Leigh Johnstone aka ‘The Beardy Gardener’ is a theatre director turned gardener who rediscovered his passion for plants during lockdown, where he says his garden ‘quite literally saved my life’. He is an active mental health campaigner, using his past struggles to advocate for the power of gardening to improve wellbeing. He does this through his popular Instagram page where he can often be found having a little boogie. His videos have been viewed over a million times.
Leigh has recently created The Giving Garden at his home, an ongoing project where he grows plants for other people going through tough times. It is his ambition to create a ‘National Collection of Positivity’ in his back garden, a space full of plants and flowers, each one dedicated to someone struggling from poor mental health, low mood or just in need of a pick me up.
He is an experienced presenter and public speaker and gives talks on gardening and mental health to Charities, gardening clubs and local authorities. In 2022 he was asked by the Royal Horticultural Society to host The Potting Bench stage at their prestigious Hampton Court Flower Show.
Leigh writes for various newspapers and magazines and is a contributor to several horticultural and wellbeing podcasts. He is frequently heard on the radio, being called upon to talk about a variety of gardening topics on stations including BBC Radio 5 Live and LBC, and has been featured on BBC Gardeners’ World.
Leigh is currently working on his first book.
Photo Credit Rob Luckins