Up until the summer of 2020, Gerald Stratford was a quietly retired gardening enthusiast, specialising in giant vegetables, but then his Twitter account went viral. Here, he looks back over the past amazing year.
What a year – 2021! It started early in the year with Elizabeth and I comparing messages on our iPhones. I spotted a private message on Twitter from a lady from a company called Highsnobiety saying she was representing the fashion house Gucci who were interested in using me in a film.
Initially I thought it was some sort of wind up, but Liz told me to be polite, answer the message and see what happens. So, after several Zoom meetings, I was whisked away in a limousine to a very private farm in Hertfordshire, and for the next 48 hours, I was filmed gardening with four young models, two male and two female.
All precautions for Covid were strictly adhered to with a doctor and several health professionals in attendance. I had a separate dressing room, bathroom and as I am now known as The Vegetable King, for those two days I was treated like a king.
As a result of this, for weeks afterwards the phone kept ringing with the media from all over the world wanting to interview me. I have done countless radio interviews – I am now the local gardener for Radio Oxford, giving advice regularly on their Sunday morning program – loads of podcasts from Canada to Europe and all points east, west, north and south, and several television interviews, one of these from Canada. I have been on Steph’s Packed Lunch show as their Gardening Guru several times and I have been on James Martin’s Saturday Morning show, where he was cooking with my vegetables.
More recently, I have worked with a fashion model on a shoot for a magazine called Prestige, and been on a crew shooting for Alexander McQueen (McQ), spending a day filming me for their new range of clothing called Grow Up. They have even done me the honour of putting my name on the label. I also did a collaboration with Amy’s Kitchen and a firm called Parsley Box, who had a garden at Chelsea. I have written a couple of articles for the RHS, who very kindly gave Liz and I passes for press day at Chelsea this autumn. We had a wonderful day there, and last but definitely not least, I had my book called Big Veg published in September – a lifelong dream come true. I don’t know what the future holds in store for me, but whatever, I will enjoy it.
February – March 2022