The Chickens and The Egg

Today was a milestone in my little world of allotment chicken keeping. We’ve gone full circle, my girls and I – from egg to egg.


Regular readers of this blog may remember that when Itchy, the last of my ex-battery hens, started looking a bit peaky back in the spring, it coincided with a very determined spell of broodiness from Marian, my gorgeous Black Rock. So, doing the maths (one about …Read More


Grow something different… 10 quirky bulbs to plant now

Why not try something fantastical and new this year? There are hundreds of weird and wonderful bulbs out there, from the mad-looking Sicilian honey garlic (whose bell flowers turn to rockets as they mature), to the pouting, sinister ‘Papilio’ amaryllis with its strange greenish flowers streaked in darkest maroon. Everyday yellow daffs and red tulips move aside!

1) Sicilian honey garlic  – related to the blue globe allium below, the weirdly-named …Read More


Are bulbs boring?



I’ve been gripped by bulb fever this autumn, buying packets of dwarf daffodils, tulips, iris etc as if they were going out of fashion. I’m determined that come springtime, I won’t regret being stingy back in the autumn – and end up buying pots of bulbs in flower at a much greater cost than purchasing dry bulbs in the autumn.


But there’s a problem with bulbs… there won’t be anything much …Read More


Springing into autumn

A warm summer’s evening might seem a weird time to be thinking about spring, but as anyone who’s been to any DIY store or garden centre recently will know, it’s bulb time again. Like mushrooms after the rain, racks of packets, covered in gaudy pictures, suddenly sprout on the shelves, and the soft thud of the Bakker.com bulb catalogue on the doormat heralds a change in the pace of the …Read More


The super fruits

They’re easy to grow, they’re incredibly good for you…. and yet hardly any of us grow them. When you think about the many other useful qualities of red, white and blackcurrants (such as the fact that they give enormous crops and they’re among the few fruit bushes to tolerate shade), this obscurity becomes all the more perplexing.


Certainly, if you do the maths, they are well worth growing. An established redcurrant …Read More

Chandelier in situ

Clever ideas to light your garden at night

Warm summer evenings are what many gardeners live for. It’s time to kick back, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labours. This thought struck me last night as I sat out with a glass of wine at as the sun set, lent back and was gently assaulted by the wayward branches of my tobacco plants. Their ivory-white blooms shone in the dusk, and their fragrance stopped me in my …Read More

1 Honey bee on lavender at The Green Backyard

It’s Bees’ Needs Week!

Our gardens are full of small miracles. The billions of tiny organisms in every teaspoon of soil that are the difference between a fertile tilth and sterile dust. The joyful, tumbling swifts and swallows that somehow fly here every summer from thousands of miles away in Africa. The wonderful feeling you get from smelling that first cut of the lawn on a warm day in spring, each time as good …Read More

Climbing hydrangea

The Marmite plant

Hydrangeas: love them or loathe them? Not always an easy question for me to answer. The very word conjures up images of fusty pom-poms of flowers in a dirty, granny-knicker pink. But recently I’ve begun to see one hydrangea in particular in a new light…

When I moved into my new house back last August, there were just two plants in the garden. One was an enormous dicentra (bleeding heart, now …Read More

Let parsley flower and it attracts many insects

The scent of summer

It’s a wet and windy night – big fat raindrops are lashing the steamy kitchen windows as the last of May’s delicate flowers are swung wildly to and fro in the looming dusk. No idyllic sunlit shots of the allotment for Instagram tonight.
It’s the kind of weather that makes me want comfort food. For me, when I need to make something from the cupboard and not set a foot outside, …Read More