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By: Kate | May 10, 2017

The dream of every gardener is to have a garden that is thriving. A garden bursting with life, full of vigorous new growth, flowering and fruiting prolifically. Oh the joy of it!

However every gardener also comes, at some point, into a screeching collision with the real-life challenges of keeping a garden. Adverse weather, prolonged dry spells, insidious diseases and swarms of pests can all wreak havoc on our poor charges. Our own absence from the garden, whether due to physical ailments, competing demands or holidays, can also see our plants deprived of the care they need. At some points the best we can manage is a garden that is surviving.

Category: Garden 


By: Kate | March 27, 2016

Victory! Our first home-grown avocado. We planted two avocado trees around 10 years ago, and for the past 5 years we have had the promise of a good crop but no final result. Much of the blame is mine; every year I tell myself that this year I will net the flowers to prevent them being devoured by voracious possums...and yet never seem to get around to it (a common Delusion of Gardener). Last year we actually had quite a number of large fruit on the tree, and in a burst of enthusiasm my husband harvested the lot in one swoop. We watched, heart-broken, as they shrivelled rather then ripened on the kitchen bench. This year we decided not to repeat this mistake, so rather than watch the entire crop shrivel in one go, we watched them shrivel on...

Category: Garden 

Tags: Avocado Mango 

By: Kate | February 08, 2016

In my first-ever blog post I wrote about my excitement at discovering flowers on my olive tree, 8 years after I had planted it. Well, today I harvested a massive haul of...25 olives! Not huge, I admit, but enough for my first-ever attempt at pickling the little darlings. In a way, I'm glad it will be a small experiment. How heart-breaking would it be to transform a bumper crop into a bumper mould-ridden / mouth-puckering / jar-shattering disaster? 

Category: Garden 

Tags: Olives 

By: Kate | November 23, 2015

If you are a keen gardener, you don't need me to tell you that gardening can lift your spirits. And there is research to back us up; the UK magazine Gardeners World polled 1,500 adults and found that 80 per cent of gardeners feel satisfied with their lives compared with 67 per cent of non-gardeners. Interestingly, there is growing evidence that gardening may have a positive effect in reducing depression. Of course depression is a complex condition and there is never going to be one magic cure that works for everyone, but with the rates of depression increasing it is worth considering any approaches that can offer some relief.  

Read more here.

Category: Garden 

Tags: Depression 

By: Kate | October 11, 2015

"Why are you planting okra? We don't eat okra"
"But it grows well in our climate'
"But we don't eat okra."
'Well, we might ..."

Over the years I've had many such conversations with my husband. After paying a huge sum of money for our little block of land, I was determined that every plant would have to earn its keep, installing only useful plants and harbouring fantasies of self-sufficiency (I blame too many episodes of The Good Life as a child). 

Of course, we never ate the okra. Or the tamarillos. Or the Brazilian cherries (it turns out there are two definitions of edible plants: 1. good to eat  2. not actually poisonous. The Brazilian cherries were number 2. Disgusting!)

The evolution of my garden has been marked ...

Category: Garden 


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