Hail... a small army of barrowers!

What an extraordinary afternoon. Two of us got verily hailed on cycling to the garden, assuming no-one else was silly enough to join us.

But we ended up with six willing volunteers and two tea drinkers and got masses done.

At one point we had to take cover as another hailstorm deposited a layer of icy pearls all over the garden - and they also bounced into the club hut where we were scoffing cake and keeping warm with hot drinks.

But later on it was sunny and very beautiful.

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A swoosh of sterile mulch now just waiting to be sown with perennial seed mix. Lots of barrowing and raking. We will mulch the weeded beds too.

The new and old raised beds got a top mulch of soil conditioner too.

The new and old raised beds got a top mulch of soil conditioner too.

We planted a kiwi berry in the central bed. Eventually, it will give us a heavy crop of grape-sized kiwi-fruit tasting fruits, which don’t need peeling. We will need to make a climbing structure for it.

We planted a kiwi berry in the central bed. Eventually, it will give us a heavy crop of grape-sized kiwi-fruit tasting fruits, which don’t need peeling. We will need to make a climbing structure for it.

Beds for hungry veg will get a mulch too - here, the over-wintering garlic is growing well, before we put runner beans in later on.

Beds for hungry veg will get a mulch too - here, the over-wintering garlic is growing well, before we put runner beans in later on.

Spawn has arrived!

We had a good Gardeners Group meeting at lunchtime today, although we had to take cover to the club hut - the wind was very strong, cold and noisy. Notes to follow on the Gardening page.

First spotted on Saturday - and a large frog to go with it. They seem to like to lay it in the shallow parts of the pond.

First spotted on Saturday - and a large frog to go with it. They seem to like to lay it in the shallow parts of the pond.

The largest area of frogspawn. Lots of it.

The largest area of frogspawn. Lots of it.

We are enjoying these small daffodils. I think we need to plant more bulbs next year. They fill in a gap after snowdrops and before tulips. We have hyacinths coming into flower too.

We are enjoying these small daffodils. I think we need to plant more bulbs next year. They fill in a gap after snowdrops and before tulips. We have hyacinths coming into flower too.

We are doing lots of cutting back and weeding at the moment - to give new growth, such as this rhubarb and fennel  more space.

We are doing lots of cutting back and weeding at the moment - to give new growth, such as this rhubarb and fennel more space.

This early rhubarb is doing well - but we shouldn’t crop it too hard - it is still a baby plant - rescued from a nearby garden about to be bulldozed.

This early rhubarb is doing well - but we shouldn’t crop it too hard - it is still a baby plant - rescued from a nearby garden about to be bulldozed.

Justin’s garlic is doing well in the runner bean bed. I can spot some thistles too!

Justin’s garlic is doing well in the runner bean bed. I can spot some thistles too!

Taking it easy in the sun... while the rest of us toiled (and drank tea)

We think the ducks liked sitting on the hot rock - and then they spent the afternoon splashing around and swimming.

We think the ducks liked sitting on the hot rock - and then they spent the afternoon splashing around and swimming.

We had two very productive afternoons in the hot February sun (we don’t type that often).

Purple for Polio crocuses fully out in the sun - around the green area - thanks to local Rotary clubs and cubs for the planting. You can see we planted them in slits in the turf.

Purple for Polio crocuses fully out in the sun - around the green area - thanks to local Rotary clubs and cubs for the planting. You can see we planted them in slits in the turf.

The start of a new climbing French bean wigwam. We hope they won’t all be at the top of this VERY TALL structure. Thanks to the willow weavers and hazel crafters.

The start of a new climbing French bean wigwam. We hope they won’t all be at the top of this VERY TALL structure. Thanks to the willow weavers and hazel crafters.

The start of some new sweet pea wigwams - thanks to the diggers and constructors. They should have better soil and will be nearer the water supply compared with our previous bed. They will remind us of all the people who love, and loved, growing sweet peas - especially two special grandfathers… The tree stakes were re-purposed from a local public art project - thanks Paul! We hope they will give a waft of fragrance near the garden gate and our scented garden and that people will cut them often to take home with them.

The start of some new sweet pea wigwams - thanks to the diggers and constructors. They should have better soil and will be nearer the water supply compared with our previous bed. They will remind us of all the people who love, and loved, growing sweet peas - especially two special grandfathers… The tree stakes were re-purposed from a local public art project - thanks Paul! We hope they will give a waft of fragrance near the garden gate and our scented garden and that people will cut them often to take home with them.

