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About

Hello, I’m Tony O’Neill. I’m a full-time firefighter, a job I love, but it’s not my passion. Two things stir me: interacting with nature and helping others become great gardeners.

Picture of Tony O'Neill with Hugh Grant
Hugh Grant visits Tony O’Neill at Tonypandy Fire Station.

My happiest childhood memories are the times I spent with my grandfather gardening. Much of what I know he taught me, my excitement at nature’s wonders, and my keenness to share my discoveries with others are his legacies. Some people leave an indelible impression on your life.

My love for gardening led me to attend horticultural college as a youth, providing me with a great foundation, but nature is the best teacher. Gardening is unique in that while the general principles apply, each garden has unique soil and climate conditions, requiring constant adaption.

Gardening and mental health #shorts
Gardening and mental health #shorts

My love of serving others and meeting an exceptional lady led to my joining the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service in 2007. Today, Tina and I are happily married with two children, and I’m still a firefighter. However, my love for gardening is still integral to who I am.

Tony & Tina O'Neill
Tony & Tina O’Neill
Wayne & Caitlyn O'Neill
Wayne & Caitlyn O’Neill

Gardening’s appeal, I think, is linked to nature’s generous response to nurturing. With some care and attention, you can also grow near-record-sized cabbages (67 lbs (30.39kg)), squashes (131 lbs (59.42kg)), rhubarb, and potatoes in abundance.

Picture of Tony O'Neill with a 67 lb Giant Cabbage
Tony O’Neill with a 67 lb Giant Cabbage
Tony O’Neill With Large Rhubarb Plant
Picture of Tony O'Neill picking Rhubarb
Tony O’Neill With Large Rhubarb Stalks
Tony O'Neill In His Large Polytunnel Early June 2022
Tony O’Neill In His Large Polytunnel Early June 2022

These pictures are not to show you how great I am but how fabulously nature responds if we go the extra mile. Working with nature, caring for it, knowing and meeting its needs will be amply rewarded – even if the reward is a learning opportunity. Trust me; I have plenty of learning opportunities!

My garden reflects my relationship with nature, a relationship of give-and-take, listening and being sensitive to nature’s needs, and responding appropriately. Nature has been waiting for you – are you ready to explore? 

Working with nature, caring for it, and knowing and meeting its needs are generally rewarded. Like an excited parent capturing their child’s development, I started recording my gardening efforts 14 years ago.

In 2006, YouTube became available, and I could upload my videos, creating Tony’s Allotment channel. As the channel grew, I changed the name to UK Here We Grow. In 2020 I rebranded the channel to Simplify Gardening so that my global followers would know what I shared applies to them equally.

UK Here We Grow Logo
Picture of simplify gardening logo
Simplify Gardening Logo

What started as a hobby has grown beyond what I could have imagined. Today I have more than a million followers learning about gardening. My content creation journey led to Simplify Gardening winning the 2021 Ezoic Publisher-of-the-Year Award for Educational Content.

The prize is a small acknowledgment of 14 years of work. Still, it pales in significance compared to the satisfaction of helping millions of others succeed.

Motivated by the popularity of my YouTube videos on composting, I published the popular Composting Masterclass book in 2022 and have a further two books in the works. My current book project focuses on empowering gardeners to use science, technology, and practical skills to produce healthier food in abundance.

Composting Masterclass Published 13th May 2022

Simplify Gardening is about helping gardeners as you succeed. Whether you’re a food gardener, house plant lover, bonsai grower, or succulent enthusiast, Simplify Gardening’s goal is to help you succeed.

This website, the Simplify Gardening YouTube channel, and other social media channels have been a space for me to share the gardening discoveries I accumulated over the past four decades. They offer a place where gardening enthusiasts can quickly access years of experience, research, and experimentation. Those platforms are as follows.

I like to think of gardening as an orchestra, with the gardener positioned as the conductor of various players in the system. Your orchestra can be a trio, a small ensemble, or a complete, eighty-member symphony orchestra – the choice is yours.

If you lean into the relationship with soil and all the microorganisms in it, with the different plants and their needs, it becomes pretty addictive.

Tony O'Neill pulling the flowers off container potatoes
Tony O’Neill removed the flowers from the container of potatoes

You will want to learn more, try new things, and explore different approaches, not merely for production’s sake but to strengthen the relationship.

We all need some green in our lives, and the best way to get it is from your garden. Growing plants yourself not only saves money but also gives you a deep sense of personal satisfaction as you enjoy the fruits of your labor. This website covers an array of topics and strategies to help you succeed. 

You’ll find advice on killing pests and disease-causing organisms:-

and how to care for your new plants so they grow big and strong. With proper care, gardening can be an enjoyable hobby with excellent benefits for the mind and body!

I’m passionate about composting and soil improvement, vegetable gardening, indoor plants, succulents, and bonsai. For those with physical limitations, raised bed gardening is something I fervently support. I smile with every tiny sprout that appears in my seed-starting containers.

Tony O'Neill showing compost in one of his bays
Tony O’Neill showing compost in one of his bays

Every day presents an opportunity for growth, learning, and sharing our experiences. Gardening offers endless possibilities to discover new things, which makes me love gardening even more. It combines art, science, exercise, and time with nature, a wholesome activity.

Simplify Gardening’s blog is divided into categories to make it easier to find what you are looking for. If you’re unsure if the category covers your specific question, the site has an intelligent search function that allows you to find almost anything about gardening.

The website is ever-expanding, but check out these categories, whatever your interests.

Bonsai Gardening

I love the combination of art, commitment, and science that growing Bonsai offers. Bonsai plants speak to me of legacy, the handing down of a carefully crafted timepiece sculpted to perfection over several decades.

DIY in The Garden

The DIY category covers all the DIY jobs that you would need to do in your garden. Any building or maintenance project will be here, whether building sheds, pergolas, ponds, or other structures like paths and compost bins.

Flower Gardening

Picture of purple flower

This category is all about flowers, whether in the garden or indoors.

Fruit Growing

A category that covers everything about fruit growing, from soil needs to pest control.

Garden Tools

Picture of cleaning secateurs

Are you thinking of buying a new tool for your garden? I make a real effort to evaluate all the available options and advise you on your best options. I’m constantly looking at what other websites offer, and I’m confident that my offering is better.

Growing Guides

As the name suggests, you will find how-to posts to help you grow various plants, fruits, and vegetables. I’ve created an extensive catalog of aroid articles that covers all the Monsteras, Pothos, Philodendron, and others.

I also cover succulents and bonsai, but the most extensive section is vegetables, herbs, and fruit – food gardening.

Indoor Growing

This category is all about indoor gardening. My indoor plant collection includes the exotic and ordinary, plants that improve air quality, and plants that require little attention. Anything based on growing plants indoors or even indoor growing techniques.

Organic Fertilizer

It all starts and ends with soil quality. Search leaf-composting on Google, and you’ll see that I’m considered a leader in how to make it. I can help you change your soil profile to grow anything successfully.

Outdoor Gardening

This category covers all things concerning growing outdoors. You will find it here, whether that is a garden, allotment, or even a smallholding or farmstead.

Pests and Diseases

This category covers pests and diseases that could affect your crops and plants. I share how to manage these without causing more damage than good.

Vegetable Gardening

I cover the ins and outs of vegetable gardening for more than 80 crops. Strategies such as soil, root, and foliar health, water, light and nutrition management, and different vegetable gardening formats are covered.

So, that is what you need to know about me and Simplify Gardening. As you can see I cover all aspects of gardening and have multiple platforms, videos and books around the subject. If you like what you have seen here, consider subscribing in the form below to be notified each time I release new content here.