Working Notes - December 2023

17 December – This week was the final working week before closing for our winter break. As the garden is rather bare at the moment we have left the bird feeders and wormeries filled to the brim, to keep our worms and wildlife well fed until the new year. The renovations of the raised beds in poly 1 have been completed and so our attention will be turning to the outside beds come January.

Nature Tots had the luxury of the Buxton Crescent Hotel on Friday when they joined Pitter Patter, the monthly session of the Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust. Babies and Toddlers enjoyed activities focusing on looking after wildlife in winter. They created their own hedgehogs and made homes for them to hibernate. They also made Christmas cards with their robins in their nests. A fun morning with families. We’d love some occasional support with our weekly Nature Tots when we start up in Spring. If you would like to join our Nature Tots team please email Frances, Pam and Diane –

We finished the year off with our annual winter gathering. Though the weather was a little warmer than usual we still had the fire roaring outside and some mince pies warming on the BBQ. As usual there were plenty of homemade goodies including some veggie sausage rolls and an array of cakes. It was great to see friends of the garden, old and new, come together, bringing friends and family to share in a project we are all passionate about and I for one am looking forward to seeing how the garden progresses in 2024.

10 December – It’s not often I dread going to The SCG on a Sunday morning but after last night’s storm I was expecting the worst. The pathways were littered with branches and the Buddleia near the entrance had been flattened. Elsewhere I was pleased to see the extra drainage around poly 3 had held up well and the poly tunnels had sustained no damage. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about the herb greenhouse, which had lost its door. Luckily, though the glass panels were dislodged, none were broken. I managed to find the majority of the fixings to get everything back together except the nut and bolt for one of the door rollers, though I hope to have that replaced and fixed tomorrow. 

In some lighter news the midweek groups have put up some Christmas decorations foraged from around the garden and a large tub has been filled with rock salt for spreading on the paths. There has also been a donation of Hyacinth bulbs for the Growing Well children’s group.   

There have been further discussions for the growing plans for 2024 and Jill will be sending out the final version in a few days’ time. In the meantime, please can anyone who wants to keep an outdoor “square foot” bed next year please let Jill know. Also, there are a few more indoor beds, in Poly 2 this year, similar sized to the outdoor ones. Again, if anyone would like one, please let Jill know as soon as possible at Depending on demand, you may not be able to have both – please indicate your preference – and it might be a case of names in a hat. If you’ve already let Jill know via WhatsApp, there’s no need to reply again.

3 December – It’s been a rather chilly start to December, so I hope everybody has got their winter proofing well underway. Throughout November the volunteers at the SCG were doing just that. The greenhouses have been fleeced and the roses which were donated in the summer have been pruned back and mulched. Flower bulbs have been dried and stored while the raised beds have received a good dressing of sand, soil improver and leaf mould. Plenty of maintenance work has also taken place, with Keith and Hugo doing some extensive repairs on the raised beds outside and in poly 1, while others have chipped in with repairs on the cold frames and flower greenhouse and an extension added to the french drain around poly 3.

This week the winter proofing has continued. The water taps have been turned off at the mains and fleeced with bubble wrap for some extra frost protection. The raspberry vines were trimmed back and the Jeruselum artichokes dug up, while the greenhouses and polytunnels have enjoyed a good clearing out, including clearing the roofs of last nights snow.
Anne Clark was kind enough to type up the tomato tasting results from 2022 and 2023 for everyone to see. There is a hard copy in poly 3 for anyone who would like to take a look and for those who are unable to venture to the garden I will attach a copy here.
Also, a new friend of the SCG, living on Burlington Road, is organising a Christmas celebration and fund-raiser. Proceeds will be shared between the SCG and a national charity. Thorneycroft is a splendid house to explore with decorations already going up. Tickets need to be booked in advance as places are limited. Payment is cash only at the door or you can pay in advance to our charity account.

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