More autumn wonders

I’ve been away on a trip to Higland Perthshire – a birthday treat for my husband to traipse around various historic sights and take in some autumn mountain air. As well as history and landscape there were plants. We visited the Fortingall yew tree: 5000 years old but with tiny signs of new growth and full of tweeting birds. We went to the Loch Tay Crannog Centre, recently damaged by fire but with a vibrant visitor centre and information about prehistoric vegetables, of which there were very few it seems. Nearly everything seems to have been introduced by the Romans … Continue reading More autumn wonders

Very Hungry Caterpillars – in memory of Eric Carle

So sad to hear today of the death of Eric Carle, author and illustrator of one of the world’s most favourite children’s books ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’. It was also a favourite in our house and I’ve blogged about it before, along with some of our other favourite children’s books involving gardening or wildlife. As I wrote, back in 2014, one of the things about this book is that it makes you much more sympathetic to the more destructive creatures in the garden: they have to eat after all. So RIP Eric Carle and thank you for bringing us such … Continue reading Very Hungry Caterpillars – in memory of Eric Carle


I’ve had a day working at home, waiting for a plumber to attend to a dripping tap.  It seems like a very minor thing but it’s taken us months to get round to sorting it.  Finally, the plumber has worked his magic and we no longer have the drip.  In the mean time, I have been suffering endless guilt at all the water that has been wasted while we failed to get round to this apparently simple household maintenance task. To assuage some of that guilt and to get out of the house, I made a little trip to our local … Continue reading Drip

Clear out – or not

New Year, time to do a bit of tidying up.  I did a little in the garden this morning, clearing away some more dead vegetation and putting nets across the raised beds to keep the cat off.  But then it got dark and I moved inside and tried to clear up my desk a bit.  It was hidden under a pile of books and papers so I’ve had a satisfying clear out.  Actually, it’s still pretty hidden but at least I now have a rough idea of what’s there and why. This also involved putting at least some of the books … Continue reading Clear out – or not

The bookmark

Bookmarks are very individual. Some people like to buy proper bookmarks, expensive things made of handtooled leather, or laminated with clever sayings about reading and literature. Children’s handmade efforts can often be found inside parents’ and grandparents’ books. Some people turn over corners or mutilate the pages. I like to use whatever comes to hand: till receipts, train tickets, fliers, empty seed packets. My gardening books are full of these oddities, usually with a gardening theme: Sometimes there is no obvious connection, including an out of date library card, old bus ticket and a till receipt from a family outing: … Continue reading The bookmark

Incredible Edible

I’d heard of the incredible edible movement, having read Pam Warhurst and Joanna Dobson’s book Incredible! Plant Veg and Grow a Revolution .  So I was delighted to find an incredible edible garden in Dumfries on a recent visit: Incredible Edible Dumfries also has a wordpress site.  So you can find out more about them there. I’ve been trying to follow the advice in Incredible! Plant Veg and Grow a Revolution to grow vegetables in the front garden but am having a little battle with the elements and slugs.  My herbs are doing really well but vegetables just don’t seem to … Continue reading Incredible Edible

Knit your own garden

I was in my local public library,  on the lookout for something new or a bit quirky.  As I grazed my way past the gardening books, the novels and the arts and crafts shelves, I picked up a book which qualified as gardening AND arts and crafts:  Arne and Carlos ‘Knit and Crochet Garden’. This book is a gem of nuttiness, with ideas and patterns for knitting little people to inhabit your garden, wholly unnecessary knitted covers for hand tools, knitted seed bags and florally inspired items of all kinds.  I love it. Here’s where I admit to being a closet knitter.  I … Continue reading Knit your own garden

Containers and cabbages

My last post on November gloom was more depressing than I intended but the garden is still rather uninspiring today, apart from the birds.  The bird feeders  are covered in sparrows and tits, with the occasional fat pigeon clumping around underneath, trying to catch the bits that fall out.  I’ve added chilli powder to the bird food but suspect it hasn’t kept the squirrels away.  So I’ll stick with the chilli powder for the moment. Away from the garden itself I thought I’d have a look at some of the quirky garden books on my bookshelf. The first is New … Continue reading Containers and cabbages

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

Indoor Farming, Pips and other gardening books

I have a fridge magnet that quotes Cicero as saying ‘If you have a garden and a library, you have all you need’. This blog is about my garden but I’m also a reader. I’ve often found myself bookless and made a desperate dash to a library or charity shop to pick up a book to keep me going on a bus or train journey. As with gardening equipment, I prefer to read ‘preloved’ books rather than buy them new. I know I should be a prime target for an e-reader but I haven’t been converted yet. Anyway, what does … Continue reading Indoor Farming, Pips and other gardening books