I haven't put anything on the web for some time. Not that we haven't been busy, more that the weather hasn't been very photo-friendly.
It has been a busy time in the garden since the Funpalace:
We have been focusing on making a new living willow circle structure - now almost complete, apart from the living willow. So far, we have made three hazel-pole arches with hazel poles between.
Update 19 December: we harvested willow from the allotment and planted it on 18 December. Looking forward to seeing it sprout in the Spring!
We have also planned for some fruit trees, which we will order soon and plant from December.
We have planted up two new beds by the water tower - one for clematis and a shadier one.
And the leaves are falling fast, which meant lots of moving of two-year old leaf mould to make way for the new season's harvest.
It is also a time of year for 'taking down'... including climbing beans, courgettes and rhubarb. But this makes space for mulching and moving and re-thinking.
Wow, what a Sunday. We think we had about 500 people of all ages visiting us, having FUN.
We are still working our way through the various photos but here are a few to start us off.
Massive thanks to everyone who planned, donated, lent, led, helped, performed and rescued us. We couldn't have done this for our community without our amazing community. You rock. And we even painted rocks.
Yesterday, we had a very successful return visit from the Community Payback team. One of the things they did was start to prepare for a living willow structure in the garden. Currently, it looks a bit like an archeological dig. The shallow trench is where they dug out barrows and barrows of clinker - so the willow will have a healthier root run. We will soon fill these in, add hazel arches, weed suppressant membrane and then wait for the willow season to start.
We are not sure what to call it - we like names - one of the Payback team thought it was a bower but then told us about what used to happen in bowers and we are not sure we want to encourage too much of that in the garden! We might need to warn the nearby Rosie Hospital of a peak in births in Springtime...
The team were really hard working and good company and we hope to have them back again soon. The day was arranged for us by Streets and Open Spaces and Ed the City Ranger joined us for some of the day too. At least one of the team also worked on our Wulfstan Way raingardens in May.
Despite the threat of rain, we have had some good gardening sessions this Sunday and Monday - even if we did have to run for cover at least once. It is quite exciting gardening with the rumble of thunder overhead - but we decided not to stay outside in lightning.
We planted some daffodil bulbs, which we had saved from Council roundabouts (thanks Grant and Tony). We have hyacinths and tulips to come...
We sowed some (late season) veg seeds, did some general tidying and planning for this Autumn and Winter and next year.
We seem to have spent a lot of time just eating cake in the garden recently. On Sunday, we got back to doing some gardening in the mild but not too hot weather. Lots of people knuckling down.
What a hot, sunny bank holiday. A perfect afternoon for finding a shady spot under some Swedish Whitebeam trees, with a gentle breeze, and catching up with Nightingale garden friends. So that is what we did - although Julian was heroic and worked on the water tower structure, putting us to shame.
Next Sunday, back to work... if it isn't too hot.
Update on 4 September: it wasn't too hot and Julian and Justin made good progress on the tower. We decided it needed a name - the ones suggested by children were extremely long - so we have decided to call it Falling Water. Partly because we watched a documentary on Frank Lloyd Wright and partly because we have decided we will try to make it catch water for us as well as provide housing for bugs and a support for a new - to be planted - clematis.
We have been so busy recently, we haven't updated the website... and in some cases because it has taken us a while to finish things - or start them.
Earlier this year, we registered with the Blooms for Bees citizen science project. This involved growing from seed three colours (white, red and purple) of Mignon Series dahlias. These are now growing well in small bed in front of the club hut (and we will put a poster up about them today).
These 'bedding dahlias' are 'single' (simple flowers), nectar-rich and known to be liked by bumblebees. The scientists now want to find out if these bees have a preference for flower colour. We are doing the survey by counting the number of bumblebees on each colour of flower for 5 minutes each.
If you'd like to do this too (you need to be a registered participant), send your counts to our garden volunteers at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can enter them online for you.
You will need to tell us:
- On what date you did the count;
- The number of open flower heads included for each colour.
- The number of bumblebees on each colour in 5 mins each.
- If you can, identify the type of bumblebee (but this is quite tricky - they move fast!).
More info: www.bloomsforbees.co.uk
Or just enjoy watching bees on the flowers!