My name is Joanna, and I am a gardener, writer, photographer and blogger living in a traditional Edinburgh tenement flat with my husband (whom I refer to as The Brazilian when he occasionally appears in this blog). I write mainly about the development of our tenement gardens, which were in poor condition when we first moved here (see The Gardens for the full story). I also write about visits to other people’s gardens and gardening events, and about gardening techniques, garden toolery, and general garden tomfoolery.
I aim to update Edinburgh Garden Diary about once a week, and I am also very active on Instagram.
I love hearing from my readers and try to reply to every comment I receive, so please do get in touch in the comments box below any of my blog posts if you have something to say, or just want to say hello. If you prefer, you can also contact me by direct email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I am always happy to consider taking part in reviews, articles and guest posts (writing or hosting).
A smattering of history, philosophy, geography, and economics
We moved here from London in the summer of 2013. I wasn’t a gardener when I lived in London. In London, ordinary people in their twenties and thirties on an average salary can no longer expect to have a garden. We certainly didn’t have a garden where we lived, up on the second floor in a small block of flats. Not even the people on the ground floor had a garden. There was a nearby park, but it’s not the same thing; it’s not even a similar thing.
Without a garden in London, I didn’t know what I was missing. When we moved to Edinburgh, we rented a ground-floor tenement flat near the city centre that had a small garden at the front and a communal ‘back green’ behind. I had no idea what to do with them, but hesitantly began to learn and experiment: some weeding here, pruning there, seed-sowing here. In doing so, I discovered that the one thing that could most improve the quality of any living quarters, the one thing I had wanted all along without knowing it, was a garden. Then we started looking for a place to buy. The Brazilian wanted to view some upstairs garden-less flats, but by then I knew that a garden-less future was unthinkable. In November 2014, after a hard search, we were finally fortunate to take possession of another ground-floor tenement flat, with front garden and communal back green, both in poor condition.
It is remarkable how important these small portions of roofless earth are to to humankind; how caring for a few feet of your own soil can exalt your soul to the higher realms of serenity and satisfaction. I don’t mean self-satisfaction, or caring what the neighbours think. It is to do with what you think of yourself, with self-respect, and with privacy, creativity, and our human need to dig our fingers in to the black soil and put down roots just as the plants do.