This blog, The Unconventional Gardener, is a practical kind of place, where I can share what I’m doing in the garden and the ways in which my garden and I can benefit the wider environment. I enjoy reading and researching and poking around in dark corners to learn about plants (particularly edible ones), but I find that mainstream gardening magazines rarely cater for an audience that has developed beyond articles on when to sow your carrots and how to build a raised bed out of pallets. There are also wonderful gardening blogs out there, but filtering through them to find nuggets of exciting plant information takes a while. My Patreon blog was where I tried to fill the gap and create exciting reading materials for edible plant nerds everywhere, and to write the kind of wordy, nerdy botanical articles I’d really love to be reading. Those articles take time to research and write, and so I created a A Secret Club for Ethnobotanical Explorers on Patreon, where like-minded people can support my efforts.
It was also a place where I could serialise the books I wanted to write, starting with one I wrote some years ago. My Garden is Not a Cat Toilet! 101 ways to stop cats wrecking your garden arose from the battles I had with the neighbourhood cats in my old garden.
I like seeds. I like stationery. I like post. I know that I am not the only person to share this trio of nerdy interest, which is why I thought that it would be really cool to be able to develop a seed subscription, where I send out a delightful packet of seeds each month for people to sow and obsess over.
And so there were three levels of supporter on my Patreon blog. For $2/month Junior Explorers could go on (virtual) monthly expeditions with me, exploring the world of edible and useful plants. For £5/month Explorers could read those ethnobotanical posts, plus my new books as I was working on them.
Secret seeds arrived from @emmathegardener today💚 What a beautiful packaging, illustrations, plant information and grower's tips🌱 And I wanted to try this variety for a long time! Thank you, Emma🤗 Amazing project for seed explorers! Going to sow my secret seeds this weekend🌱 #gardener #GYO #gdnbloggers #seeds #growsomethinggreen #urbangrower #urbangardening #ediblegarden #growyourownfood #organic #seedshare #instagardenlovers #gardenersofinstagram #instagarden #plantlover #crazyplantlady #gardenlife #vegetablegarden #allotmentlife #allotment #rareplants
UK-based Seedier Explorers got all of that, plus a tangible reward – a monthly packet of seeds chosen by yours truly. For $10 (which is about £7) they got access to the monthly expeditions, the book blog posts and a seed subscription to boot. It was like buying a subscription to a gardening magazine that comes with a free packet of seeds, except there were no adverts and no risk of ending up with 23 packets of carrots in your seed box.
It had a bit of a steampunk vibe going on, and I was armed with antique paper and sealing wax and exciting seeds.