Swimming around on the pond

Mrs Mallard and her ducklings, having a swim in the early evening sun

Mrs Mallard and her ducklings, having a swim in the early evening sun

On Wednesday, we spotted twelve baby ducklings and their mother swimming on the pond. But we shouldn't be surprised if they dwindle in number over the next few days and weeks.

According to our pond advisor: they should be eating insects (and not sliced bread) so please don't be tempted to feed them. Although they are very cute, we'd like them to fly (or waddle) away fairly soon or our pond will just become a muddy duck pond and we won't have good pond dipping opportunities.

Sometimes, you have to be cruel to be kind...

In fact, on Thursday, a similar sized group were spotted in a garden across the road from the park so maybe they are hunting for the safest place to be with the tastiest food (or had been reading this webpage).

Cubs in the garden

Doughnut bubbles

Doughnut bubbles

As part of our RHS Greening Grey Britain project, we welcomed the Tuesday group of the 28th cubs along last evening. We:

  • Hunted for strawberries of several types;
  • Tasted some ripe blackcurrants;
  • Harvested a few baby carrots - and kept the tops for Emma's guinea pigs;
  • Pulled a straw bale to pieces and used it to mulch the strawberry and onion beds;
  • Planted some young lavender plants - with RHS gloves and tools;
  • Looked at the moth mullein caterpillars, which are munching the mullein plants - but didn't vomit at us.
  • Toasted some marshmallows and drank hot chocolate;
  • And perfected making giant bubbles, using RHS garden tubs.
White  'Snow White' strawberries (pineberries), with their new mulch. They are just starting (eat them when they are slightly yellow and soft) but were very popular - they are sweet and have a hint pineapple.

White  'Snow White' strawberries (pineberries), with their new mulch. They are just starting (eat them when they are slightly yellow and soft) but were very popular - they are sweet and have a hint pineapple.

It was really good to welcome back the cubs and their adult helpers on a warm Summer evening - the last time they came in November 2016 to plant crocus bulbs the weather was about as bad as it could be.

Big Walkers in the garden

Enjoying some simple food together in the garden

Enjoying some simple food together in the garden

On Weds 7 June, we welcomed a party of Big Walkers to the garden for a(n impromptu) Little Get-Together. These were people from the Eden Project/Jo Cox Foundation on their way from Batley to London for the Great Get-Together weekend.

We 'bring and shared' snacks from around the world and then tasted some delicious vegetarian Sri Lankan curries and rice. It was very chilled, the weather was good, and a good way to meet new people and make new friends.

We had invited garden volunteers, social walkers and local people interested in community projects especially those to do with loneliness and health. We also welcomed anyone who happened to be in the garden that evening...

Going up

Wigwam and A-frame crazy...

Wigwam and A-frame crazy...

We have been having fun making vertical structures again - this time to grow runner beans and climbing French beans. But they also look good on the very flat ex-bowling green.

Overnight these white daisies started to flower too - all self-seeded on the disturbed soil next to the pond. Very frothy.

Overnight these white daisies started to flower too - all self-seeded on the disturbed soil next to the pond. Very frothy.

Tall poppy syndrome... over the woven fence...

Tall poppy syndrome... over the woven fence...

We have wheat growing - no idea where this seed came from.

We have wheat growing - no idea where this seed came from.

Our seed potatoes are also growing tall - so we have added extra slats and earthed them up (must paint that sign).

Our seed potatoes are also growing tall - so we have added extra slats and earthed them up (must paint that sign).

Even our red hot pokers are growing tall with the sun and rain we have had recently (don't look at the thistle next door).

Even our red hot pokers are growing tall with the sun and rain we have had recently (don't look at the thistle next door).

Sweet williams...

Sweet williams...

Globe artichoke (rescued from a bulldozer) doing well in one of the the veg ditches.

Globe artichoke (rescued from a bulldozer) doing well in one of the the veg ditches.

Hanging habitat and plants on the move

We hope the hanging basket construction will be good for ladybirds, lacewings and spiders to hang out - and we like the way it looks.

We hope the hanging basket construction will be good for ladybirds, lacewings and spiders to hang out - and we like the way it looks.

We finally got around to using and fixing two of the hanging baskets (and brackets) we were donated some time ago, now filled with pine cones, dried leaves and straw.

We also made a start on our scented mini garden around a bench. The soil was dug over by the Community Payback team and we enriched it with well-rotted horse manure.

First planting - and looking a bit floppy. We have an upright rosemary, three kinds of sage, lavenders, scented geraniums, thyme and an edging of chives (divided from a big clump we were donated. We will soon buy a climbing rose, alpine clematis and a dwarf honeysuckle, maybe a dwarf lilac and a winter flowering honeysuckle. And then add some bulbs later on.

First planting - and looking a bit floppy. We have an upright rosemary, three kinds of sage, lavenders, scented geraniums, thyme and an edging of chives (divided from a big clump we were donated. We will soon buy a climbing rose, alpine clematis and a dwarf honeysuckle, maybe a dwarf lilac and a winter flowering honeysuckle. And then add some bulbs later on.

Our salad bed is looking amazing - the curly and flat-leaved parsley and chard had germinated really well so we had lots of plants to thin out - some we potted them on to give away and made more rows in the bed too.

Some rather floppy thinned parsley plants in our salad row - when they perk up, we will probably move them on again.

Some rather floppy thinned parsley plants in our salad row - when they perk up, we will probably move them on again.

Calling all stag beetles

11 May: accommodation is ready for stag beetles. We might make the top a bit prettier for humans though...

11 May: accommodation is ready for stag beetles. We might make the top a bit prettier for humans though...

We have made a habitat for you to live in - we know you are rather rare but you would be very welcome. Nice tree trunks half-buried in a deep hole so the wood will rot.

12 May. A very big, deep hole - you can see all the layers under the bowling green - and why some of our plants struggle: sandy 'dust', overlying clinker, hardcore and chalky clay.

12 May. A very big, deep hole - you can see all the layers under the bowling green - and why some of our plants struggle: sandy 'dust', overlying clinker, hardcore and chalky clay.

Thanks to the hard work of Community Payback for doing this with our garden volunteers - and Guy for the tree trunks.

Cubs in the garden

Taking cuttings from our mint tea narrow raised bed, made out of an old wheelbarrow

Taking cuttings from our mint tea narrow raised bed, made out of an old wheelbarrow

On Monday 8 May we welcomed the 28th Cambridge cubs and also Alison from the RHS for a practical gardening skills - and fun - evening in the garden.

We sowed seed, took cuttings into gel pots, learned about compost and leaf mould, dug for compost worms and mulched strawberry beds. And drank hot chocolate - it was a really cold evening.