Hi, thanks for visiting the blog. I’m a garden designer, writer, community garden volunteer, enthusiastic home gardener, gluten free cook and mum to two budding growers. I’m based in the east of England.
I love growing fruit, vegetable and herbs (especially more unusual crops like oca, honeyberries, fat baby achocha, tree chillies and lots of interestingly coloured vegetables and fruit) and generally pack more into my fairly small garden than perhaps is entirely sensible. If only my recurring dream where I find an extra section of allotment-like space at the bottom of the garden were true! In the past I’ve grown crops in a friend’s garden to help her manage an area she couldn’t cope with alone, but a house move ended this mutually beneficial arrangement. So I’ve been on the hunt for more land to cultivate and have just taken on my first allotment.
I love cooking with food from the garden, allotment and hedgerows. I’ve been foraging for ingredients since I was a child and have wonderful memories of scouring the Welsh lanes and mountains for hazelnuts, blackberries and bilberries. I was diagnosed with coeliac disease five years ago and now run a gluten free kitchen. I enjoy creating savoury dishes like soups and pies and have spent many hours practising baking gluten free cakes, biscuits and puddings for all the family.
In my work, I enjoy creating multi-functional garden spaces – where beauty and utility combine. Gardens have to fulfil so many roles these days: children’s play areas (in today’s world most unsupervised outside play happens in the garden), beautiful planting, relaxation areas, space to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs for the kitchen, wildlife haven… the list continues. So I love exploring ways in which gardens, of all sizes, combine these factors.
At the moment in my own garden I’m experimenting with a green roof, willow den, apple espaliers underplanted with herbs, a pollinator garden and an ornamental front garden which also provides food – for example, from the Chilean guava front hedge (a edible box hedge alternative) or the fuchsias with edible berries. In the near future I’m planning a mini turf ‘hill’ for the kids and some experiments with astroturf – under the swings, alongside, no doubt, more crazy schemes in the future. Some plans are more successful than others, but I reckon the best way to learn is to try it yourself and see…
I’ve also started writing as a guest blogger recently. If you’d like to read one of my guest blogs on My Secret Garden – it can be found on Emma Cooper’s fascinating blog at The Unconventional Gardener. I also write for the Grow-It blog.
Happy gardening 🙂
PS. I love growing dogwoods (primarily Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’, Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramea’ and Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’) for their beauty and colour – especially at time when many other plants are sleeping. Hence the name of my blog 🙂
If you’d like to follow me as I grow my own, explore new plants, attract wildlife to the garden and create an outdoor space for family and friends to enjoy, please subscribe here: