My name is Joanna, and I am a gardener, writer, photographer and blogger living in a traditional Edinburgh tenement flat with my husband. I write mainly about the development of our tenement gardens, which were in poor condition when we first moved here (see The Garden). I also write about cutting flowers from the garden, changing the way I garden (such as reducing my use of plastic), and my visits to other people’s gardens,
I aim to update Edinburgh Garden Diary about once a week, although it has necessarily and temporarily taken a back seat as I study for my RHS Level 2 exams in 2017-8, 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 email@example.com. I am always happy to consider taking part in comissions, reviews, articles and guest blog posts.
How I came to gardening
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, and becoming a gardener never entered my head at all. However, when we moved to Edinburgh, we rented a ground-floor tenement flat near the city centre that happened to have a small garden at the front and rear, the latter opening onto a typical communal ‘back green’ behind. I had no idea what to do with my new gardens, 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. My husband wanted to view some upstairs garden-less flats (they had better light, he said with some truth), but by this time buying a flat without a garden was unthinkable to me. After a hard search, we were finally fortunate to take possession of another ground-floor tenement flat in November 2014. It had a front garden and communal back green, both in poor condition, and I relished the task of bringing them into life.
It is remarkable how important these small portions of roofless earth are to humankind; how caring for a few feet of your own soil can exalt your soul to the highest 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.