More things happening

 Our big rhubarb bed is looking very good at the moment. Underplanting with a few bulbs and lots of pulmonaria (lungwort) seems to work well. 

Our big rhubarb bed is looking very good at the moment. Underplanting with a few bulbs and lots of pulmonaria (lungwort) seems to work well. 

 The recycled bulbs are looking great at the moment - we had no idea what they would look like but planting similar looking ones in blocks works well. Some of them even smell nice too.

The recycled bulbs are looking great at the moment - we had no idea what they would look like but planting similar looking ones in blocks works well. Some of them even smell nice too.

 Almost ready to sow the meadow beds... 

Almost ready to sow the meadow beds... 

 If you are in the garden, look out for this kind of plant - they are full of bumble bees at the moment. I think the black one here might be a male 'hairy footed flower bee' - I hope so anyway because it has such a good name - they especially like pulmonaria, which seems to like our funny soil. As do docks - which I have just noticed needs weeding out next to it...

If you are in the garden, look out for this kind of plant - they are full of bumble bees at the moment. I think the black one here might be a male 'hairy footed flower bee' - I hope so anyway because it has such a good name - they especially like pulmonaria, which seems to like our funny soil. As do docks - which I have just noticed needs weeding out next to it...

Busy afternoon seed planting and other things

 Lots of seeds for delicious veg and herbs started by our seed-sowing dream team.

Lots of seeds for delicious veg and herbs started by our seed-sowing dream team.

 We needed to move last year's parsley to make room for the sweet peas - I hope we will get a bit more crop from it before we replace it with new plants.

We needed to move last year's parsley to make room for the sweet peas - I hope we will get a bit more crop from it before we replace it with new plants.

 The other sweet pea wigwam, with a few bedding plants... hope they won't compete too much for resources.

The other sweet pea wigwam, with a few bedding plants... hope they won't compete too much for resources.

 The living willow in the circle (aka 'Reggie's tent') is alive and starting to sprout leaves. Will be good to see it green and a bit less twiggy.

The living willow in the circle (aka 'Reggie's tent') is alive and starting to sprout leaves. Will be good to see it green and a bit less twiggy.

 We have started a second raised bed for squash and courgettes - our aim is to make an arch between the two to grow some of them up. All recycled wood from air conditioning deliveries. And a lot of digging from our dream digging team.

We have started a second raised bed for squash and courgettes - our aim is to make an arch between the two to grow some of them up. All recycled wood from air conditioning deliveries. And a lot of digging from our dream digging team.

Pond news and things blooming

 The newt is camera shy, but we have some pretty native pond flowers in bloom at the moment.

The newt is camera shy, but we have some pretty native pond flowers in bloom at the moment.

We don't have any frogspawn at the moment but we saw our first newt today... very excited. 

The wet week has brought on lots of the bulbs (and weeds).

 We planted our sweet pea plants out, which is always exciting. And then followed on with some direct sown peas, as an insurance.

We planted our sweet pea plants out, which is always exciting. And then followed on with some direct sown peas, as an insurance.

Lovely to see so many people in the garden this afternoon... and even a new puppy, which is possibly why there were so many children in the garden.

Happy Easter holidays

We were nervous about waiting until Easter Monday to share cake - due to the dire weather forecast - so got a bit festive today instead/as well. Not many gardeners or regular tea drinkers. But lots of families (some running off the sugar rush from eating too much chocolate earlier on) - very nice to meet you all.

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Ribbet

 One of two frogs found in the raised bed hole - it was a bit muddy and not very interested in our dogwood hoop making...

One of two frogs found in the raised bed hole - it was a bit muddy and not very interested in our dogwood hoop making...

We had a lovely afternoon in the garden on Monday - with two new people joining in and old friends coming back to see us. One of us dug out a new raised bed and started to make the walls. Several of us cutting dogwood in the park and learning how to make hoops with it. We will use the hoops, of different sizes and colours at one of the local primary school's garden on Thursday and maybe at events later in the year. We tried but failed to make a bird for our throne nest with the dogwood but it isn't long, or flexible, enough for the armature we have started; we will need to find some willow instead...

Planting starts - and tadpole update

Despite the threat of more cold weather, we decided to be cautiously optimistic and start to plant some seeds in our newly topped-up raised beds.

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Our new terraced beds with some chives, red onion sets and various veg and herb seeds.

