Reclaiming Paradise Awards 2021

We come to the end of another year. What is there to say about 2021? Too much really but here on Reclaiming Paradise it is time to celebrate all that has been good, surprising or downright disappointing in the garden and allotment. Wonderful weather The winter brought some wonderful frost, snow and ice The cowometer came back into use – for a view of its highest reading since records began, see here We also had impressive thunderstorms and flooding in July (no photos) but the award goes to the ice on the pond in February which enabled Bella to perfect … Continue reading Reclaiming Paradise Awards 2021

Autumn delights

It’s been a glorious autumn day, with a slight nip in the air but lovely sunshine and leaves beginning to fall from the trees. As I cycled to the allotment this afternoon, leaves blew in my face and conkers fell from trees. It felt a little scary but also quite exciting. I dread the end of summer but when autumn really comes, it brings its own joys. One of these joys is planning next year’s crop. At the allotment, I got down on my hands and knees and hauled strings of couch grass from the soil. We’ve had a bit … Continue reading Autumn delights

Seven years of blogging

Seven years ago I wrote my first blog post – you can see it here – it was all about the ways in which my front garden brings pleasure to passers by as well as me. When we first moved here nearly twelve years ago, the front garden was just a car park. Today it is full of flowers and bees and brings us joy. Today was another of those days when I couldn’t help reflecting on the difference this makes. Here’s what it looked like in the early days when I had just started digging holes in the paving … Continue reading Seven years of blogging

Chatting about the blog

I recently talked about the blog on a podcast – link here, recorded by musicians Besingende Gedálland for their Wordlende series. Wordlende is a ‘chance to talk, commune and conspire with individuals who involve environmental practices in their day to day life’. Other podcasts in the series tell you about music, foraging and the wonders of nature. You’ll find me talking mainly about vegetables, but also about growing up in Shetland, the joy of seedlings, sharing tomatoes and spiky cucumbers, the wonder of apples, making weed pesto, environmental issues and how a song by Joni Mitchell inspired the name for … Continue reading Chatting about the blog

New year flowers

We usually go for a good walk on New Year’s Day but visitors meant that we stayed in and chatted and played scrabble instead. I did get out in the garden to count the flowers though. Here’s what was in bloom this year. First of all the sweetly scented viburnum: Then some unseasonal beauties: a red scabious, a pink Benjamin Britten rose, a yellow wallflower and a blue campanula There were some more seasonal yellow flowers: a yellow primula in a pot and the winter jasmine just coming into flower.  And finally the tiny but powerfully scented wintersweet Apart from … Continue reading New year flowers

Reclaiming Paradise Awards 2019

And so the year turns again. As we move towards the 2020s, we look back at the high and low points of 2019 in the garden and allotment with the annual Reclaiming Paradise Awards. Most successful vegetable My garden and allotment are all about vegetables and this year has seen a great crop. Among the successes have been: Swiss chard, peas and beans, potatoes, tomatoes, marrows, courgettes, cucumbers, sprouts: The peas come a close runner up, but the winners for 2019 are the onions, overwintered in the garden and on the allotment, followed by a second summer crop on the … Continue reading Reclaiming Paradise Awards 2019

Going wild

It’s June, time for Thirty Days Wild, a month of exploring, discovering and celebrating wildlife. This year my wildness will be rather urban again. I’ll be trying to find wildness in the city. There’s plenty in my own garden: And at the allotment: Occasionally I may get out into the countryside but it’s a busy month ahead so I’ll try and find more urban wildlife on my way to and from work and as I go about my non-gardening business in the city. Last year, I had a great time, spotting all sorts of unexpected wild things: sunsets, bees, wild roses, … Continue reading Going wild

Slightly off schedule

Dear blog, I’ve been away from you too long but I’ve had other things to do, including  some gardening and allotment plotting, but also working, seeing family, and listening to music: everything from solo cello to Don McLean. But, I digress. One thing that fell behind last weekend was potting up my tomato plants. I had taken them out for some sun at the weekend: but then didn’t have time to repot them. I snatched a moment on Monday night to do the repotting and then, of course, ran out of space inside for the happier plants in their bigger … Continue reading Slightly off schedule

Three reasons to love broad beans

1 Because they are easy to grow 2 Because you can make broad bean guacamole from them – see here for how to (Actually that photo also contains courgettes, peas and French beans but you get the point) 3 Because they remind me of Roxy, our lovely garden blogging cat, long gone but still remembered, especially at this time of year: Clearly a master of disguise as well as a talented garden blogger Continue reading Three reasons to love broad beans

Happy 3rd birthday blog!

WordPress has just reminded me that it is three years since I registered my blog. I didn’t put up my first post till June, as I spent several weeks dithering about it.  But, today’s the anniversary so it’s worth celebrating today.  My first post – see here -didn’t have any pictures – but I’m still quite fond of it as it summed up what I thought my blog would be about.  Seven years ago, soon after we moved into this house, the front garden was devoted entirely to paving and had room for three cars:  we made a plan of what … Continue reading Happy 3rd birthday blog!