Sunny and very productive February afternoons

New raised beds. At the end of the day the crocuses close up… we put signs up to remind people not to walk on the grass edges to the green.

New raised beds. At the end of the day the crocuses close up… we put signs up to remind people not to walk on the grass edges to the green.

We had a very productive Sunday and Monday - in the sun. Lots of people on Sunday - lots of vegan raspberry cake.

New shoots of rhubarb are another sign of Spring…

New shoots of rhubarb are another sign of Spring…

Some things we finished, which is always good:

  • Small signs and the potato planters, repainted with exterior blackboard paint - thanks Immy!

  • Living willow around the pond - patches finished, membrane pegged down, cuttings planted. Thanks to everyone who has worked on these over several weeks.

  • Three new raised beds, near Rosie the horse.

And others continued weeding, digging, raking…

The new ‘sticks’ are cuttings of pretty basketry willow, from a nearby allotment. We hope they will grow into the existing fence around the pond and eventually make a living deciduous hedge around it. They will have some bark mulches soon.

The new ‘sticks’ are cuttings of pretty basketry willow, from a nearby allotment. We hope they will grow into the existing fence around the pond and eventually make a living deciduous hedge around it. They will have some bark mulches soon.

We have started an informal survey of wildlife in and around the pond. Let us know if you spot anything. Just two waterboatmen on Sunday. But we found a small frog in the area where we are making the new raised beds - and put it back there after a bit of ‘show and tell’… we like frogs.

Lots of weeding between bulbs going on at the moment - thanks Louise!

Lots of weeding between bulbs going on at the moment - thanks Louise!

Season's greetings!

One (or more) of our volunteers painted this lovely card - with our ombre shed, growing veg and, of course some happy worms.

One (or more) of our volunteers painted this lovely card - with our ombre shed, growing veg and, of course some happy worms.

We hope you have a very good Xmas break. If the weather is kind, we will meet for a very informal tea in the garden on New Year’s Day - no gardening required (maybe, even, allowed). Around 2.30 pm for about an hour. Just to see the new year in with friends. All welcome. Bring any spare cake, chocolates and fruit.

Last garden session for 2018 - Season's greetings!

Swedish (advent) saffron buns… for gardeners’ tea today

Swedish (advent) saffron buns… for gardeners’ tea today

After this afternoon, we are going to take a break until Sunday 6 January. The garden will be open every day but we won’t meet as a group on Sundays and Mondays.

Seasons greetings and wishing all our supporters - and just people who enjoy the garden - a very happy, healthy, peaceful new year.

We had a bit of a festive yarn bomb last Sunday…

We had a bit of a festive yarn bomb last Sunday…

Funny looking catkins on a tree that shouldn’t have them…

Funny looking catkins on a tree that shouldn’t have them…

Tree decorating

Our ‘natural tree’ by Nightingale Gardeners

Our ‘natural tree’ by Nightingale Gardeners

We were invited by St James church (Wulfstan Way) to decorate a tree for their Xmas tree festival on Saturday 8 December. So, we did one for Nightingale Gardeners and one for Little Nightingales. Using some hazel ‘tree outlines’ we made a couple of seasons ago.

Lots of volunteers made or brought along a ‘bauble’ or few, some with messages. We gathered greenery from the garden, laminated pressed flowers from the meadow (thanks Gill) and pressed leaves from our recent group outing to the Botanic Garden. We decorated with raffia and tied on pine cones foraged locally. Added some sweets from the club hut - thanks Owen!

Our ‘blingy’ tree by Little Nigtingales. Slightly more scissoring than tying on…

Our ‘blingy’ tree by Little Nigtingales. Slightly more scissoring than tying on…


Go wild for worms

Wally the giant worm, stuffed expertly with part-composted straw and leaves.

Wally the giant worm, stuffed expertly with part-composted straw and leaves.

We had big fun in the sunny garden yesterday. Thanks to everyone who came along, and especially those who cooked, baked, made wormeries, hunted for worms, wrote or found poems. What worm heroes!

We had two worm cakes, but I only remembered to photograph one. The other had scarily realistic homemade jelly worms on it.

We had two worm cakes, but I only remembered to photograph one. The other had scarily realistic homemade jelly worms on it.