Wordless Wednesday: Swan Lake

Photo taken by Teresa Footman

Another great photo I nicked off a family member. This time I pinched it from my sister.

Thanks Sis! 

The Forgotten Garden

For those of you who regularly read my blog, you may have remembered that back in March of this year, I mentioned that I have written a book. Since writing this post, I have had many enquires to when the book will be available. So I thought I’d write a brief post with an update with its progress and a little more info about the book itself.

Tattooed Gardener Logo

Writing this book has been something that I have always wanted to do but have never had the time or the right situation to actually sit down and do it. After a challenging start to going self-employed and due to the usual curse of owning crap cars and the usual pain in the arse health problems, prompted me to put pen to paper and get the ball rolling.

th (7)mm

So what is the book all about.

It is a children’s book about a small magical character set in a real life garden that sits on the edge of a wood, from where the main character explores the garden and its surroundings.

I’ve always wanted to write a book aimed at young people about the world of gardening without it being the big sell to enter the world of horticulture. Although, if it did spark a keen interest into gardening………. it wouldn’t be a bad thing.

A fantasy story set in the world of the garden and wooded areas, where the main character has adventures in real settings. In the book, there will be references to: plants, animals and other things associated with the outdoor world. When deciding about the name of the character, I was looking along the lines of using a Celtic/Nordic type of name but my wife came up with the perfect name and that is………. Bracken.

As well as the story following Bracken on her adventures through the garden seeing all the local flora and fauna along the way as well as all the wildlife; she also gets to meet some interesting characters along the way.


It will hopefully be a series of books following Brackens adventures, the first book is now finished and the second book is nearing completion. It will be firstly released as an e-book but my main goal, is to get it published as a paperback.

And the name of the book………..it’s the same as this post.

The Forgotten Garden

The Picture garden

‘Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words. They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning’. ~Lydia M. Child


The tattooed gardener now has a new website (www.thetattooedgardener.com) and to mark this occasion, I thought I’d publish a new post!

I had originally thought of doing a ‘Rock Garden’ post completely dedicated to Motorhead as the first but decided to keep it simple. Especially now that the format of writing a post is slightly different and with my impatience with most things technical, I thought I would keep the stress levels low…….along with the swearing! So with this post I have kept the writing to a minimum and I will let the photo’s do the talking. Some of these photo’s have been taken by youngest daughter Enya.

Oh by the way, the Motorhead post will be coming shortly, I have a whole list of plants with a connection of Motorhead song names ready to go!








‘Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished’. ~Lao Tzu






Here’s a couple of impostors…….











‘I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers’. ~Claude Monet




















Wordless Wednesday: Here be Dragons…



Wordless Wednesday: Nature’s pest controller



Back to the future

Since starting my own business just over a year ago now, I have been a little quiet on the blogging scene. For those of you who have had the misfortune of reading my blog, this has been some what of a relief, in not being subjected to a crazy mixture of Heavy metal, Horticulture, Tattoos and a rather surreal look on life but all this is a about to change; now that I have a little more extra time on my hands …..


When leaving Trinity, many people thought this was a crazy move. To leave a Head Gardeners position at one of the most respected, famous colleges in the country/world and to start your own gardening business in this day and age…..I had to be mad. Believe you and me, over the past year, I had thought the same thing many many times.

It wasn’t an easy decision to leave such a wonderful place like Trinity but it was one I had to make…..my health did play a factor in my decision. Suffering with high blood pressure, depression, stress and anxiety, all leading up top having a seizure whilst out shopping (I’ll try anything to get out of shopping), this did put a lot of things into prospective. Although, it wasn’t just my health that brought me to that decision, in some ways, it just brought it forward but the fact that there was more things outside of Trinity; that I wanted to explore and do.



Since leaving Trinity, I have had the pleasure in working in some truly wonderful private gardens and meeting some equally wonderful people, this may not have happened if I had stayed put. Apart from the curse that I seem to have of ‘every car I own turning to shit’ and my health giving me a bit of a kick from time to time, things were looking up for 2016.

Then just before Christmas of last year, I woke up one morning with the worst back pain I had ever suffered……I hadn’t realized that sleeping was that bad for you! I do have a history of back problems, as most gardeners do but this was the worst back pain I’d ever suffered, so bad, I had to take my hat off (people who know me will know where I’m coming from on this one)! It floored me for the rest of 2015 and made the beginning of this year a little tricky. The doctor diagnosed me with having Arthritis of the lower back, not surprising after all the back problems I have had.

