Interview with Charlotte Weychan, the Galloping Gardener

Here we are still in Florida and yet able to chat with wonderful people all over the globe! Today we are sitting down with Charlotte Weychan, the author of “The Galloping Gardener“, one of the top-rated gardening blogs in the blogosphere.

CSR4 Interview with Charlotte Weychan, the Galloping Gardener
Charlotte Weychan waving from across the pond!

In her blog, she takes us to the most beautiful gardens in England, Europe, the U.S., Canada, and other spots around the globe. Her blog is just about my favorite, probably because of her superb photos.

GG Header March 2013 Interview with Charlotte Weychan, the Galloping Gardener

Charlotte started her blog when she began visiting gardens with her late father. She records, ‘We were able to savour the peace we found in those wonderful Cornish landscapes, sit together for hours and talk, and enjoy the plants that we saw together….I hardly need tell readers how much I miss him, but he left me with a legacy that has continued to bring me pleasure even since – garden visiting – and there’s rarely a day when I visit a garden that I don’t reflect on those happy days we spent together at the end of his life.”

Isn’t amazing how such good can come from something so heart-breaking as the loss of a parent?

Your blog is like a travel brochure! What places have you NOT gone to yet, but would like to? Are any in this year’s plans?

I’m very lucky to be able to travel so much, particularly to Europe, where there are many wonderful gardens. I’m hoping to get to Ireland this year and to visit some gardens in Italy, but we’ll have to see how it works out, because I also have the commitments of my charity in India. I am lucky enough to be going to California this summer, to the Garden Bloggers Fling,

trainor2 Interview with Charlotte Weychan, the Galloping Gardener
Garden Bloggers will be touring (among others) Bernard Trainor’s garden pictured here

and am really looking forward to seeing some of the gardens there. But there are many places that I haven’t been to yet! Each year, I read about more wonderful gardens that I’d love to see in foreign countries, but that’s part of the joy of what I do …. dreaming! And when I do get to visit all the gardens that I feature on my blog, I hope I’m sharing those dreams with others.

No question about that! I am your faithful voyeur!

Do you garden at home, or are you on the road so much of the time, that that idea is really crazy?

I do garden at home and my plot is on three levels, which makes it quite challenging. The highest level closest to the house is filled with bedding plants and border to give good colour and interest during the summer, while the second level is designed to enjoy and sit out in, with carefully chosen shrubs which give good privacy from the neighbours. My bottom plot is my trials area, where I see how the plants like the soil and the situation. Once I know they’re happy, they get moved to other parts of the garden.

Who are your mentors in terms of photography? 

I’ve been lucky enough to work with both Andrew Lawson

andrew lawson 7 Interview with Charlotte Weychan, the Galloping Gardener
Photo by Andrew Lawson

and Clive Nichols,

clive nichols m5 Interview with Charlotte Weychan, the Galloping Gardener
Photo by Clive Nichols

two of our great British garden photographers, in the past. But there are many younger garden photographers emerging now, who are equally talented. And of course it helps that the majority of gardens are so photogenic. 

in terms of gardens? 

It’s really very difficult to single out particular gardens, particularly here in the UK, where gardening is part of our tradition. There are so many wonderful properties. But if I had to choose a handful I’ve visited personally that are exceptional, I’d definitely pick Little Sparta in Scotland,

SpartaCollage2 Interview with Charlotte Weychan, the Galloping Gardener
Little Sparta photos by Charlotte Weychan

Veddw in Wales,

veddwA3 Interview with Charlotte Weychan, the Galloping Gardener
Veddw by Charlotte Weychan

Great Dixter where Christo Lloyd created his garden,

Dixter1 Interview with Charlotte Weychan, the Galloping Gardener
Great Dixter by Charlotte Weychan

and York Gate near Leeds.

YorkGate3 Interview with Charlotte Weychan, the Galloping Gardener
York Gate by Charlotte Weychan

In France, nothing can beat Villandry, with its amazing potager

Villandry8 Interview with Charlotte Weychan, the Galloping Gardener
Villandry by Charlotte Weychan

and of course, if you can get in without being stampeded by the crowds, the garden that Claude Monet created at Giverny is also a real show stopper.

Giverny11 Interview with Charlotte Weychan, the Galloping Gardener
Giverny by Charlotte Weychan

Charlotte has a directory of UK and European gardens on her site here. She also has a directory of US and Canadian gardens she has visited here

in terms of travel? 
When I travel, I normally do so alone and make all my arrangements over the internet. But I prefer not to plan too far ahead when going abroad, so normally just book my flights and first night online and then find places to stay along the route that I like. When visiting gardens overseas, I also need the flexibility of not booking, because I can get held up for hours if a garden is too good to leave! I really enjoy setting off on my own, hiring a car and going in search of new gardens, armed with maps.
I envy your explorer attitude!
Do you have favorites in terms of garden blogging?

There are many wonderful bloggers out there. When I started several years back, I noticed that it was the Americans who really led the field in terms of garden blogging, but now we’re catching up in Europe and it’s really good to see how the community is growing. I’m always interested to read new blogs.

Do you have a 5-year plan for this life’s path you are so successfully traveling?

I have lots of plans for the future, including a book on the gardens that I’ve visited over the years. Of course, I came to love gardens very late – at the beginning of my 50s, so although my enthusiasm doesn’t wain, my stamina does! When I first started “galloping”, I could visit four or five gardens in a day, but I prefer to see just two or three now, to really appreciate what’s on offer and conserve my energy.
That is so cool! We will all be pins-and-needles awaiting your book! I’ll be first in line!What advice do you have for those of us who consider you our mentor?
If you enjoy gardens and gardening, visit as many as you can and when you see planting arrangements or ideas that you like, take photographs. You can always introduce new ideas to your garden at home.

charlottes pic CSR3 Interview with Charlotte Weychan, the Galloping Gardener
Charlotte, are you taking our photo?

Charlotte, thank you for stopping by (on a gallop) and for sharing with us your favorites and now ours to treasure! Have wonderful trips, and don’t forget to leave us a photo or two! Bless you and yours!

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6 thoughts on “Interview with Charlotte Weychan, the Galloping Gardener”

    1. James, She is a wonderful person – so full of life and love. You are another special garden blogger I would like to interview! What say you, are you willing to do a virtual interview with me? I pose questions, and you twist them to fit what you want to answer. And supply your favorite photos to provide eye candy. Let me know if you’d like to go under the microscope or macro lens. Best to you, Shenandoah

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