We recently spoke with writer and gardener, Alice Vincent, who is a big fan of Falcon for both the garden and the kitchen. Last year she released ‘Rootbound: Rewilding a Life’, an uplifting memoir-cum-botanical guide which examines how bringing a little bit of the outside in can help us find our feet in a world spinning far too fast...
TURNING TO THE EARTH TO COPE
F: Can you tell us a bit about you and your newest book, Rootbound?
AV. I'm a writer and gardener - in that order - based in South London. I've never been formally trained as a gardener, and taught myself how to grow things on balconies, mostly, and wrote about it as I went along. I really got into gardening, though, and an appreciation of the outside world and the plants that we live among, in my mid-twenties, after a break-up and when my home and future were uncertain. At a time of great turbulence, going to the ground really helped. Rootbound is about that time in my life, and also about the stories of those others from other generations in history who also turned to the earth to cope with difficult times.
F. How did you initially get into gardening?
AV. I moved into a flat that had a tiny balcony attached, and both had an amazing view of London's skyline. It was such an empty concrete box, and while I didn't have any real experience or knowledge of gardening, I wanted to grow herbs out there. That habit expanded and I started picking up plants from the flower market and supermarket, and growing in what I could find - experimenting, really. With time, I came to grow myself a kind of oasis that led to a broader need of needing to ground myself in plants and the outdoor world.
F. Can you describe or give tips on how you might use Falcon enamelware in and around your garden?
AV. What I love about Falcon enamelware is that it's so tough - a lot of things get a bit of knocking around in the garden, patio slabs are hard etc, and so it's just not a practical place to have glass around. But the tumblers and teapot make for excellent outdoor tea-breaks, and, as spring arrives, the jugs will look gorgeous filled with windfalls and cut flowers from the garden. I love a jug of flowers on a garden table. Indoors, the smaller tumblers are the perfect size to propagate cuttings in water in.
F. You use Falcon enamelware at home. What’s your favourite product and what do you use it for?
AV. We use the smaller pie dishes on a daily basis; I have a handful of them stacked up in a drawer under our kitchen surface, and they're always amazingly helpful. Great for heating up food in the oven, great for food prep, amazing for serving in. They're so practical but look just as nice on the table, so I love that dual purpose - plus it saves on the washing up.
F. What are you up to in your garden at the moment?
AV. Mostly waiting for things to thaw out! The bulbs are pushing through the soil, which is super exciting, but means there's a bit of a ticking clock on getting more of the infrastructural jobs done - painting the fence, stringing up wire supports for my plants. We've just had a lot of snow, which is unusual for London, so once it warms up this week I'll be cutting damaged plant matter back and mulching with compost I've been making since the summer. Then, come March, it'll be seed-sowing time, which is always exciting.
F. How have you been keeping during this time? Do you have any tips for small businesses and anyone who might be self employed?
AV. It's been a bit of a ride, eh! I've been really grateful for the garden. The past year has really taught me what I value and need most to live happily: a calm, invigorating home, good company, fresh air. The rest I've been trying to take on a more day-to-day basis, whereas previously I was a stickler for a plan - I still am, but I've learned the value in allowing that rule to waver sometimes. I think small businesses and the self-employed have shown the tenacity, ingenuity and determination that underlined their existence in the first place this year; I've always admired independents but this year we've come to really rely on them and understand their value better. As for practical advice: be kind to yourself, and make sure you try to take a break when you can.
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