Reclaiming Paradise Awards 2017

As the year turns, I’ve set to reflecting on 2017’s disasters and successes (in the garden anyway, let’s not dwell on the wider world here).  Last year we had the inaugural Reclaiming Paradise awards – details here.  Now they have become annual, though the categories vary slightly from year to year. Most disappointing vegetables The red flowered broad beans and purple radishes share this award. They both produced the most lovely flowers but neither produced a decent bean or radish. The radishes did, however, produce lovely seed pods, eventually I’ll grow the radishes again, but just for the flowers and … Continue reading Reclaiming Paradise Awards 2017

Groceries in the garden

Today I heard that an old Italian friend, Roberto, had died suddenly.   I will never forget his exclamation when he visited our old house and looked out of an upstairs window at the garden: ‘Ah but you have groceries in the garden’ His English, like everything else about him, was charming. He had not yet worked out the subtleties of the English language, where ‘groceries’ means things like tea and sugar and butter and ‘vegetables’ are what you find in gardens.  It was not just his take on the English language but Roberto’s enthusiasm for such things as vegetables that … Continue reading Groceries in the garden

Reclaiming paradise awards for 2016

2016 – what to say? It’s been a year of political upheaval, the loss of some of our favourite actors and musicians and some deep personal loss among my own family and friends.  But this blog is about seeing the goodness, celebrating the positive and looking for hope.  So this year I’ve made some awards in my garden – although not all positive, it’s true.  Opening the awards envelope, we have Most unsuccessful vegetable Sweetcorn – it somehow never got going this year and then I left it in the ground because it was so useless, but here it is … Continue reading Reclaiming paradise awards for 2016

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

On mud and not gardening

It’s been another no gardening weekend – away all day on Saturday and on Sunday the weather was foul foul foul – cold, wet, windy.  I’ve been reading everyone else’s blogs and you all seem to be sowing and planning and digging and doing stuff while nothing much at all is happening here. So I thought I’d better organise my seeds for the coming year. My first task was to sort out what was left from last year – so I got out my trusty seed box: It seems I’ve got quite a lot left over from last year and … Continue reading On mud and not gardening

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

Garden planning

It’s been another no gardening weekend so I thought I’d sort out my seed box. I made this from an old metal toolbox to hold all my seed packets.  You can buy these things from garden shops and catalogues but this one has my own decorations, cut from seed packets and garden magazines.  It holds all the seeds and keeps them dry and protected from any marauding creatures that might be passing through. The first task is to sort through the box and see what I have left over to sow this year, before making a new order from the seed catalogues.  My … Continue reading Garden planning

Christmas dinner from the garden

It’s always nice to have something from the garden on Christmas Day.  We’re away this year but have brought a supply of purple Brussels sprouts with us to contribute to the table. We could also have had the last tomato, ripened on a window sill some Swiss chard a chilli pepper perpetual spinach green tomato, crab apple, marrow or green plum chutney crab apple jelly or green tomato marmalade but that would have made rather an odd meal – so sprouts it has to be.  We can enjoy the chutney, chillis and spinach over the rest of the holidays .. and … Continue reading Christmas dinner from the garden

November gloom

November is always a grim time in the garden.  It is dark and cold but not yet cold enough to be proper winter.  The last of the vegetable and flowers seem to drag on but have lost the shine of the autumn  season.  There are probably things to be doing in the garden but time is against me this month.  So what to write about?  I thought I’d have a look at my November entries in my garden diary to see how previous years have looked through the November gloom. I started a proper garden diary when we moved to … Continue reading November gloom

Overheard in a garden shop

I was in London for a work related visit and thought I had better pay a visit to Kew Gardens.  I didn’t have very long to spend admiring the plants but here are a few thoughts.   I couldn’t resist this sign: Gardeners were hard at work cutting things back on the pergolas that surround the vegetable gardens.  Why was I in the vegetable gardens when there were 300 acres of rolling grassland, specialist planting and hothouses to look at?  Well I always prefer looking at vegetables and Kew has some impressive specimens even in November: I walked along the Thames … Continue reading Overheard in a garden shop