Green tomato marmalade

The tomato crop this year has been fabulous.  Some combination of weather, a new raised bed and a generous quantity of spent mushroom compost has produced plants dripping with tomatoes the size of pears.  I have three varieties this year: ‘Gardeners’ Delight’, ‘Tigerella’ and ‘San Marzano’.  San Marzano is an Italian plum tomato, which the seed catalogue describes as suitable for ‘bottling, cooking or making puree’.  They’re also great for just eating and they look beautiful.  A late burst of September sunshine means that they might just ripen in my draughty Scottish garden but some nasty blight like thing is … Continue reading Green tomato marmalade

How to plant a forest

A few years ago the assistant gardeners and I had an obsession with growing things from pips and seeds. We started with acorns – planting them in compost and then waiting for them to grow.  That was back in 2000 so we called them the millennium oaks.  I’ve still got three of them.  Two are in pots in the front garden, now fourteen years old.  They make very nice container plants which keeps them fairly small.   I planted one out in the garden a couple of years ago though and it is shooting upwards, about eight feet tall now. … Continue reading How to plant a forest

The trouble with caterpillars

In my last post I wrote about Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar.  This set me down a track that I hadn’t planned. When I started writing about gardening books, I imagined I would include my favourite ‘how to garden’ books and a few of the more reflective ones on ‘why I garden’.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar reminded me about all the lovely children’s picture books that feature gardening.   I’m not sure they’ve influenced my gardening as such but some of them do inspire me.  So to start off this children’s book diversion I thought I’d mention some of my favourites. … Continue reading The trouble with caterpillars

Hungry caterpillars

The Very Hungry Caterpillar* was a favourite book in this household at one time, learnt off by heart and leading to a surprising interest in Swiss cheese and a less surprising interest in cupcakes. We all love the very hungry caterpillar when he is safely in Eric Carle’s lovely book but not so much when he is munching his way through my vegetables.  The favourite ‘nice green leaves’ of the month are my Brussels sprouts (although mine are purple rather than green).  Sprouts are not everyone’s vegetable of choice but there is something special about growing your Christmas dinner.  So … Continue reading Hungry caterpillars