Sunday, May 17, 2020

Cat Gardening for Beginners

I hope you’ll forgive me if this week’s blog is slightly picture heavy. This is due to what could be termed Foreseen Circumstances, but more of that later.

During the current coronavirus UK lockdown, I’ve been spending a little more time out in the garden, and I’ve had particular success this season with my variegated cat crop, so I thought I’d pass on some tips.

To grow your cat from seed, it’s probably best to start it off in a nice warm place. Being originally a Mediterranean variety, they don’t take well to cold. A bathroom radiator is ideal to begin with:

Then they can be moved to a nice sunny window ledge where they’ll bask quite happily while putting on weight:

Once you’re happy that your cat seedlings are established, it’s time to take them out to the greenhouse, although if you don’t have access to outdoors, they can be transplanted into a window box with excellent results:

Of course, you could choose to start off your cats outdoors right from the off, although they may require a bit more shelter to get going:

Although this variety can be finicky, as with most plants you may find that they self-seed in the strangest of places:

So, better by far to bring them on in the greenhouse, where it’s a pleasure to watch them gradually unfurl:

With the onset of the warmer weather, it’s time to plant out. A good dusting of compost is usually required:

Given the space to sprawl in a generous outdoor bed, it won’t be long before that lovely variegated foliage is on full display:

Although if you only have a patio or smaller garden, they also do very well in planters and pots:

Generally, they like to flourish in a sunny spot, where they can make a nice point of interest among the garden wildlife:

They can also grow very nicely in a shady corner:

Either in a main border:

Or among the vegetables:

Although, this particular variety tends to do better if each is spaced a reasonable distance from another:

Which, in these days of social distancing, is no bad thing! So, good luck with your own feline horticultural efforts, and I hope you manage to grow a magnificent cat crop in your own garden.

And in case you were wondering about the reason for my reluctance to type this week, I shall let the pictures speak for themselves:

This week’s Word of the Week is chingaripen, which means war or strife in the Romani language of the Gypsies, leading to chingring, fighting or quarrelling, and chinga-guero, a fighting man or warrior.

Upcoming Events

My new book, BONES IN THE RIVER, Book No2 in the Lakes Crime Thriller series with CSI Grace McColl and Detective Nick Weston, will be out on May 26 and I’m going on a Blog Tour to celebrate. Here are the stops on the tour, either reviews or articles, with full details on my website.


  1. I'm quite excited to start my own cat! Where do you get reliable seeds?

    1. your nearest animal shelter will have all kinds of different varieties, Michael :))

  2. Is your next blog on grafting fingerlings?

    Hope all is well out at the cat-farm.

    1. at least you didn't say cat-house, Jeff...

      if i can manage to graft fingerlings i'll be doing well, although i'm not looking forward to training a new digit to touch-type!

  3. This is the funniest thing I've read in ages. Thanks for giving me a reason to get bak in the garden!

    1. they're very rewarding to grow, Sujata. you do have to be careful, though, as they are a carniverous plant...

  4. Replies
    1. that was more or less what i said at the time, Stan...

  5. Brilliant, Zoe!! Positively Brilliant!
    (Beyond the fact that this may finally answer the question about my cat allergy. All the other things I am allergic to are in the vegetable category: melon, soy, green beans, onions, carrots, garlic, peppers, roses, tree pollen...I could go on. And on. This blog about the vegetative behavior of cats explains everything.)

  6. ah-ha, it all becomes clear, Annamaria! glad you enjoyed it.

  7. Are you sure your injury wasn't a cat nip?

  8. Hilarious. I'm sharing it with cat lovers. A bright spot in this coronavirus shutdown. Am getting cabin fever. Wish I could grow a few cats myself, but alas, just concrete outside.
    Time to take a cat nap. After I read part of a purrfect book.

    1. Thanks, Kathy. Glad you enjoyed it. Cats can be tricky to grow, but once they've taken root, you've got them for life. :))