About The Garden Smallholder

Welcome to The Garden Smallholder blog.

My name’s Karen and I’m the blog author. I’m a veg gardener, allotmenteer, blogger and published photographer. I live in North Bedfordshire, UK with Rich and our teenage children. Most days are spent in wellies, pottering around our rural village garden tending to the vegetable garden and chickens.

bluebell hen

I also rent and tend a full plot at our local allotments (since April 2011), growing plenty of pollinator friendly flowers alongside vegetables and soft fruits. I’m a big fan of mason bees and help them to thrive and populate with my many bee boxes. I enjoy community gardening, the allotment way of life and meeting like-minded people.

allotment rhubarb

Born and raised in London I had no access to a garden of my own. As a child I enjoyed planting seeds and flowers with my mum on our tiny council flat balcony and helped my grandad tend his small rose patch at the front of his ground floor flat. It wasn’t really his to tend, but he kept it looking beautiful just the same. My interest in wildlife, nature and gardening sparked during those early years, bringing home injured pigeons to nurture and forever hunting around for ladybirds, caterpillars and butterflies which fascinated me. And still do!


I lived in Bristol for 10 years raising our young family, we had a lovely house with a decent-sized garden and I fell totally in love with vegetable gardening and keeping chickens during that time. In 2008 we exchanged city life for ‘The Good Life’ and moved to a small rural village in Bedfordshire. Here we love collecting fresh eggs and picking seasonal food from our garden smallholding and allotment.

No air miles or nasty chemicals. Just us and the soil.


© All images and written content are copyright of thegardensmallholder.wordpress.com unless otherwise stated. If you would like to contact me, please use the email below:



  1. Your blog is inspiring – beautiful photographs and really informative, well written content. Thankyou!

  2. Love your blog. I will be living vicariously through your industry :) Maybe one day I will get it together but for the moment I’m resting. Like you I used to live in London and had a gardening/garden design career for 17 years – hence a sore back and being worn out, it’s hard work isn’t it? So now I just potter and look and have embarked on this cow adventure…

  3. Hi Karen – I just found your blog and feel both inspired and reassured. I’ve recently left the city for the countryside and now have my own patch to tame, so I’ll look forward to following all your expertise. Gorgeous photos!

  4. I’ve just found your blog today and it’s really inspiring! I am going to love catching up on all I’ve missed and following in 2013 :)

  5. Just discovered your blog and love it. We retired early to a rural spot in Cornwall last year and are just in the process of getting the veg plot going and planning on getting some rescue battery chickens soon. So I will be following your blog with great interest as I’m a newbie to all this, despite being brought up in rural Romney Marsh with chickens, horses and a veggie gardening nan. It’s taken more then 40 years to get back to it – but I’m very keen now!

  6. Hello Karen! I just found your blog and Absolutely LOVE IT! I had no idea about Rescue Hens! Sweet Emily :) I learned something new – thanks! Looking forward to spending a little more time reading your blog this rainy weekend. Lost to learn about your neck of the woods.

  7. Hey Karen! Wow, your blog is so inspiring! I simply adore your lifestyle. At the moment I am living in a busy, fast pace urban area. I too would love to move in a rural area where I can find peace and serenity in the garden!

  8. You have a great blog,it is nice to find a fellow Brit gardener. Your garden and allotment look great. I would love to have a bigger garden to be self sufficient…maybe one day.

  9. HI Karen, I wanted to say that your photographs are beautiful. I often think what my life would be like if I could move away from the city and plant my own vegetables. I love that you live this life and I can live vicariously through you. Looking forward to reading your posts.

  10. I am so happy that I found your blog. I look forward to following your progress and admiring your beautiful photographs!

  11. Really excellent blog, but you know that…Really admire the effort that goes into answering comments, and the beautiful photos of course. Today is the first time I had a real look through, will have to find some time somewhere to read more.

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