 As well as 'loose seeds', we are trying out some seed tapes, which have come all the way from Hungary. These have some herb seeds embedded in them. 

As well as 'loose seeds', we are trying out some seed tapes, which have come all the way from Hungary. These have some herb seeds embedded in them. 

 When we have a garden session, and if there are children around, we like to scoop up a little of our frogspawn for closer inspection. The eggs are starting to develop from just dots into commas. And we were delighted to find a tiny tadpole with gills, which swam vigorously around the yogurt pot. We put them back carefully after an hour or so. We are hoping the cold weather this week doesn't damage the spawn. Maybe our visiting frogs will return too for some more egg laying...

When we have a garden session, and if there are children around, we like to scoop up a little of our frogspawn for closer inspection. The eggs are starting to develop from just dots into commas. And we were delighted to find a tiny tadpole with gills, which swam vigorously around the yogurt pot. We put them back carefully after an hour or so. We are hoping the cold weather this week doesn't damage the spawn. Maybe our visiting frogs will return too for some more egg laying...

The pair of mallard ducks also had a pleasant afternoon on and next to the pond, until another drake came to visit - but he was quickly seen off.

Busy day in the garden

We had a very productive day in the garden on Thursday. We had a big team from Community Payback, plus several Streets and Open Spaces staff, people dropping by and helping out. We planned to:

  • Get some old paving slabs, found in the garden, laid perfectly by the club hut door so we can make a ramp for easier access;
  • Start to prepare a base for a new storage shed, with the spare soil being used to top up the raised beds;
  • Clean and re-varnish the benches and the picnic table;
  • Start to prepare a meadow bed by the bare fence in the park.

We didn't plan to witness a massive fight in the pond from two drakes... or have sun so strong at least one person applied sunscreen. Quite a day.

 

 Three ducks looking very peaceful after their earlier scrapping... 

Three ducks looking very peaceful after their earlier scrapping... 

 The ugly bed by the fence - a first step in making a mini meadow

The ugly bed by the fence - a first step in making a mini meadow

Returning to breed?

 The ducks are back... five of them this afternoon - so we wondered if they were the ducklings that hatched in the garden last year. One female was extremely noisy in the session so we were relieved they flew off, eventually.

The ducks are back... five of them this afternoon - so we wondered if they were the ducklings that hatched in the garden last year. One female was extremely noisy in the session so we were relieved they flew off, eventually.

 The Purple for Polio crocuses are also back - we haven't counted them to see if there are more or less than the 5,000 planted in November 2016. Apparently the ones planted in Queens Green are very good too.

The Purple for Polio crocuses are also back - we haven't counted them to see if there are more or less than the 5,000 planted in November 2016. Apparently the ones planted in Queens Green are very good too.

 And really, excitingly, just as we were leaving this evening we spotted some large clumps of frogspawn - maybe from the tadpoles that hatched last year. It is at the back of the pond, so please watch it from the tarmac path - or you might fall in. Hopefully we will get come more closer to the dipping platform. We want it to do well so we have lots of tadpoles.  And looking at the photo I took at the start of the afternoon, the ducks hadn't eaten it either. We will keep you posted...

And really, excitingly, just as we were leaving this evening we spotted some large clumps of frogspawn - maybe from the tadpoles that hatched last year. It is at the back of the pond, so please watch it from the tarmac path - or you might fall in. Hopefully we will get come more closer to the dipping platform. We want it to do well so we have lots of tadpoles.

And looking at the photo I took at the start of the afternoon, the ducks hadn't eaten it either. We will keep you posted...

New garden plan

 Tuscan Hills perennial meadow - from   Pictorial Meadows  . It has several plants that do well in our thin free draining soil.

Tuscan Hills perennial meadow - from Pictorial Meadows. It has several plants that do well in our thin free draining soil.

Finally got around to updating the garden plan diagram - on version 25 now.

It made me realise how much we have done since the last one in September: new oak bench, new redcurrant bed, cordon and standard apple trees planted, new painted terraced raised bed, willow throne (almost done). And the usual maintenance of existing beds, plants and structures.

The meadow seeds will be ordered by Guy this week. We will try out a new perennial Pictorial meadow seed mix (Tuscan Hills) and re-sow three beds with another Pictorial Meadows annual mix. One of the beds we will convert into plants - and we have started digging that one over already.

Fingers crossed we get some reasonable gardening weather soon...