Coats & Jackets Collection One 2021 Conversations Featured Gardening
The Haberdasher Horticultural Society Chore Jacket
Jul 13, 2022
Our fictional gardening club – the Haberdasher Horticultural Society – makes its return, this time embroidered onto a Japanese selvedge corduroy Five-Pocket Chore Jacket.
To model the jacket for us, we enlisted friend and budding gardener James Perse-Cottle, founder of Growing Pains, an east London-based company that sells bulbs, seeds and plants.
A complimentary packet of seeds or bulbs from Growing Pains will accompany each purchase of a Haberdasher Horticultural Society Five-Pocket Chore Jacket. This offer can be redeemed in our Savile Row shop, once it reopens.
Drake's: I understand gardening is a fairly recent thing for you. What led you to it?
James Perse-Cottle: Last year, during the very start of lockdown, my wife got fed up with me being indoors all the time, and our garden was a wreck as we hadn’t touched it since moving in. So, I decided to give the garden a go, starting off small by just laying soil down. But then I got the bug, and I was laying flower beds, digging vegetables patches, and even building a new fence. It soon turned into an obsession. My grandfather, nicknamed the “G”, is an incredible gardener, and I loved my childhood in my grandparents’ garden, so with his help over the phone I tried to create a space that is reminiscent of his garden. He also sent me a Percy Thrower book which started him of with gardening 61 years ago. It did the trick for me, too.
People often say gardening has a calming effect. What’s your experience of it been?
Absolutely, I felt this straight away. I’m a happy person, but I am happiest in the garden. I call my grandad every weekend from my garden and we just have a chat about what’s new, it’s my favourite part of my week. If it’s raining, I’ll be in the greenhouse or the shed. Gardening is great for the soul: seeing something you have planted grow and come alive is a huge morale boost. It’s fantastic to see the plants progress.
Tell us about Growing Pains. How did that start, and what have you got planned next?
Growing Pains started with the idea of getting people out into the garden, to create accessible bags and boxes of bulbs delivered to the door. I started with simple packaging, and luckily one of my pals is the very talented graphic designer Patrick Schmidt, who, over a long day of pints, drew me up some daft graphics on a few beer mats, literally. It’s been great selling to local independent stores and Londoners, and the plan is to continue enjoying myself. I’ll see what happens, I really enjoy the day job, so there’s no rush, I’m pretty happy with how things are going so far. Working out how to make a website was groundbreaking enough. I’d look forward to an invite to Monty Don’s place – any chance you can sort that?
Many of us have little to no green space. How can we get involved in gardening without a garden?
Many people who buy bulbs from me don’t have gardens. Windowsills are a great place to grow from as they’re warm and have plenty of light for pots of bulbs. I would suggest starting with a small propagator on the windowsill if you want to grow seeds, and as soon as you see the first shoots coming through, you will be hooked. Bulbs are super easy, too, as they will sit happily in a pot on a windowsill or balcony. Tulips and daffodils are lush potted and flowering inside.
And what about those of us who aren’t blessed with green fingers?
I started growing pains with the idea of making gardening easy and painless, hence our easy-to-follow instructions. They are foolproof, just be patient.
Is there any hope of becoming a better gardener, even if you struggle to keep a succulent alive?
Succulents are a nightmare! Ditch them for outdoor plants and bring them to the windowsill, outdoor gardening is a totally different ball game. Start off with something easy, like allium bulbs and a pot, you can’t go wrong. You’ll be growing your own vegetables by summer.
As someone with a background in menswear, what clothes do you find are best for gardening?
I wear my favourite clothes in the garden. I like to feel comfortable, and I also like pottering out in the garden at any chance I get, lunch breaks, before and after work, so I’m usually in clothes I probably shouldn’t be wearing for gardening.
What’s your typical uniform?
Basically, I live in white wide leg trousers, Birkenstocks, and socks knitted by my mother-in-law (of which there are more than one pair, thankfully). Any old hoodie, a woolly hat, and to top it all off, this new crowd-pleaser of a jacket.
How is the Haberdasher Horticultural Society chore jacket treating you?
It’s wearing in so nicely. There’s rarely a day it doesn’t get worn. It’s perfect for the garden as it’s got loads of pockets to fill with stuff. I’m a magpie when it comes to picking up small objects. My pockets are always full of random bits: seed packets, pencils, old receipts and anything you don’t need. It drives my wife Hannah mad.