If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need*

A good book has no ending.  ~R.D. Cumming

I love to lose myself in a good book and my favourite place to read is curled up in the garden chair with lots of cushions and a glass of something cold or a mug of something hot.

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I love reading about gardening almost as much as I enjoy reading in the garden and one of the first gardening books I ever bought was ‘A Garden of Herbs’ {traditional uses of herbs in Scotland} by Agnes Walker.

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Herbs are so easy to grow and quickly add colour and scent to any garden not to mention flavour to any meal and what would a mojito be without the mint?

You don’t need a massive garden to grow herbs they can easily be grown in pots on the kitchen windowsill or on a balcony. You can grow a single herb in an old tin can or plant an entire herb garden in a hanging basket. This lovely little book has chapters on traditional medicine, the culinary use of herbs, aromatic and cosmetic uses of herbs and herbs that were used for dye.

It was in this book that I learned of the hereditary Scottish medical practitioners, the MacBeaths {Beatons}. Tradition has it that every monarch from David I {1124 – 1153} to King James VI {1567 – 1625} had a Beaton doctor. From a gardening perspective that’s a lot of useless information but as a former nurse I found it very interesting.

My second favourite gardening book widens the culinary use of the garden from herbs to everything else…

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Following my success with herbs my ambition grew and I decided that I wanted to grow an entire pot of soup, the onions, the carrots, the swede and the parsnip, the whole lot. So far I have yet to achieve that ambition, I became sidetracked by fruit as the raspberries grew rampant and the strawberry fields threatened to take over forever.

Alys Fowlers book ‘The Edible Garden’ {how to have your garden and eat it} is easy to read, informative and inspirational and maybe this year I will grow a pot of soup.

My third and final gardening book of choice is a heavyweight, an encyclopaedia of plants. If {like me} you don’t have years of high level horticultural studies under your belt a good encyclopaedia is invaluable.

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Given a book voucher for Christmas one year I invested in this good solid reference book. If you’re looking for a climber it has a section on that, if you need tips on lawn care there’s a section for that and if water gardening is your thing there’s a section for that too. In fact there’s a section for any type of plant or gardening you care to mention and if like me you inherit unidentified plants from a previous occupant of the garden there’s a handy plant identifier.

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So even when it’s dark and dreary or tipping with rain I can curl up on the sofa {my second favourite place to read} with a glass of something cold or a mug of something hot and lose myself in the garden.

And like a good book a good garden has no ending…

To be continued

*Cicero

The Chair of Quiet Contemplation

contemplation

  • deep reflective thought
  • the state of being considered or planned
  • meditation
  • a form of meditation in which a person seeks to pass beyond mental images and concepts to a direct experience of the divine.

The most important item of gardening equipment is the garden chair. Before any plants can be planted many hours must be spent in quiet contemplation.
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After planting many more hours must be spent in awe and admiration. In between contemplation and admiration yet more hours still must be spent reading…or eating…or entertaining.
tah dah
Oh yes the garden chair is the most important item of equipment therefore it is essential that this is the first matter to be addressed when developing a garden. 
before
The chair itself need not be new and needn’t even be a chair. A bench works just as well and a swing is simply divine.
after
‘French doors lead onto patio area’ said the estate agent. Patio?
Estate agents clearly have a different definition of ‘patio’ but shabby chic works for me and I can work with the old foundations of outbuildings that form the ‘patio area’.
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Simply add summer, cushions and a good book for the perfect day…or autumn, cosy blankets, logs and marshmallows for a lovely evening.

Zen and the Art of Gardening

Is it a sin to covet a Buddha?

When my son was in high school he worked part-time in a local garden centre, a proper garden centre not one of those gaudy chain stores selling a lifestyle. As a member of staff he was given a discount on all purchases but even with that discount the Buddha was still way out of my price reach.

Panic buy.

Every visit to the centre I admired him and when my son left for university {knowing that I would lose the discount} I panicked and reached a bit further!

And I am so glad I did as he has graced every garden that we have shared….

Bluebell Buddha

bluebell buddha

Welcome to our allotment

welcome to our allotment

Buddha’s new spot

buddha

For me gardening is Zen, an exercise in mindfulness. As I work I slowly shed all external distractions as I become absorbed by the garden. Exercise with a purpose it is beneficial for mind, body and soul. Everyone should have a garden.