Hosta Time

The Hostas and the rest of the plants in our shady area by the front door are growing well this year although they did suffer from the attentions of the slugs and snails despite a treatment with nematodes and the new eco-friendly slug pellets.

Bad Courgettes

We grew some really nice courgette (zucchini) plants this year and harvested the first of them yesterday from the plant in our greenhouse to put into a stir-fry.

Everything was going well until we tasted the food when we found that the courgettes had a really unpleasant, bitter flavour. We discarded the meal and continued with our dessert of crumpets. Unfortunately in the middle of the night we were both quite unwell and it seems that the courgettes had a problem caused by an over-production of plant defence chemicals called cucurbitacins. This is mainly a problem in courgettes and summer squash and is caused by a mutation within the plant. There had been reports of similar issues with home-grown courgettes last year but we had not heard of any problems this year. We have reported the issue to the seed producer (Thompson & Morgan) and the garden centre where we bought the seeds.

The plant from the greenhouse will be discarded but we still have two other courgette plants outside in the garden so we will be very careful in checking their produce before attempting to cook or eat it.


The frogs arrived early this year. The first ones appeared in the pond around the 20th of February.

It seemed to be mostly male frogs at first but eventually some females arrived and we got the first frog spawn on the 8th of March.

Summer House

The Summer House project followed on from the shed building earlier in the year. We had an overgrown area at the bottom of the garden which looked out over Kirkandrews Bay and this seemed like a good place to have a ‘sitooterie‘. I looked on the Internet for various plans for garden buildings and found a design process at Outside In Garden Rooms that looked as though I could build it myself.

I chose to use ground screws rather than a concrete foundation. These provide a really solid anchor and can be adjusted very easily to achieve a level foundation for the wooded base. The other construction materials were as follows:
-Base timbers: 6″ x 2″ treated softwood
-Wall framing: 4″ x 2″ treated softwood
-Roof trusses: 5″ x 2″ treated softwood
-Walls: 8mm plywood
-Roof & Floor: 12mm plywood
-Roofing: Coroline from
-Insulation: Supasoft recycled plastic
-Cladding: Cedar shiplap
-Side Windows: UPVC units from
-Bi-Fold Doors: 2.4m x 2.1m from
-Flooring: Oak laminate from
-Internal cladding: Pine tongue & groove from Wickes

Gallery of the construction process