About Gardening Step by Step: Actionable advice for gardeners

Martin Cole

I’m Martin Cole and I’m an avid gardener who loves to talk and write about gardening.

I previously lived in London and Sydney, Australia, where I took a diploma course in Horticultural studies.

I now live in now in North Berwick in Scotland.

But gardening principles are the same everywhere and I want to share my gardening enthusiasm and know-how with everybody who has been bitten by the gardening bug and wants to know more.

My gardening experience

I was actually pretty late to the garden party. I was in my early 40s when I started gardening in the early 2000s and I’d barely stepped out into the patch of ground that happened to sit behind my house in London.

Yet, when I suddenly got the urge to do something with the garden, a whole new world opened up to me.

I began looking closely at plants, flowers, trees shrubs, soil , leaves – and I almost could not believe what I was seeing.


I recall distinctly seeing a passionflower for the first time, straggling over a railing near where I worked in Canary Wharf on the Isle of Dogs in London. I was astonished to to see the complexity, the beauty and the symmetry of this simple Passiflora caerulea (above) – and incredulous that such a wonder was growing in London.

I was quickly bitten by the exotic, tropical plant bug and filled my small south London garden with bamboos, tree ferns, palms, cannas, dahlias, gingers and bananas (below). It was an incredible thrill to grow these stunning plants which in those days were quite unusual in the UK.

And, as a result, I can still imagine now how new gardeners feel when they start gardening.

I got so obsessed with gardening that by 2006 I was a finalist in the BBC Gardener of the Year competition. You can see the younger me below, pictured with BBC gardening presenter Joe Swift and my good friend Richard Brown, who helped me construct the garden we were judged on.

In time, I realised I liked writing about gardening too, and passing on my knowledge and experience. Gardening Step by Step is the result and it is aimed at new and improving gardeners and designed to bring you clear actionable step by step gardening advice and tips.

Whether you are looking for gardening tips relating to growing vegetables, fruit or ornamental plants, you’ll find what you need here.

Gardening Step by Step has been cited by Thompson and Morgan, the largest mail order plant retailer, as featuring expert gardening content.

About gardening step by step; Martin Cole, Joe Swift, Richard Brown
Left to right: TV gardening presenter Joe Swift, Martin Cole and Richard Brown
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Check out my comprehensive step by step guide, with plain language explanations and ultra-useful images and illustrations. This is for you if you love dahlias and want to the best out of the dahlias you grow.