A lifelong and passionate gardener, she spent 23 years at Chesters Walled Garden on Hadrian’s Wall making it a place much loved by visitors. Here she developed her free flowing planting style, which owes much to herbs, wildflowers, childhood plants and unusual perennials.

With her husband David Oakley, she made a new garden in a hidden valley in Northumberland. Each step was shared with readers of the English Garden magazine, in a two year long series on making a garden from scratch. Her Country Diaries for the Guardian are observations from her garden and the surrounding landscape.

Susie contributes to a variety of garden and travel magazines. She has been the garden columnist for My Weekly magazine for ten years and the garden columnist for the Northumbrian magazine for fifteen years. During her time at Chesters, she appeared over 30 times on television, and more recently, her new garden was seen on Gardeners’ World in March 2014.

For thirty years, Susie has volunteered for the National Gardens Scheme in Northumberland. For 19 of those years she opened Chesters Walled Garden in aid of the charity, was County Organiser for five, and is now an Assistant County Organiser in the county team. As a result, she has extensive knowledge of the gardens of Northumberland and surrounding counties. This is reflected in her book ‘Gardens of Northumberland and the Borders’.

Susie’s interests include the environment, conservation, wildlife, upland hay meadows, archaeology, heritage skills and the landscape and walks of the North Pennines, Northumberland, and the Lake District. She has a reputation for professional, readable copy that needs little sub-editing. Comments from editors include: “You write so fluidly and coherently”; “You’re a brilliant contributor– top quality work always in on time”