Friday in the Talks Theatre
Meet the couple that escaped the 9-5 to enjoy life in the garden and discover a top designer's tips for your for styling your space
Agents of Field delighted visitors when they took to the stage on Friday 12 April 2019 at RHS Flower Show Cardiff.
Ade and Sophie – two people passionate about growing their own produce – are the writers behind the popular blog Agents of Field and have recently left their full-time jobs behind to pursue a life enjoying their garden.
Ade is the gardener, growing vegetables, salad, flowers and fruit at their Suffolk-based home, while Sophie is the cook, transforming their home-grown produce into tasty meals and recipes and blogging about it all online.
“Last year we realised that this is what we wanted to do full time,” said Ade. “We’d both been living in London for years, but gardening was our passion. We’ve since moved to Suffolk and we’re now building our garden from scratch – the plan is to have a kitchen garden.”
From tiny seeds
Ade and Sophie’s gardening story began back in 2009 when they’d just moved into an old Victorian house in London. They were working behind the scenes in film and TV at the time.
“The garden was an absolute wreck,” admitted Ade. “Sophie bought some seeds for the garden but she got a call for a job meaning she had to go away for several months. She gave the seeds to me and that was it. I became addicted to gardening!
“My dad was always a gardener and I have many fond childhood memories of helping him in the garden. While Sophie was away, I landscaped and grew crops in the garden. I really enjoyed it.”
While a landscaped garden was a success in itself, the pair were hungry for more. A couple of years passed and Ade and Sophie decided to expand their budding empire.
“We decided to put our name down for an allotment,” said Ade. “I also wanted to learn more about gardening so I started taking horticultural classes and got myself qualified.”
The pair were soon the proud renters of plot 23D and began growing more and more veg. With all the new produce that was going round, Sophie began experimenting with new recipes and pursuing her other passion in life – cooking.
“The great thing about it is that I get to sample everything,” laughed Ade. “She loves to experiment with what we grow in the garden and is always trying something new and different.”
Growing their brand
It was from here that the blog, Agents of Field, blossomed. Ade and Sophie were sharing their adventures on the allotment and the food they were creating from it. People all over the world were inspired by the couple living off the land and it wasn’t long before the blog became featured in national newspapers.
Now gardening full time, they've managed to combine their skills in media with their passion for the blog. When Ade isn’t in the garden, you’ll find him presenting gardening products on QVC, writing for gardening magazines and creating garden-inspired videos. Sophie enjoys freelance writing alongside creating new recipes for the blog.
“It started from a passion and just grew and grew,” said Ade. “We wanted to do this full time and so we bit the bullet and gave it a go.
“My wellbeing has definitely benefitted. It’s quite easy when you’re in that rat race to become carried away with it. But gardening transforms your state of mind. It makes you realise there’s life beyond your job.
“My dad sadly passed away before Christmas and now it feels more important than ever to keep gardening. He was the gardener and so it maintains that connection to him. It’s been quite healing in a way to get out in the garden.”
Also at the 2019 show...
Designer James Alexander-Sinclair took up the role as host of the Talks Theatre on Friday 12 April and was on hand to guide our speakers smoothly through the day.
“I hosted a Question Time session and spoke to designers, nursery folk and generally got people into the springtime groove,” he says. “Cardiff is always exciting as we’re lining up at the beginning of show season. There were bright skies, lots of spring plants and wheelbarrows. Who can resist a flowery wheelbarrow? Not me…
“It’s also the first bit of proper garden colour that we’ve seen for months. Spring starts with Cardiff.”