Fowler in 2007
Early life and education
Fowler was born in Silchester, Hampshire, and had a rural childhood. Her father was a doctor, and her mother ran various businesses – she had 200 chickens and sold their eggs, trained gun dogs, and would dog-sit for Londoners. She was influenced by her mother's gardening talents and the degree of self-sufficiency it afforded the family. After leaving Bedales School in 1996, she studied at the Royal Horticultural Society, and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London, where she became interested in bringing a more organic and accessible aesthetic to landscape gardening. In 1998, she was awarded a Smithsonian Scholarship to study at the New York Botanical Gardens based in the Bronx.
Fowler began working as a journalist for Horticulture Week, and Landscape Review.
In 2005, she worked for BBC Gardeners' World and Parks as a horticultural researcher. In 2006, she became Head Gardener of the BBC garden at Berryfields in Stratford-Upon-Avon, and created features at the Gardeners' World Live shows.
In 2007 she published The Thrifty Gardener: How to Create a Stylish Garden for Next to Nothing.
In 2008, after appearing occasionally in her Berryfields role, she became a regular presenter on Gardeners' World, and wrote a monthly blog on the programme's website. She was dropped by the BBC for the 2011 series, at the same time that Toby Buckland's contract as main presenter was not renewed.
In New York City, in 1998, she found ways of experiencing and creating green space, such as growing plants on her apartment's fire escape, and joining a garden-making community in Manhattan's Lower East Side which reused objects found in New York's streets and dumpsters. This became an influential period and spawned the idea for her first book in 2007, The Thrifty Gardener.
Filming for her BBC series, The Edible Garden – a.k.a. A Home-Grown Life – began in mid-2009, and the series aired on BBC 2 in April 2010. She explored community self-sustainability in the urban environment of South Birmingham. Her second book, The Edible Garden, was published in March 2010 by BBC Books to accompany the TV series.
Continuing with eco-friendly gardening culture she focussed on the benefits that allotments bring to the environment and those who work on them. In 2013, she presented an episode of Great British Garden Revival. She has a weekly column in The Guardian giving advice on growing vegetables, fruit and flowers.
Having previously lived in London, Fowler lives in Birmingham as of 2008. She came out as "gay. Or maybe bisexual" in 2016, ended her marriage, and wrote about both in The Guardian and in a March 2017 book, Hidden Nature: A Voyage Of Discovery.
- The Thrifty Gardener: How To Create a Stylish Garden for Next to Nothing. Kyle Cathie Ltd. 2007. ISBN 978-1-85626-777-9.
- Garden Anywhere ( a version of The Thrifty Gardener). Chronicle Books. 25 March 2009. ISBN 978-0-8118-6875-4.
- The Edible Garden. BBC Books. 11 March 2010. ISBN 978-1-84607-974-0.
- The Thrifty Forager. Kyle Books. 8 September 2011. ISBN 978-1-85626-912-4.
- Abundance: How to Store and Preserve Your Garden Produce Growing Harvesting Drying Pickling Fermenting Bottling Freezing. Kyle Books. 16 May 2013. ISBN 978-0-85783-078-4.
- Hidden Nature: A Voyage Of Discovery. Hodder & Stoughton. April 2017. ISBN 978-1-473-62300-2.
- "Birmingham Post: Business news, local news, expert opinion".
- Alys Fowler on Money, 4 June 2010
- The Daily Telegraph – Alys Fowler on Money, 4 June 2010
- Appleby, Matthew (9 October 2009). "Doesn't punk + gardening = hippie? And can I beat Chester Squirrel round the park?". The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
- Alys Fowler full biography : Deborah McKenna : Alys Fowler's Agent
- "The Thrifty Gardener: How to Create a Stylish Garden for Next to Nothing: Amazon.co.uk: Alys Fowler: 9781856267779: Books".
- BBC – Gardeners' World – Presenters
- Fowler, Alys (9 September 2008). "The propagation game". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 April 2010.
- ""Gardeners' World" The Edible Garden at BBC Shop". BBC Shop.
- "Alys Fowler's gardening column". the Guardian.
- Fowler, Alys (25 March 2017). "Alys Fowler: 'There is no such thing as coming out: it's a daily negotiation'". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
- "Alys Fowler: I fell in love with a woman, and everything changed". the Guardian.