A stressful time of year

Today I had to dig up my awesome rainbow chard plants to make way for cucumbers and runner beans: Most of this sadly had to land in the compost bin, but I saved a big bucketful to live on for the next few days: We are subsisting almost entirely on rainbow chard and rhubarb at the moment which is probably not a good thing. Never-the-less I felt dreadful pulling these up when they still have some life in them. So I’ve planted out some tiny replacements in the wildlife area. These plants seem to be so robust that they might just … Continue reading A stressful time of year

Reclaiming Paradise awards 2018

As the old year rolls on and we venture into 2019, it’s award season at Reclaiming Paradise. In a year of weather extremes and personal complications, we celebrate all that is great, good or frankly unsuccessful in my garden and allotment. This year I  cracked a bone in my arm, helped my mother move house, acquired a second cat and was overcome with day job commitments. But the garden, the allotment and the blog bring me joy, and the Reclaiming Paradise awards help me to celebrate that with you. Here are the award categories: Most impressive garden developments; Most unlikely … Continue reading Reclaiming Paradise awards 2018

November sunshine

Earlier this year I had some monstrous conifers removed from the back of the garden – here in mid-removal: Behind them the privet hedge is  recovering slowly but surely. This photo is from June: I had this idea that I would make a place to sit in the sun as this is the sunniest part of the garden but that plan was foiled somewhat by three things: the arm injury in early July (now almost fully recovered); life and work being even busier than usual and the amazing tomato and cucumber harvest in what I planned to be temporary new raised … Continue reading November sunshine

Autumn tidying

Today was a garden day, it seemed like the first in months. The garden has been doing its best producing wonderful fruit and vegetables, especially plums, apples and tomatoes but, what with the allotment, and the musicians, various other family and work things, a wee trip to Norway and the small matter of the cracked bone in my arm, it is beginning to look seriously neglected.  So today I dug over one of the tomato beds, filled it with garden compost and sowed some broad beans. That sounds like it should have taken, maybe half an hour? But it took much … Continue reading Autumn tidying

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

Holiday with some vegetables

I’ve been away for a few days, staying in a caravan with my mother. My luggage included several holiday essentials: my swimming things,  drawing materials, a very fat book, my laptop (in case I had an urge to work or blog) and a load of allotment vegetables. We enjoyed the vegetables one evening after an invigorating dip in the cold Scottish sea:   This is allotment delight: courgette, white turnip, broad beans and new potatoes in a white sauce. The swimming things got used if not much actual swimming (what with the cold water and the not yet fully functioning … Continue reading Holiday with some vegetables


Last night’s rain has caused the cucurbits to grow overnight I think: and we had some more rain this morning: Stotting off the patio is the only way to describe it. The sun’s out again now and we had a garden lunch: Whole cucumbers, along with yesterday’s courgette pickle and pea guacamole.  The pickle was surprisingly successful – recipe here Courgette pickle 1kg courgettes 4 tblsp salt 2 onions 1 ltr vinegar 240g sugar spices – I used a handful of home grown coriander seeds, peppercorns, mustard seeds and radish seed pods Cut the courgettes into cubes or slices  and chop … Continue reading Pickle

Cucumber frame

I finally got round to building my second lego brick raised bed. The first one is doing well: with tomatoes, lettuce and Swiss chard all looking fairly happy. The sea shell is supposed to stop people from poking their eyes out.  I planned the new raised bed so that my trusty plastic cloche will fit over it, making it into a kind of cold frame – or perhaps a cucumber frame, which I’ve always had a strange fancy for: My seed house already has its maximum three cucumber plants. The strange thing about this year’s cucumbers is that I sowed … Continue reading Cucumber frame


Today has been a pretty bleak start to a few days away from work, in which I hoped to get lots of gardening done.  But everything in the garden is saying ‘no, wait! It’s too cold’.  So I stayed inside and got on with repotting my tomatoes and cucumbers: As usual, there are too many tomatoes, three varieties this year: San Marzano, Tigerella and Ailsa Craig.  I sowed two types of cucumber: a green one and the ever-lovely yellow Chrystal Apple.  Of course I didn’t label them, thinking ‘It’ll be fine, I’ll know what they are when the fruits form’. … Continue reading Seedlings

Post holiday rituals

I don’t know what other people do when they come home from holidays after a couple of weeks away – make a cup of tea , open any post, unpack, put a washing on have a large gin? For me it’s straight forward: greet and feed the cat, check that there are no obvious signs of burglary, leaking roofs or other disasters, greet and feed the cat again, water the neglected houseplants, greet and feed the cat again, go into the garden and see what has happened to the vegetables, taking the cat along too.   I wasn’t sure what … Continue reading Post holiday rituals