The digital creator and nature lover on why gardening is one of life’s joys...

Ramona Jones aka @monalogue is a digital creator whose cottage garden has garnered her a huge following. Her book, Escape into Cottagecore, explores her love of nature and finding joy in nature’s restorative power. Mona has been gardening the space at her home for about five years, focusing on a naturalistic and wildlife friendly approach. We are delighted to be collaborating with her to create more magic in her garden with our new solar lighting collection.  

As you will know if you follow her on @monalogue, stepping into her garden, through her beautiful photography, is a soothing, nostalgic affair. We chatted about all things outdoors and why her garden is her sanctuary. 

How did you come to discover gardening/ What drew you to gardening? 

I have lots of comforting memories of both my grandad and mum gardening or growing food while I was a child. My cousins and I would play in the garden around them while they worked. In gardening as an adult, I feel reconnected to that sense of freedom and fun in being a child, and I feel closer to my grandad and mum, too. Beyond that it just feels like the most natural thing to do, I am entirely drawn to it like I am eating or breathing.  

Why would you recommend spending time in nature? 

There is such a huge benefit in terms of stress management. When you’re outdoors you can feel the immense power and beauty in nature, and with that you can also realise how small and insignificant some of life’s stresses actually are. Gardening or walking in nature feel like some of the few tasks we can engage with in modern life that aren’t constantly interrupted or online, and so they feel very sacred in that respect too. 

What are the biggest benefits you take from your time in your garden/outdoors? 

To a non-gardener, they might expect the answer to this to be the garden's design or the things you grow. But for me it’s all about the process. I love having time to think and reflect, moving my body and feeling endorphins in my brain, and curating a sense of appreciation for the small things.  

Do you prefer dawn or dusk? 

Dusk, not for any romantic reason but because I like to sleep in. 

Wild or manicured? 

Wild with manicured accents to keep a sense of some personal input, like a neatly mown path through the middle of a cow parsley meadow, or a nice lawn with untamed edges of ox eye daisy. My garden definitely leans on the wilder side. 

What do look for in outdoor lighting? Is sustainability important? 

For the light itself, I love soft and warm tones as I think these are calming and natural and complement a wild garden nicely. When it comes to hardware, I love brass, especially if it looks slightly aged and has gained a bit of texture. I think this sits in harmony with the cottage and the original stone without looking too modern. I try to keep lighting in the parts of the garden closest to the house, so that it doesn’t interfere with the bats that frequent the garden after sunset. 

Top tip for new gardeners... 

Try not to worry. Don’t worry about getting things wrong, just try it and learn from your mistakes if things don’t go to plan. Don’t worry if other people know more than you, you’re still allowed to call yourself a gardener. The only thing that matters really is that you are enjoying yourself, keeping an eye out for the natural world around you and giving it a try.  

Favourite plant/flower? 

I have a different answer to this every year based on what I’ve been looking at or thinking about. This year I am especially fond of snake's head fritillaries.  

Perfect way to spend the day? 

A good sleep followed by breakfast in the farm shop and a visit to our local nursery to pick up a couple of plants. In the afternoon a nice walk with my partner and our dogs, and an evening of gardening and/or drinking tea outside. 

Follow Ramona @monalogue and @soholightingco for all the latest progress on our beautiful collaboration. 

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