24 September – Firstly I’d like to apologise for forgetting to mention that I was away last week, hence why there was no email. I was down in Somerset coming second to my little brother again on one of our annual golf days. We seemed to catch the last of summer last weekend, returning to a very wet and windswept garden today. Our volunteers were obviously well prepared for the worst of the weather, having removed the majority of the outdoor netting. Though there was not much anyone could do to stop one of the panels from the flower greenhouse blowing loose and shattering. Thankfully nobody was injured.
Growing Well were on site during the week, preparing their gourds for making bird boxes whilst also harvesting cucumbers, tomatoes and achocha and saving their seeds. Jill Barnard has also done a wonderful job collecting and storing a vast number of our tomato seeds varieties, ready for our seed swaps next year. We also have a large number of narcissus bulbs which have been donated by Helen.
Lastly, I have been asked to share an update on our Nature Tots programme by Frances.”This Tuesday will be the last weekly Tuesday morning Nature Tots for a while. A big thank you to the 24 families who have come to our Nature Tots since we started in April. Pam, Gil and Diane have welcomed pre-school children with their parents/carers every Tuesday morning for a mix of gardening, nature and wildlife. Little ones have explored the gardens, polytunnels and raised beds, picking tomatoes and pulling carrots, studying caterpillars, bees and worms and searching for the giant beanstalk. A big thank you to the three of them for helping little ones learn to love gardening and nature.”
10 September – So it seems summer has finally arrived. Better late than never I suppose. Just a week of hot, dry weather has sent some of the plants around the garden totally bananas. Cucumbers and courgettes are practically leaping out of their beds while the marigolds have exploded into life in poly 2. The tomatoes are getting a little extra colour to them and the achocha’s and gourds have created a jungle landscape (not that they needed any extra encouragement).
It’s been quite a laborious week, with plenty of hand watering and replenishing of water butts. Drumstick Primula has been pricked out and potted up while the achocha and yellow tomatoes are now being saved for seed, along with the beans and peas. The cool box was set up during the week to help keep our harvest fresh and some light pruning has taken place around the pond area to encourage a little extra wildlife to take a dip.
The big event of the week though was the willow weaving class which has taken place over the weekend. Hosted by Pete Brown and natural artist, Emma Parkins, children and adults alike were invited to the garden to construct two willow serpents to display on site. Saturday was the turn of the kids, building the main bulk of the creatures, while the finishing touches were applied by the adults today. Despite my clumsy sausage fingers I even had a go myself and really enjoyed what Pete and Emma brought to the garden so a big thanks to them both. For anyone interested in Emma’s work you can visit her web page at https://www.emma-parkins.co.uk/
3 September – It seems the older we are the quicker time passes by. Something to do with the comparison of time spent on this planet compared to our younger selves. It’s all a bit complicated for me but August has certainly flown by. We’ve had a large potato harvest, some of which are still in storage in the green shed for anyone interested, and our tomatoes are ripening nicely. Our apple trees are also well stocked with fruit, with plenty of varieties on show for Apple day on the 22nd of October. We’ve done better this year protecting our brassicas and hopefully a bumper harvest is still to come, while the majority of our peas and beans have now been earmarked for seed saving. The month came to an end on Thursday with Gil’s workshop on edible flowers. Yum.
All in all it’s been a good month, but there are always ups and downs. The wasps in Poly 2, once happy for us to live in harmony together, have become quite aggressive toward some of our volunteers. Please could everyone looking to visit the site be aware of this until the situation is resolved. Work on the woodland clearing has started and on reflection perhaps a meeting should be arranged to decide the finer details before going further with the project. I shall keep you all updated with this.