who we are

Siobhan Wilde

Early gardening days in my aunt's back yard in Portland, OR.

I am a former milliner’s assistant, journalist, jewelry maker and English teacher. As the child of a foreign correspondent, I grew up moving around a bit. My father’s work took us from New York to Nairobi, to Rome, and finally to Istanbul. I got into the habit of writing letters to my friends, and only gave it up once even the most die hard correspondents among my friends stopped writing back. That is when I took up the blog.

In the garden, I do a lot of work with seeds and seedlings, sowing, thinning, weeding and transplanting. My favorite plants are vegetables, since I love to eat what we grow. My mother is Chinese, so I have deep yearnings for certain Chinese vegetables (not bitter melon, though!), mostly the brassicas like Chinese broccoli, Chinese cabbage, and bok choy, so I like to grow those since I cannot find them in the markets here.

I am also, when I have the time, a knitter and a spinner with a slight alpaca obsession. I fantasize about keeping a few alpacas on our land, but at the moment, keeping ungulates is intimidating to me. Chickens, on the other hand, seem manageable.


Ali and a new friend

Ali is the original green thumb behind our garden; when we first met, I was a regular plant killer, while he embarked every year on ambitious seed-starting projects every spring, filling the terrace of his Istanbul house with flowers every year. When he enlisted me to help, I used to only write the labels, afraid to touch the seeds.

Ali worked as a tour guide and translator while in Istanbul, and was actually friends with my parents long before he was friends with me. He and my mother bonded over gardening, and went on missions to visit mosques of interest around the city, and my father found him good company; they had long conversations on the top floor of my parents’ house in Cihangir. I saw him over the years when I visited my parents, and I guess we grew on one another.


Baki just turned six and is always ready for fun. I think that this picture might say everything you need to know about him, but he appears on the blog a lot, since he is probably the most interesting person in our household!

The newest member of our family, and certainly the most doted upon, Kaya is already involved in the garden. He and I water the garden together in the morning, and he likes to watch me while I weed and transplant. He loves nothing more than lying under a tree and staring at the leaves. Well, he might love milk more.

6 thoughts on “who we are

  1. Dear Siobhan,
    It’s so lovely to have found you again (thanks to JB)! We thought somehow you had moved away.
    Did you ever get the picture I sent you and your mom this spring of the lime tree she grew from seed, which we planted in our garden?
    Hope to see you over the summer, and meet young Kaya.
    Love to all of you,

    1. Hello Jessica-
      Thank you for stopping by; I hope we can have you all up to the garden itself this summer. I’m sorry we never wrote you about the lime tree- what a sight it has become.
      Let us know when you are around – we are very much still here!

  2. Pingback: Victoria’s Maple Syrup and Garlic-Roasted Chicken with On-Ke’s Coconut Oil-Roasted Sweet Potatoes | coolcookstyle

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