Take Comfrey

‘Knitbone’, ‘bruisewort’, ‘boneset’ and ‘knit back’; these are just some of the folk names given to Comfrey, hinting at its long history as a medicinal herb. It was widely used to promote the healing of wounds and fractures, hence its common name, which is a corruption of the Latin ‘con firma’, alluding to the plant’s ability to…

A veg plot in an hour (or two)

Oh how I envy all those allotment bloggers out there who have dug over large symmetrical beds ready to sow this year’s goodies. Although I dream of one day joining their hallowed ranks, this year I have neither the space nor time. My bog roll broad beans have been sitting on the kitchen windowsill growing leggier…

Shed heaven

Now that Spring is here it will soon be time for a job we have been putting off all winter: clearing out the shed. We have a large, but extremely tumbledown shed at the end of our garden. When we moved in, it was already a quarter full with detritus left by previous occupants, old…

Zippedy-doo-da

My oh my what a beautiful day.    Spring has sprung and this year it is extra sweet because it is our first in our new garden. Every time a plant comes into flower it feels like a gift: purple crocuses, cheery narcissi, heavenly hellebores, pretty snowdrops, zingy Mahonia zipping through the fig tree, bright…

The first cut is the sweetest

It’s Harry Potter mania in our house at the moment. Little Weed#1 and Middle Weed can’t get enough of all things Hogwarts and for a while I thought that was why I had selected a variety of sweet pea called ‘Nimbus’ this year (after Harry’s broomstick, the Nimbus 2000). Then I remembered visiting the Gold…

Front garden flâneur

I have a confession to make: I am a front garden flâneur. That’s the fancy French term for it, you may prefer the plain English nosy parker. It comes from the best part of a decade spent pushing a buggy along urban streets, trying to soothe a baby or toddler to sleep, or merely escaping…

Bog roll beans

What to do with all those toilet roll tubes? As a family of five we produce a lot of them, so I have been meaning to re-use them as biodegradable seed pots for some time, and this weekend I finally got round to it. The first step was to clean out my mini-outdoor greenhouse after…

Seedy weekends

So far February has been a month of work deadlines and half term (aaaagh) limiting my ability to get going in the garden. But my appetite has been whetted by the appearance of a solitary flower on one of the three hellebores I planted last autumn;  By palest purple crocuses appearing in the lawn behind…

Garden bites #1

Like most of us I have many competing demands on my time and often I can only get out into the garden for half an hour or so. But those half hours soon add up. If you single out one task and complete it, you can get a great deal of satisfaction. This weekend in…

Bohemian Rhapsody

This week my mum and I went to see the novelist Charlotte Mendelson talking about her new non-fiction book about her tiny North London garden, Rhapsody In Green, to the Lewes Literary Society. Charlotte was warm, exuberant and funny, making fun of her own ‘pre-war vowels’, and made me feel a lot better about my…

Baby it’s cold outside

Some photos from our winter garden on a misty frosty morning when Spring still feels a long way off.

A real family garden

It is the beginning of January and our garden is looking a bit sorry for itself. In the flower beds, weeds are poking through last year’s dying vegetation. The lawn is scrubby and half covered with a giant trampoline. Our soon to be veg patch is a favourite toilet spot for next-doors’ cats. In our…