Welcome to my garden. Have a drink but don't sit just yet - I'm going to show you things.

We're on the roof just north of Berlin's city centre, ten minutes' walk from where the Wall once stood.
This is the first place I go to in the morning - I take a wander around in the morning while brushing my teeth, and often end up engrossed in a job while still in my pyjamas.

The plants I have brought here grow in pots - from the apple tree to the delicate curry plant. Others have emerged independently in the muddy spaces I leave between containers, and in the cracks between the paving stones.
I use the garden as a place for drawn-out dinners, lovely lunches and pots of tea and chatting. Since I started bringing plants here in 2011, it has also become a haven for birds and insects, and a hunting ground for bats.

It's my favourite place.

I enjoy decorative flowers, but try not to let them distract me from the more interesting concept of growing stuff to eat.
Sowing seeds and seeing what emerges is really exciting - yet I also find a hugely gratifying steadiness in trees and perennials.
Here you can read about what I try, how it works or fails - and what there might be to learn from the results.
Have fun exploring, use the subject tags to find stories which are related.
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Recent Articles

Fri, 22/05/2015 - 16:28

Gorgeous, isn't it? This is phacelia. It needs no care or attention. I chucked some seeds in a couple of years ago, and it's self-seeding like crazy, all the way through the composting process. It's just about to reach the height of its flowering now - and the bees are going mental for it.

Trouble is, there's a huge patch in the big container that I'm going to use for tomatoes. I'd like to leave it there for another couple of weeks so the bees can get the most from it. But the tomatoes are ready to go out and get on with it. So I'm going to have to tear up the phacelia and stick them in. Otherwise the whole place is going to become a wildflower meadow.

As a bonus there are a couple of big borage plants which have also self-seeded - they're already there waiting for the tomato plants.
It's filled another container too, which I'm going to use for beans - which I will plant at the back, enabling the phacelia to finish before I take it up. And it's providing a gorgeous addition to a container of bluebells.

Fri, 24/04/2015 - 11:26

I'm falling in love with the garden all over again. I was so busy with other things during the autumn and didn't give it the attention it deserved. Despite this, it is doing stuff every day which make me grin.

It's the fruit more than anything that's really exciting. The plum tree, which I was going to prune, but didn't, has been absolutely magnificent.

The little cherry tree is still small and young, but it's put on a load of growth since last year - could it produce its first fruit this summer?

Sun, 07/09/2014 - 21:17

I feed the birds here. There is a rambunctious pair of great-tits, and a couple of perky little blue-tits as well as a gang of sparrows who regularly visit. I tend to feed them mixed seeds, some of which they like more than others. I stick to the mix because it's the same stuff I feed to my little brown mice (they're in a cage, it's a long story). Here are some just chilling.

So the birds chuck out the bits of hard corn, which make me double over when I step on them with bare feet - and in fact the mice reject it too, no point in it being there really. Sometimes the birds drop the sunflower seeds they really like too - in fact they're pretty messy in general. So each year I get sunflowers in various pots and containers. I like it. This year I had a multi-headed humdinger.

The bees absolutely love it.

Fri, 01/08/2014 - 10:18

They're starting to ripen: The tomatoes are here! And despite all my promises last year to concentrate just on a few and do them properly, there is enough reassuring chaos so I don't mistake the garden as the creation of someone else.

The chocolate stripe toms are the real biggies, they've been putting on mass for several weeks now, with those weird shapes which speak to heritage seeds.

One giant was so heavy I had to rig up a sling. It's putting on some colour and I'm going to eat it in the next couple of days - I find if you take these ones a little early, you avoid getting any of the floury texture which I really don't like.

Sun, 27/07/2014 - 20:14

The plums turned out wonderfully - all the ones with maggots during the spring must have fallen off, leaving loads and loads of delicious plums. I was picking about ten a day. And they were really delicious.

Sadly they're all gone - into my tummy and the tummies of my friends. Plum trees are notoriously strong growers, and this one is meeting that reputation, bulking out nicely. I'll give it a prune (no pun intended) in the winter, and look forward to a million plums next year too.

The raspberries were also very productive - and were pretty much done a few weeks ago. Now more are popping up, which is very exciting. The strawberries are also giving it another shot which is very gratifying.

Sun, 20/07/2014 - 21:00

Things smell decidedly rural around here. I've been planting up some new gardens elsewhere over the last few months - and it's amazing how fast things there turned from little seedlings into giants. The common factor - fresh compost with (organic) fertiliser in it. I decided to get my shit together. This is what I found.

It's cow dung basically, dried and made into pellets. It does smell a little rural even when dry. But I figured it would become effective more quickly if I soaked it in water. So I did several buckets full - and it became like a kind of mash. Which I top-dressed most things with - the tomatoes and apple, even though they look great - as well as everything which looked a little peaky.

It smells a little barnyard-y around here, but I think that probably has to be a good thing - although possibly somewhat puzzling to the neighbours here in central Berlin....