Growing Health Practice Therapy Wilderness


Over the past few years I have frequently agonised over what to do with snails in my tiny garden. I’ve gone as far as airlifting them to local parks.

It’s been a tremendous weight off my conscience to realise that I don’t have to tolerate them. Consequently when I discover snails, like this one in a nightly sortie, I throw them away.

I’m happy to welcome cats, birds, flies, caterpillars, wasps, weeds, and all manner of bugs. But not snails, they can fuck off.

Ecology Growing Practice Urban

Blue Pots

I was on my daily cycle which takes me over London Bridge, behind Tate Modern, and (walking) back over the Millennium Bridge. In the old days I would often go and see Luke and Edmund at their poetry shack by the river. In a skip beside one of the new developments that are going up that are the subject of litigation I saw a huge selection of plastic plant pots that were being thrown away.

Because it was fenced in I was unable to clamber in myself but a guard very kindly hooked out some for me. I took as many as I could carry with me on a bicycle. The process reminded me a little of collecting the wood for the forms sculptures. I saw from a sticker that the blue pots I liked had been part of an order of eighty Pinus Mugo Pumlio. These dwarf pines must have been for making little bushes or summat.

Here they are stacked up on a bench by The Tate. They cleaned up very nicely back at home. Can’t have nice plastic pots going to waste!

Community Ecology Practice Urban Wilderness

Walden Comic

A comic from 1997. Walden has since been turned into a graphic novel.

Ecology Growing Practice Urban Wilderness

Cow Parsley

It’s interesting cultivating weeds. These plants are robust and want to grow where you find them. There’s a lot to recommend them.

Cow Parsley is on my mind because, just this morning, I planted some that I collected at the Tibetan Buddhist Monastery Samye Ling in the borders of Scotland. You can see a clump of it, white heads, just to the left of the gate in the picture of Tara above.

Cow Parsley is one of the very few plants I could actually name that I remember from the hedgerows of Gloucestershire and my childhood. Apparently it’s from the same family of plants as carrots; and if carrots cross-pollinate with it they can “regress”.

The seeds are satisfyingly large. I like large seeds.

I’ve planted them in a module tray. I tucked them in a bit after I took this photo. Very interested in seeing how they prosper on Old Street and whether the insects like them.

Community Growing Practice Urban

Guerilla Monkey Puzzle

In a recent post I mentioned a Monkey Puzzle tree I had planted locally. By chance I came across a photo I took of it twenty years ago. It’s subsequently been cut down.

Agriculture Community Ecology Food Growing Health Organic Practice Soil


Not my veg innit.

These filthy herbicides get stuck in the food chain and won’t decay.

I first came across them through Charles Dowding who explained how his own compost was exposed. He had used the manure of cattle which had eaten crops which had been sprayed with them. Vegetables that had been grown on the compost were horribly stunted.

Please take a moment to sign this petition to hasten their ban.

Community Growing Practice Urban

Guerrilla Camellia

How it looked freshly planted in 2002.

I planted this Japanese Camellia in the leisure centre flowerbeds in 2002. It was a gift from my father-in-law which I didn’t have a pot large enough for. For many years it was dwarfed by the trees and bushes around it. I was sure I was going to be rumbled and the council were going to cut it down. That never happened thankfully. In the intervening years I’ve composted around its base occasionally.

These days, twenty one years later, it’s absolutely massive. It has really thrived. And this time of year, at the end of February, it flowers. It’s very pretty though sadly the petals go brown and it starts to look a right mess. Requires me to dead-head it.

It’s like a flipping tree trunk.

The Monkey Puzzle Tree I planted at the same time didn’t fare so well. Where I put it it had almost no light and it got choked by other hardier bushes. It looked pretty terrible by the time it was cut down.