Tag Archives: Christmas

Make a bookworm’s Christmas!


And buy them a book; maybe one, two, or even three!

As well as being available on kindle, all of the books that you have seen develop here on the blog are also available in paperback. As the big day draws near, there may be one of them that you fancy getting for yourself or for the book worms in your life.

All being well, if you were to click on the covers below, the universe should send the books out just as the festivities kick off. If the books don’t make it to you before the 25th, then there are twelve additional days of Christmas where celebrations continue.

The first two books are most definitely an extension of the blog. Covering allotment adventures and what you can cook with everything that you might grow, ‘Playing with plant pots’ and ‘Sow, Grow and Eat’ make GYO less complicated and accessible for all.


Chillies and tomatoes, you can grow your own and look at the food you eat in an entirely different way. Be it on your kitchen window sill or in your garden. Growing your own fruit and vegetables need not be scary or complicated. This book contains learning experiences of a novice allotmenteer, Ideas as to what worked, what didn’t and what to do with too many courgettes. From first having an allotment, and not knowing what to do, to growing chillies that are some of the hottest in the world. Anecdotal evidence of success, failure and ideas to help make growing your own fruit and vegetables a little simpler. All of the details are real, that means influenced by rain, shine, slugs and snails. The details are honest, and aim to inform readers of how allotments are worth the hard work put in and will yield fruit that makes it all worthwhile.



If you ever wondered how to sow and grow chillies, or what might be useful to know when growing tomatoes and what happens when radishes go wrong, then you will need to have a look inside! Building on the experiences of ‘Playing with Plant Pots: Tales from the allotment’ there is more to be learned from the fruit and vegetable plot. With a few allotment plot staples revisited and others that you might not ordinarily think about, this second book also contains further recipes to be tried using plot fruit and vegetables. Growing your own fruit and vegetables is still uncomplicated and still an opportunity to create edible experiments. Within these pages there are jams, jellies, chutneys and infusions all just waiting for you to read about them and to create them in the comfort of your own kitchen.


Life starts and life ends. In between we form relationships and friendships. We have husbands, wives, sons, daughters and we mustn’t forget pets. Memories form that shape who we are and what we do. Only for death to cast it all askew. What we know becomes nothing by fragments, torn up and thrown to the winds. The Anands lose a wife and mother, Matthew is lost without his grandmother, Daniel loses the man he loved, Michael wonders about having children and Maya is a mother bereaved. Within are six inter-related stories explore what happens when the universe as we know it implodes and entirely. Grief is a journey to be travelled by them with emotions to be experienced as their lives are changed. Whilst they feel alone they are all connected and these are their stories. Family, friends and even our pets cannot escape when it comes to the footprint that is left by death.

‘Fragments’ is definitely not about gardening, but it’s genesis has most certainly be documented on the blog. Grief and bereavement are the sort of things that we might not discuss everyday, but are certainly part of the lives that we lead. I do hope that those who read it, will get as much out of it as much as I did in writing it.

Classroom experimentation

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I have long wanted my own teaching space; and having acquired one, wanted to ensure it has some Greenary in it. Adorning my window sills are Cactii. Christmas Cactii to be exact. Most of them, and there are 13, are what I term rescue cactii. Rescue in that at the beginning of term-September-I espied them in a local DIY store, looking a bit miserable, sorry for themselves and reduced to something like a pound each. I thought why not, these are cactii, they don’t need to be pampered. They should be okay. Besides, they flower; they could look pretty ugly in the right sort of way.

For a number of weeks, they sat happy and a few of them in fact flower. I think in total, three have flowered. Red and pink so far. And they have been stunning. The students have grown attached to them. In the picture above you see Bruce. Ain’t be pretty?

The cactii were allocated name by my 60 students. Each put a name on a ballot. They were drawn from a hat with random allocation.

The psych room cactii are

Nelson Thorne
Cactus Jack

As indicated before, a few have flowered. With only a few more weeks left, I do wonder about the rest! Here’s hoping.

And! One last thing. The ponsietta. I normally have flowers on my desk. Once small bunch over a fortnight. The horror today, when they weren’t there! It took a whole for the bright red plant to register. “That’s not reall!” Were the cries from the classes. It is, and hopefully it will stay real. The premise being to keep it past Christmas.

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural hobbit