31 October 2022: It’s been surprisingly warm for the time of year, if a little soggy, but we don’t let it dampen our mood. Growing Well started the week full of beans. Pests were picked and poppy seeds were planted in Buxton’s no 1 insect hotel, which also had fresh lashings of compost deposited throughout. Hyacinth bulbs were planted for Christmas while the two groups painted spooky Halloween pictures and learned about different flower seeds around the garden.
23 October 2022: While we continue to tend to this tiny piece of planet we call The Serpentine, know that we are forever planning for the future. Inside the social tunnel you may notice a brainstorm board in the far corner. This is for anyone and everyone who wishes to share their ideas and views on what they would like to see in the garden next year. We have ideas ranging from wildflower meadows and craft days to expanding next years growing programme to include more exotic foods, including ginger, West Indian Calalloo and bottle necked gourds. The list, like most things in the garden, grows bigger by the week, so please don’t hesitate to jot down your idea or start a conversation over a cup of tea.
Having taken shelter from this morning’s deluge, I took a little time to look over the tomato tasting table to see four varieties which scored head and shoulders above the rest. Koraliko, Broad Ripple, Blue Bayou and Green Bell scored superior for taste, texture and overall appearance compared to the other varieties grown, so I expect to see them on the seed list again for the new year.
Thankfully the rained eased in time to travel to Poole’s Cavern, where we held our AGM. It was a fine turnout of fine people. Ruby and Melissa gave an impassioned talk on how Growing Well has developed throughout the year, and showed that the garden doesn’t just benefit us physically but positively impacts our mental wellbeing too. Pete Brown, who fronts our art projects, brought up the issue of signage for the garden, which led to talk of a new gate, a totem pole or some decorated stones leading from the main road as potential solutions. As always, we encourage members and volunteers to share their thoughts and views. These projects are due to take place from April next year. If anyone would like to take part in any art projects, including work on the front gate and signage, please get in contact with myself or Pete Brown directly before the new year. Another topic of discussion was on bolstering our volunteer numbers, not just in the garden but with some behind the scenes work also. Again if you, or someone you know, would be interested in an administrative role with in the garden please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
There was much else discussed, including long term plans for the stone buildings and funding for further community projects. All in all I feel the garden is in competent and safe hands for the here and now and for future generations to come.
16 October 2022: As the temperature drops in the garden we turn our attention to the seasons to come. Growing Well were busy this Monday, layering the pathways with fresh woodchip, planting lettuce, mustard and rocket seedlings, painting floral moulds and making peanut butter bird feeders. While the birds feasted on their peanut butter, the Growing Well team enjoyed some treats of their own, in the form of fresh and dehydrated fruit from around the garden.
9 October 2022: This week has been all about apples. Our volunteers have collected and washed heaps of windfalls from here, there and everywhere – ready for our little Apple Day. The grinder and the press were prepped and ready to go and for hours on end a small group of volunteers sliced and diced and crushed and chopped their way through box after box of fragrant fresh fruit. The juice was wonderfully sweet, as was the apple sauce, and many a slice of apple and pear was dried for tasty treats.
Despite everyone’s hard toil we still had a few crates of apples on site. Some have been collected for donation to The Residents of Fairfield Foodbank, while the rest will be pressed again this coming Wednesdayfor anyone who could not make today’s event.
2 October 2022: September has seen a change in the weather. The mornings are brisker and the hosepipe has been safely packed away. The last month our volunteers have been kept busy harvesting from our wide variety of tomatoes, cucumbers, chillies, courgettes as well as planting winter lettuce, Pak Choi and an assortment of flowers. Work has begun on clearing new growing areas throughout the garden and finishing past projects, like glazing and painting the Growing Well shed.