Welcome to Reclaiming Paradise, a blog about an ordinary town garden in Edinburgh, Scotland. Here, and on my allotment, I grow vegetables and fruit. I try to garden organically and sustainably and to recycle and reuse stuff in the garden. The garden is full of wildlife: frogs, newts, bees, bats, butterflies and snails. I’ve been gardening for over twenty-five years but I’ve never stopped enjoying the small joys of watching a seed germinate or a butterfly landing on a flower. This blog celebrates these and the simple pleasures of growing and cooking your own food.

The blog did not set out as a recipe blog but people seem to like my experiments with using up gluts and cooking odd things. You’ll find a list of recipes on the recipe page.

I share my house and garden with my longtime husband and a cat (we had two for a while but they didn’t get on so one has moved out to live with a grown up son). I started this blog when my sons were teenagers but they’ve grown up and moved away and now we swap recipes and seedlings (and cats) across the miles. In 2018 I started sharing an allotment with a friend and this has expanded the range and scope of vegetable growing. Sometimes I veer away from gardening onto other topics but I usually find a link back. I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Why Reclaiming Paradise?

Many years ago I worked in a small office next to a large council department.  The office had a car park, with room for three cars.  There were two mature holly trees near the entrance.  One Monday morning, a digger arrived and cut down the holly trees. They made space for two extra cars.

I’ve always mourned those holly trees.  Some years later I moved to a house with a front garden which had been turned over to gravel to create two parking spaces and a back garden which had also been  filled with gravel. Over several years I dug up the gravel and planted flowers and bushes so that the house had a front garden again.  By the time I left, it was full of flowers and buzzed with insects and bees. I turned the back garden into vegetable plot with a tiny lawn. Ten years ago I moved to my current house, this time with a paved car park in the front garden and a bare lawn in the back.  That car park now has roses, daffodils, vegetables, herbs and a tiny holly tree.  It is buzzing with life. The back garden has fruit trees, a pond and raised beds where I grow my vegetables.

The ‘paradise’ in the title comes from Joni Mitchell’s song ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ which always reminds me of the holly trees and the car park.
I will go on reclaiming car parks for plants and flowers until I have avenged the holly trees.

A wee note on my avatar


This is Roxy, a much loved, much missed, wild and assertive rescue cat.  She had many interests, including gardening, wildlife and writing on any unattended laptops.  She was blogging before blogging was invented.  We’ve had three more rescue cats since Roxy.  They appear from time to time in the blog but I channel her spirit in my writing.

16 thoughts on “About

  1. How sad about the holly trees!

    Sounds a good endeavour Of yours anyway. I wish I could tear up the Tarmac at the front of my house – even though I do need somewhere to park my car, it could be a more mature friendly surface 🙂

  2. Hi Jackie, thanks for popping over to visit and for following! I’m now doing the same – seems we share many of the same interests. I love your ‘reclaiming paradise’ story – I’m currently helping my son and his wife do much the same with their new small front and back gardens. First stop making a herb and salad bed in the front garden!
    Will enjoy catching up with your blog later in the weekend!

  3. I love the name ‘ reclaiming paradise’. Now and then sharing embarrassing incidents is fun. For your readers anyway. So far I have resisted, but it is only a matter of time.

  4. I love your blog’s title and the story you share here. Missing a tree (or two) is something I can relate to deeply. Well done for reclaiming Paradise – I don’t think it is a metaphor, but something real. Gardening makes heaven happen.

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