Weekly Reports for November 2020

29 November 2020

Sunday 22nd brought in cooler dry weather than of late with even a little sunshine to raise spirits. A varied session by the team saw more hacking and shovelling in the old depot area in preparation for the new polytunnel. There was more tidying of indoor raised beds and of the volunteers’ outdoor bed – which has gone pretty feral during the pandemic. Next year we anticipate seeing again volunteers experimenting with a range of planting to show what can be achieved in limited spaces.

Gil and John Boardman came on site with boxes of seeds and growing plans for 2021. After so long as lead growers they understandably want to hand over some of their work for next year. The Boardmans will guide us with further detail about how to plant properly as we proceed and I think this will be a real opportunity for us to learn from their expertise rather than simply relying on them to sort out growing as we have been rather prone to do.

The week following has, apart from sunny Friday, offered heavy grey skies but overall the site has become drier with a couple of frosts. Tasks have been a continuation of maintenance such as cleaning the greenhouse windows; harvesting – green tomatoes for the second batch of chutney (first batch very tasty); beans and corn cockle seed collection; late cropping of raspberries; chard, kale and sprouts. The volunteers’ bed was topped up with compost by the end of the week (with an attentive robin in attendance) and ready for Helen to add her touch of science with some special manure. Martha is all set too to apply learning from her course so more interesting topping of beds to come. Not much in flower but the kaffir lilies are still in flower

Meanwhile Margaret’s cunning plan to deter the squirrels from pinching acorns from pots is working…..

20 November 2020

Sunday afternoon was AGM time and hosted by Jane Reynolds and ably chaired by Simon Fussell. From the AGM we have two new Trustees who have both hit the ground running. New Trustee Pete Brown talked about the Cadent project which in April will involve local young people in growing at SCG. He is also co-hosting a digital quiz between Christmas and the New Year. He is looking for the other host. Could this be you? Carol Garner is the other new Trustee and she is taking over the role of Membership. Sec.

We have had to say ‘goodbye’ to a Trustee too – Anne Holloway. Anne has moved to Norfolk and we wish her every happiness there. Anne has put in many years of hard work at the Serpentine right back to the days of getting the Garden underway to maintaining the herb area in recent times. Our thanks are very much due to her.

Meanwhile on site in the recent mist/moisty weather our working groups have continued to clear leaves either from plants or deposited on the ground. It’s that clearing up time of the year but we are refreshing the soil (see Helen Jagger’s handy work in photo below) and new life has already started with cauliflower, garlic and cavolo nero planted. Volunteers have taken home some very tasty savoy cabbages and late raspberries.

We recently potted up a number of acorns, one day intended to be fine oaks in Buxton Civic Association’s woods. The squirrels enjoyed dining out on many of the acorns but hopefully Margaret will deter this with an ingenious homemade cage. Let battle commence!

12 November 2020

In beautiful sunshine this week, we’re preparing for winter. The auto-irrigation system has been drained down, raised beds cleared and mulched with leaf mould and compost, planting plans collated and refined, a new entrance sign for the nursery area put in (pride of) place, earth moved.

We’ve been less successful in moving bureaucracy along: our £21,200 Culture Recovery award has not yet been signed off for spending: our request for costings to be re-jigged as the Council had met the cost of garage demolition has put a spanner in the works. We hope to hear next week. We hope to secure landlord’s consent at the same time for the planned polytunnel rising from the base of the old garage. We are poised for action as soon as we get the go ahead.

This will be my last set of weekly notes – Steve is taking on these communications from next week. I’ll sign off for now with extracts from our WhatsApp chat: a great mix of info, insight and amusement from an amazing group of people. Thanks to all.

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