The gardener is Mr Vinh Le, 53 years old, originally from Hai Phong. He is one of the Vietnamese migrants came to the UK in the 1980s. I have been watching and following his Youtube Channel Vinh Le UK since the Covid 19 pandemic. Last week, on the way driving from Stoke to London, I had an opportunity to visit Vinh Le’s garden in Cheltenham, Gloucester, UK.
His garden is large, nice and impressive with of 200m2 and the garden contains more than a hundred fruits and vegetables exclude his garage and warehouse. He puts vegetable, fruits pots in all the areas wherever he can to plant and grow vegetables. He said in its peak time, his garden has more than 500 small and large pots. Due to growing vegetables and plants in the garden in Cheltenham, he enjoy cooking Vietnamese dishes without having to find ingredients in Asian supermarkets nearby or going far to buy Vietnamese vegetables with high prices.
He also said he started growing vegetables when he came to the UK 26 years ago. At the time, he found very few Vietnamese supermarkets, he able to buy only Asian vegetables at the Chinese and Thai supermarket with high prices. Later, he had an idea of growing all kinds of Vietnamese vegetables, enjoying the Vietnamese taste at his home every day without spending money or going far.
Mr Le now owns a garden of more than 100 types of Vietnamese vegetables, fruits, including all varieties of trees from 3 regions of the North, Central and South Vietnam. In summer, he spend 4 hours to take care of his garden. He mainly grows seasonal crops – from leafy vegetables, sp, fruits, climbing trellises,… such as perilla, marjoram, cumin, vegetables, longitudinal, sassy, ship smell, basil, mistlet, apricot leaves, more than a dozen varieties of cabbage, sourdough, grapefruit,
Interestingly, he successfully planted peach blossoms and apricot flowers to play in his house during Tet holiday in the UK. This has been welcome by Vietnamese people living abroad. UK is surrounded by the sea and has unique weather which which can experience four seasons, with cold wind, rain, and snow in just one day. In order to overcome the weather disadvantages, Vinh watches the temperature, in warm months, he grows sun-resistant plants and vegetables. When it is cold , he switches to plants that survive in winter.
In his free time, he enthusiastically shares his experience of doing garden with Vietnamese people in five continents, instructing them how to grow Vietnamese vegetables effectively when the weather is cold or hot. Watching his Youtube Channel with more than 15,400 subscribers, you will enjoy his enthusiastic garden and cooking skills. He said he has fans everywhere from USA, Australia and France even some people in Vietnam booking flight tickets to see him. His Youtube channel is so good that his fan has sent him a bottle gift showing his name and images.
He hopes to preserve the culture and traditional cuisine, encourage Vietnamese people living abroad to do so that the next generation will remember it.
Although he has been living in the UK for many years, he is one of examples that Vietnamese oversea can learn and follow. Due to his garden skills and preserving the traditional Vietnamese customs , Vinh always sees his desire around him.