Tortoise Babies!

You could argue that I grew up with tortoises. Sam was my dad’s tortoise, he found him when he was a boy. When I was little, Sam lived in the garden at Nanna and Grandad’s house. Whenever he ran away (which he did, every now and then), he was always returned because his name and address were painted on his shell. He had two semi circles cut out the back of his shell; leftover evidence that someone had once drilled into his shell to make holes so he could be tied down. Sam eventually moved to live with Dad again, along with a few other tortoises that had been acquired along the way. Sam died about three years ago. I was always fond of him.

Ludo is bigger than Pod.

Around the time Sam died I had an idea that I’d like to have a tortoise of my own. I learned that neighbours of the in-laws were tortoise breeders. They offered teeny tiny babies who would need a vivarium and lots of care. I’m well lazy and knew I’d not be able to give them the proper attention needed so declined the offer. A few weeks ago we were told that the breeders still had tortoises ready and waiting (the same ones, in fact). They were hibernating through winter now and a lot less vulnerable, would we like them? Yes please! So at three and a half years old, Pod & Ludo have moved into our back garden (they have an indoor bedroom for night time). They are Hermann’s tortoises.

They like it in the borders of the garden

I love them. I have to stop myself from kissing them (they can carry salmonella and parasites so it’s best to refrain). They’re really cute. Ludo likes broccoli, Pod likes tomatoes. They both like having a bath.

When they have play time, they walk around the whole edge of the lawn. They’re always accompanied because there is a drop down onto the gravel. You’d be amazed at how clever they are. They know exactly what they’re doing and never blindly plop off the edge. We’ve also bought some fencing to make them a bigger, better space. I need to set it up in a place where there are no poisonous plants but half the plants in the borders are really not tortoise friendly, ugh.

This is their home but they’re allowed out to play and have a wander.

There’s still a lot to learn. I got some good advice from the vet about their diet and it seems we’re doing everything correctly. They’ve been micro-chipped because people love to steal tortoises. I was told that they might cry out when they were chipped but thankfully neither of them did. I felt terribly guilty. Tortoise skin doesn’t heal the same way as mammal’s so they had to be super-glued back together ūüôĀ

My boys.

On hot days they’re very frisky and bomb it about the garden. I am still waiting for the perfect photo but they keep moving and it’s very tricky. On colder days they sleep more and I feel sorry for them. They bury themselves under their bedding and wait for the sun to come out. Whilst we don’t quite get temperatures of the Med, the UK climate is still alright for them. In the winter, they’ll have a giant snooze in the safety of a box in the shed, ready to start again when the weather improves.

I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea but I really rather like them!

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Marceline likes to sit and watch.



Spring Sprung 2019

I used to be very good at blogging about garden updates but like the lack of green fingered posts on here, there has been a lack of actual horticulture too.¬† I’ve nothing to write about!¬† Unlike other years, no seeds have been planted, I’ve barely weeded, and only this morning did I dig over one of the veg beds. Time is more of an issue these days. I’m working more and don’t get the chance to pop outside to keep apace with the plants. But do you know what? It has sort of been looking after itself! I suppose I’ve given it enough attention in the past, that there is still beautiful stuff to see now. It’s OK too because I haven’t completely missed the boat. This coming weekend is the Easter bank holiday and I believe there might be some kind of law which dictates that one must do gardening during all day light hours over this four day stretch. I have time to catch up.

In the meantime, here’s what has happened so far this spring…

One job to do is pull up the purple sprouting. Over the last few weeks we devoured them. They were delicious but now they’re over.


One of the very first things we planted (maybe eight years ago). I never remember its name. Something to do with dancing?
It was in flower a couple of weeks ago. Now it is not.
Rozanne is waking up.
Hosta horns
Then, they’re not horny
A different set of hosta horns. They’re not actually called horns. They just look like them.
A type of magnolia.
Kerria Japonica is only just hanging on despite nearly dying last year. After a few years of being very happy indeed, it has decided to give up.
Marceline likes to hang out in the garden too. And climb trees.
fig twig
Forget me not
Apple blossom
An alert looking Clematis Montana
Comfrey. This came from Mum’s garden last year. It has made itself at home.
A fern that reminds me of a tarantula
So many snails.
They will eat my hostas but I can’t bring myself to kill them.
Quince. What I attacked to make crochet hooks!
Such a mess

So despite having done nothing at all, things aren’t looking too bad. Yes, there’s mess but I’m not fussed about a neatly manicured lawn or the composting mountain of last year’s runner beans and courgette plants. But I will be worried if I don’t get my arse in gear next weekend. I’m gonna blitz it. Probably.

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