Spring rocket

In another gap between weather yesterday, I did some springlike things: I harvested a huge bunch of rocket which had got out of control, started flowering and gone very woody. I reckoned the leaves were still edible though perhaps a little tough, so I whizzed them up with some garlic and olive oil and made yet more pesto. It was rather good: Then I cut back the autumn fruiting raspberries and gave them a good mulch. While doing this I observed the desire lines made by cats crossing the lawn, on a direct route from the patio to our neighbours’ … Continue reading Spring rocket

At last, February

I’ve got a bit behind on the blog, what with the usual winter darkness and other commitments but, today, spring is in the air at last. I made a pilgrimage to the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens with my mother to look at the snowdrops: The gardens have a bare beauty at this time of year, with architectural trees, some tiny flowers and plenty of birdsong. They were also busy with visitors: families with small children, young couples, older people, tourists. We had a little reminisce over the generations of visits we have made to the gardens, always a popular place with … Continue reading At last, February

The trouble with

.. courgettes is that they grow into marrows. We’ve had a bumper crop on the allotment this year and I’ve been struggling to keep up. My allotment keeper friend is not very keen on the big guys so I said would deal with them. Only, I didn’t get along to the plot for a few days and they grew even bigger and I couldn’t carry them all with my dodgy arm. I did get several home eventually. Fortunately my house has been taken over by a bunch of enthusiastic and hungry musicians (nothing to do with the Edinburgh Festival, just … Continue reading The trouble with

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


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

Green plum chutney

The plum tree is weighed down with fruit this year. Last time we had a crop like this, an entire branch fell off, laden with unripe plums.  This broken tree led to the silver lining that was green plum chutney. The tree seems to have recovered but this year I thought I would avert disaster by harvesting some unripe plums in advance and making chutney.  I picked 3 kilos, barely leaving a dent in the crop but aware that at least the branches were 3 kilos lighter: Now to make the chutney but I couldn’t find a recipe anywhere.  What … Continue reading Green plum chutney


This month’s combination of sun and rain has brought lush growth in the vegetable patch. I thought I’d better do something about the equally lush weeds and overgrown hedges.  Underneath the escallonia, I found this tangle of flowers and greenery.  None of these are weeds though.  Here there is clover.  If not exactly planned, it is at least welcome.  There is also campanula.  I can’t quite remember how it came here but it’s lovely anyway.  And there is a lot of campion The campion has self-seeded all round the garden, from plants that we brought from our old garden.  It … Continue reading Tangle

Mocking the marrows

What is it with marrows? People seem to love them or hate them. I have one gardening/cookery book which takes hatred of the beautiful beasts to extremes ‘I have never seen a marrow in a top restaurant’ (good reason not to go to one then) and ‘I challenge any reader to send me a marrow recipe devised by a top chef’ (good reason not to bother with top chefs then). I persevere with this particular book because it has other useful recipes. But how could anyone hate these beauties?           Here pictured with some of its … Continue reading Mocking the marrows

Latin mice

We have mice in the garden. Not the kind that nibble the peas and eat the bird food. Not the kind that Bella watches every evening from her perch under the picnic table. We have these as well, though Bella does her best to keep their numbers down. The mice I am talking about are Latin scholars with very odd flowers: Arisarum Proboscideum – mouse plant I don’t really do Latin names for the plants in my garden – I prefer to think of them in terms of how I can cook them, what they smell like, where to grow … Continue reading Latin mice

Seed excitement

Today my seed order came through the post:Peas, courgettes, tomatoes, runner beans, marrows, sweet peas – all so exciting. I’ve also got quite a lot left over from last year. And a recent birthday brought a garden token and some perennial flower seeds.  I was going to look these up on google but decided to use my trusty bookshelf instead with the flower bible Royal Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers – my copy (another birthday present) dates from 1994 and its been updated since then but it still found me information about these exciting seeds. Now all I need … Continue reading Seed excitement