It is that time of year when the media are full of the great and the good babbling incoherently over bits of bling awarded by their peers for “achievement”, whether lifetime or transitory, in their industry. You may be relieved to know that I intend to act like a Nobel Laureate rather than a D list celeb and will not be prattling my thanks to everyone from Postman Pat to Saint Jude (the patron saint of lost causes and desperate cases) when accepting my blogging award from Julie.
In the past I have refused blogging awards, but this time I decided it was perhaps churlish to decline even politely; after all they are awards from fellow bloggers and expressions of appreciation. I’m a little too remote to go in the “Yellow Book” so my garden appreciates virtual visitors and I gain so much from having a chat over the garden wall about everything from plants to philosophy.
According to the rules I have to link to and thank my nominator and then answer 11 questions. Then select 5 blogs I’d like to share and ask my nominees 11 questions. Choosing young blogs with less than 200 followers is recommended.
So here are my answers to Julie’s questions:
1. Do you encourage wildlife to your garden?
Yes, I do everything I can to attract insects, especially pollinators, and birds to the garden. Rabbits are tolerated, as are voles and mice as long as they keep out of the polytunnel.
2. Do you grow organically and use natural methods?
We use organic fertilisers, make our own compost and don’t use pesticides.
3. Any tips for recycling plastic?
I use plastic cartons for seed trays and for storing odds and ends in the shed and polytunnel.
4. Any recommendations for flowers to arrange in your home?
I’m not much of a flower arranger, more of a simple posy in a jam jar type. Sweet peas are a great favourite as are spring bulbs especially daffodils and grape hyacinths (Muscari)
5. Have you tried edible flowers?
I use nasturtium, chives, borage and violas in salads. it is probably cheating, but my favourite are courgette flowers.
6. A favourite fruit recipe?
This is difficult, but it has to be a rhubarb crumble with stem ginger and a very oaty crunchy topping, served with thick yoghurt.
7. A favourite vegetable recipe?
Anything that includes lots of wild mushrooms or something simple such as some freshly picked very juicy tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and some basil or….. I could go on and never finally decide.
8. Do you like to create anything other than flower arrangements using natural materials?
I’m an enthusiastic beachcomber, so around the garden and in the house there are arrangements of interesting stones, shells, bones, drift wood and anything else that takes my fancy.
9. How do you feel about growing natives or non natives?
I grow native plants, cultivars derived from natives and non-natives too. The growing conditions are quite challenging in the Outer Hebrides so I have a limited choice of plants which will tolerate the climate and soil. So alongside the British natives, there are plants from South Africa and New Zealand. I would encourage everyone to grow some native plants for the insects, but otherwise grow what you like as long as you ensure it doesn’t escape over the garden wall.
10. Any recommendations for an unusual fruit or vegetable that is good to eat?
We have grown Cape gooseberries Physalis peruviana in the polytunnel. The flowers are beautiful and the fruit is delicious.
11. Do you have a good view from your home?
The view from the house is stunning – a panoramic seascape, with the islands of Barra and Mingulay to the far south and St Kilda and the Monachs to the north west. To the east there are the hills of South Uist (Beinn Mhor and Hecla) and the Cuillins of Skye (on a fine day).
Choosing five other people to nominate is very difficult, some of my favourite blogs have been nominated fairly recently and others would prefer not to be nominated. I could list every blog I follow and more whose posts I read from time to time. So I’d like to nominate:
Welsh Hills Again
The Hopeful Herbalist
The Garden Deli
Edinburgh Garden Diary
If you are devastated about being excluded, send me an e-mail and I’ll slip you in the edited version. It will be our secret, I won’t tell the others, promise.
You may, of course, curse me roundly and then sweetly or politely (or not) decline or just ignore me. I promise I won’t be heart broken, grief stricken or even faintly miffed, well may be just a bit.
So here are my 11 questions which you may answer in our own style:
1. How would you describe your gardening style?
2. Who or what has influenced the design of your garden?
3. Is this your first garden or just the latest in a long line?
4. Do you fall into temptation every time a gardening catalogue lands on the mat?
5. Are you seduced by the glossing pictures in magazines or books and then despair at your own efforts?
6. Do you wear gardening gloves, carry a trug or wear designer wellies?
7. What is your favourite gardening task, apart from sitting on the bench with a cuppa?
8. Do you have a “wish list” of plants or just get carried away when you see something new?
9. Do you propagate your own plants?
10. Do you try to grow something new each year?
11. Why do you read gardening blogs?
So over to you and if you decide to participate – have fun with the questions, and thank you for reading to the end.