10 Tips for Attracting Wildlife

Gardens, even small ones or indeed any greenery, can provide a much appreciated habitat for wildlife, particularly in our increasingly urbanised living spaces.  Whatever planting you have is likely to harbour some of the creatures with which we share our planet.  However, there are a number of initiatives that can be applied in outdoor spaces which can really enhance the environment and attract a wide range of wildlife to the doorstep of our homes.  This blog provides an overview of 10 ideas for supporting wildlife in gardens and other outdoor spaces. Continue reading

Allotment Harvest 2017: the winners and losers

During 2017 I took part in a research project being conducted by staff at University of Sheffield, under the banner of MY Harvest, into the impact of home grown produce on UK food production.  The project involved enlisting domestic gardeners who grow their own fruit and vegetables, either on an allotment or at home, to submit data about their crop yields throughout the year.  This blog post is about what the data for my own plot has revealed about this year’s harvest and has been written in conjunction with Datawoj (otherwise known as my husband!) who did some snazzy data visualisation for me. Continue reading

Making the most of small outdoor spaces

Gardening magazines and programmes often depict gardening in expansive country settings where all manner of styles and features can be accommodated.  However for many people living in towns and cities outdoor space is at a premium, sometimes awkwardly shaped, and often enclosed with extremes of sun or shade.  Much as I love visiting and reading about beautiful gardens in impressive estates, there is something fascinating about the challenge of accommodating greenery in much more limited spaces.  This blog focusses on ways to make the most of small outdoor spaces. Continue reading

Allotments: what is their role in the 21st Century?

We have had an allotment for the past 5 years.  As well as enjoying the fruits of our labour in terms of the produce we have grown, I have also been an active member of the allotment colony’s association committee which has provided some insight into the issues associated with managing an allotment site.  This blog is a reflection on the role of allotments in modern life and why, in my view, they continue to be an important feature of our national culture in the UK.


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New Planting Scheme: Part 1

After almost a decade in our current home, in which modifications to the permanent planting have happened in piecemeal fashion, I have decided that the time has come to take a more planned approach.  This blog is about what’s wrong with the current planting (in my view) and what I hope to achieve by redesigning it (if I ever get the chance!). Continue reading

Container Gardening: Autumn 2017

For many people gardening in small urban spaces, containers will almost certainly form a key part of their planting space, and may be the only option if there is no open ground available.  In my own garden I have two small beds either side of a paved area but I have always supplemented these with the use of containers to provide an opportunity for temporary planting including edibles and seasonal displays.  This blog post is focussed on some recent Autumn planting I have undertaken in my own garden. Continue reading

Up on the Roof: a visit to the Barbican Beech Gardens

A few weeks ago while in London for the weekend, primarily to watch the World Athletics Championships at the Olympic Stadium, I took the chance to make a pilgrimage to see the Beech Gardens at the Barbican Estate, which have recently been redesigned by Nigel Dunnett. Continue reading

Introducing Green City Gardens

In the beginning …

Gardening has become a really significant part of my life.  It started many years ago with some tomatoes in a grow-bag and a few pots of bedding plants dotted around and has developed to the point that I now have a pretty productive allotment where I grow quite a range of edibles, as well as a small but cherished domestic garden. The common theme throughout is that, having lived my adult life in a city, the gardening has always been confined to small, enclosed spaces. Indeed this is probably the experience of the vast majority of human beings given that we mainly live in densely populated towns and cities; not the rolling acreages depicted in many a gardening magazine.  So for a fair while now I have been fostering an interest in the innovative approaches being taken to ‘greening’ urban spaces, and have decided to start this blog as a vehicle for capturing my own learning, observations and attempts at applying these things in real life. Continue reading