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Wendy Shillam
An urbanist by profession and a lover of city living by temperament.
Interests: Coffee in any square or friendly coffee shop, eco-living, DIY, vegetable growing on my roof garden, cooking for friends, I write fiction as a serious hobby, Out and about I love walking, sailing, sightseeing, Give me a sunny beach and a thick paperback and I'm a happy sandgirl.
Recent Activity
Autumn sowing. Winter harvest. Greens, lettuces, mizuna, spinach, lambs lettuce, mache Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2014 at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
Courgette Tromboncino d'Albegna Distinguished; respected; eminent; venerable. What a word is august? But its reputation as a month, for being the height of summer is not really so well deserved. In Britain, August Bank Holiday is associated with sultry days, picnics destroyed by squalls, children sheltering from rain under beach umbrellas and not a ray of sunshine. This year we’ve had a noticeable decline in temperatures. Sometimes the mornings have been clear and warm, then by lunchtime clouds waft in. But in spite of these showers, I’ve needed to keep watering. This rain doesn’t soak in, instead it sizzles on the hot decking and evaporates up into the clouds again, ready to pour down on some other unsuspecting souls. The heat of the city, billowing upwards, creates huge thunder clouds. Another August Bank Holiday nightmare. It seems that this year we’ve been affected by something called the Spanish Flume. Hot... Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2014 at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
What to do with a glut and why the hygiene police musts put you off bottling and canning. Preserving strawberries, tomatoes and peppers. Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2014 at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
Well said Julieanne. Let it be our secret!
Toggle Commented Jul 20, 2014 on Eat my Garden! at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
We all try to create our own little piece of Heaven don't we?
Toggle Commented Jul 16, 2014 on Of Bugs and Beans at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
High summer, beans, French Beans Cosse violette, Wineberry. Pollination of runner beans. Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2014 at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
Hi Chris, I'm pleased that this article seems to have struck a chord with many people. Let's keep spreading the word - and (I suppose) the muck! Wendy
Toggle Commented Jul 1, 2014 on Eat my Garden! at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
Hurry up and get qualified Caro! And keep sneaking in the fruit and veg. What could look nicer than cardoons or artichokes in a mixed border? We need more designers like you. Wendy
Toggle Commented Jul 1, 2014 on Eat my Garden! at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
Dear Frances, Thanks for your comment. So true! Power to the people indeed! Wendy
Toggle Commented Jun 30, 2014 on Eat my Garden! at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
Why do professional gardeners look down their noses as this type of garden design? The gardening profession, as opposed to the amateurs, is composed of two very different creatures, those who grow and those who plant. Even today there still seems to be a barrier between the horticulturalists and the designers. This split is cultural, ingrained and, in my view, counter-productive. This realisation was most strongly driven home to me the other day, when I attended the open day of a famous horticultural college that shall remain nameless. I wandered into the design studio to be confronted by rows of small garden designs that were frighteningly reminiscent of Chelsea. The same symmetries, the same plants, the same old themes. Even though these were all urban scale domestic gardens, I was shocked to see a complete lack of edible plants, let alone natives. None of these gardens had compost heaps, or... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2014 at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
“Welcome to the rooftopvegplot!” How many times have I said that over the past few days? Our Chelsea Fringe open days are now finally over. So exhausted was I that and for a day or two afterwards, I did nothing but lie in a darkened room being dripped chilled white wine intravenously. Apologies to my dear blog readers, for having to wait so long for a line or two. I’m going to make it up to you though. This is going to be a mega blog. I wrote a description of the garden for visitors and I’ve adapted that- with accompanying images – for your delectation and delight. DIscussing a point of interest with the gals! I hesitate to call it a walk around the garden as that would take all of thirty seconds. It’s so small (another thing that surprised people) but as Naomi Schillinger said, “You have everything... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2014 at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
The openings went really well, thanks for asking. But today I was a pale imitation of my normal sparky self! It was all I could do to rise momentarily from a deck chair to pick some of those luscious broad beans for lunch. It was worth the superhuman effort (!) They were soft and delicious. Hope you too had a great weekend. Wendy
Toggle Commented Jun 8, 2014 on The Calm Before the Storm at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
It was lovely that you could come and look around. I'm always very happy to share knowledge. Good luck with your own new garden:)
Toggle Commented Jun 6, 2014 on The Calm Before the Storm at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
Tomatoes standing to attention in the greenhouse, awaiting visitors inspections. Can you spot the fruit? This is the big week; the week that we’ve been working towards since February. This is the week that we open for the Chelsea Fringe. We chose to show for three afternoons, Thursday 5th, Friday 6th and Saturday 7th June from 1.00 – 6.00pm. Mike spent all weekend clearing the potting shed. My rooftopvegplot is unusual in that you have to walk through the potting shed to get into the garden. So old canes where cleared out, pots were stacked and tools polished. I’ve primped and pruned the plot so that there won’t be a lettuce leaf out of place by Thursday. The seriously tidy potting shed Allowing people into the veg plot is rather different to opening a flower garden. It feels as personal as if I’m revealing my underwear drawer to the public.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2014 at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
Dear Lana, Excellent to hear that you are putting your balcony to good use. Hope the bugs aren't too much of a problem. You will be able to view the video on Mark's website (link at the top of this blog) in a few weeks time. There are loads of other videos and lots of useful information on his fantastic website too. Best wishes Wendy
Toggle Commented May 30, 2014 on Why do I do it? at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
Thanks Claudia, One day I hope you will come and take a mint tea with me in the garden:)
Toggle Commented May 30, 2014 on Why do I do it? at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
Why grow veg in the city? Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2014 at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
Spring has sprung, its Chelsea Flower Show week! Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2014 at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
Thanks Keri, At this time of year the garden just gets better and better! Glad you like it.
Toggle Commented May 13, 2014 on The Lingerie Shoot at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
My garden is used as the backdrop for a fashion shoot Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2014 at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
What's been happening in the rooftopvegplot this month? The ups and downs of gardening at the top of the stairs; some great early tomatoes but some pesky pests. Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2014 at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
I've always admired Jefferson's garden at Monticello. I'm not at all surprised to find that he discovered the quincunx. Thanks so much for drawing attention to your very interesting blog, Ena. I envy you your trip to Monticello. I have only read about it:)
Toggle Commented Apr 12, 2014 on Quick Quincunx Quiz at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
Dear Julieanne, I think sometimes these things come to us quite intuitively. But its nice to know where they come from. I suspect the diagonal pattern is one of our innate patterns that is probably bound into our DNA. In crystals the diagonal is very common I think. I have high hopes for the anti-slug device. Im leaving the space fallow for a day or two before planting so they all scoot off elsewhere to feed for the time being. When they come back the galvanised barrier will be in place! Watch this space.
Toggle Commented Apr 12, 2014 on Quick Quincunx Quiz at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
Dear Chris, Thanks for your comments:) It felt a bit like doing new maths, as we used to call it. But fun. I think the practical applications of geometry are not as often taught as they should be. How to cut a cake for example, surely would be a winner with hungry first formers?
Toggle Commented Apr 12, 2014 on Quick Quincunx Quiz at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT
The most efficient sowing patterns for seeds. Potager en carres or square foot gardening. Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2014 at ROOF TOP VEG PLOT