother’s Day today, and if I’m lucky I will be spending as much of the day as possible in my garden, or at least mucking about with soil and seeds.

Top Tip: Alys also suggested looking up the new Battersea Flower Station garden centre as a good place to spend some of Mother’s Day if you are the gardening type, so I shall be doing that too

Happy Mother’s Day all!


  • Elaine says:

    Great article. I work in an office and I started dressing for fabulousness about 10 years ago. I used to think some clothes would do as they were only for work, but then realised that I spend most of every day in work, so I changed my clothes buying policy. Now my rule is ‘is it fabulous?’ This stops me buying clothes that are okay, or comfortable but awful, or just because they fit. I must feel fabulous in it or it doesn’t get bought. It works because I never feel deprived. Why would I want to buy something less than fab?


  • Amanda says:

    I think Elaine, we may have a new fashion mantra here…Dressing For Fabulousness A

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