I’m presently only doing practical gardening on a part time basis at present and also doing a few ‘swinging your hip’ exercises and the old back seems to be improving, although this will always be an ongoing battle. So I have had to fill my time in another way and have brought forward yet another idea I have been working on for sometime………I think I’ve been here before.



I have always had an keen interest in writing and trying to encourage people into the world of horticulture, so I have combined the two together and have written my first book. I will not go into to much detail just yet but it is a short mythical story aimed at kids which will hopefully become a series of short stories, set around the wonderful world of gardening and the countryside around us.

The first book is now complete and with the help of a very good friend who is going to help me push my idea forward and help me promote it and with my Dad doing the art work for it………this year could be an interesting one.

I have always mentioned Trinity in many of my posts but some of you will know that my love of gardening started knowing and working in my early years at Hemingford Grey manor. Both my Nan and Grandad worked at the manor and I had the great pleasure of knowing Mrs Lucy Boston personally, who wrote the ‘Green Knowe’ books based on the house and its garden. The garden inspired me to head into the world of horticulture and having known Lucy Boston, this has given me the inspiration of picking up the pen. Now I know that I will never be in the same league as Mrs Boston but I’m hoping to have a lot of enjoyment in giving it a go. So this is why I feel that my career has gone/going ‘Back to the future’…….





They made love to mountain lions…

Now they can raise the volume to eleven in heaven!!!!

Keep on rocking boys………

Wordless Wednesday: A wee bit wet Wednesday 


And the weather forecast for 2016 is………..

Winter is coming……


Actually, the best way to get an reasonably accurate weather forecast, is to read the ‘Daily Express’ and then expect the opposite……..job done!

The El Nino affect is supposedly the strongest we’ve had in years, so the next few weeks/months could be very interesting and it certainly gets the press all excited.


It’s that time of year again where all the news channels, papers, social networking sites and other internet sites, start to warn us………that we are all in for the coldest winter for years!
Where, it will not be safe to walk the streets because of, shifty looking penguins wearing dark glasses and polar bears wearing trilby hats selling you some dodgy gear whilst trying to rip your heads off and be very careful of the ones wearing high heels and suspenders!
Anyway, no doubt sky news will be out and about interviewing them all, asking how business is and how they are coping with cold.
Though the thought of Eamonn Holmes interviewing a polar bear wearing suspenders, is too surreal even for me. When I say wearing suspenders, I do mean the bear wearing them and not Eamonn Holmes………although whatever the scenario, it would send the viewing figures sky high!
But will this year be the year they get it right about the weather?


“What a wild winter sound,— wild and weird, up among the ghostly hills…. I get up in the middle of the night to hear it. It is refreshing to the ear, and one delights to know that such wild creatures are among us. At this season Nature makes the most of every throb of life that can withstand her severity.” ~John Burroughs, “The Snow-Walkers”

As I have mentioned before, I quite like the snow. Now that I am a self employed gardener, this can bring it’s own challenges, financial being one of them but if we went through this winter without any snow…….I’d be quite disappointed.
This though, will be the first winter for many years where I will not need to worry about Snow and ice duties/rotas/meetings etc. Whilst at Trinity, organising for the winter could start as early as August/September with the ordering of ice melt, shovels and other items to keep the college open, safe and ready for the winter ahead. Certain aspects of this I will not miss,  although the snow clearing itself, I did use to enjoy and the smashing up of the large snowmen with sledge hammers and the other strange shapes that the students use to build…….this I will miss.
This year I did not/will not need to deal with any of that, I will just need to organise myself…….easier said than done. Unless the weather gets really bad, I will have enough to do to see me through to the spring.

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” ~Anne Bradstreet

I’ve not seen any long term forecast for spring 2016 but if you do go by what they are saying about the winter, it will definitely start off cold. Spring is an exciting month for all gardener and it is the starting block for how the garden fares throughout the rest of the year. From the lawns, borders and the trees, a late spring means the garden and us, spends the rest of the year trying to catch up or adjust to the years season’s. Throw in a wet spring like the one we had 2012 and life next year could be very interesting but we all like a challenge……..don’t we?

“Then followed that beautiful season… Summer….Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape, lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.”
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

As for summer 2016, no forecast here just a request……..

To have a long hot summer (with a little rain at night) and it to flow gently into an Indian summer come September/October. So when winter comes around again, we will be fully charged ready for its onslaught……nice thought hey?

There is one thing I can guarantee and that is, living in this part the world, we will continue to talk about the weather, moan about it and what ever we we have thrown at us……..it will never ever be right!

Wordless Wednesday: The Travelling Trixie


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