REMEMBER the damp dark days of November? That’s when we planted the tulips that exploded into colour in the Pleasure Garden as soon as the cold eased off.
We’ve had many appreciative comments from passersby, and a kind message from a local resident saying, ‘I walk past your gardens on my way to the station each morning. I think they both look great and at the moment the pleasure garden is particularly pleasing with its array of flowers.’
Our new gnome, anonymously donated, has had more mixed reviews. No one has stolen him.
The flush of spring flowers is fading now, but these photos from Ali Tremlett, Charlotte Eastop and me show them at their peak.
Later we’ll be planting out a fresh batch of annuals – Tagetes ‘Burning Embers’, ‘Crimson Velvet’ snapdragons, echinacea – currently growing on our ‘nursery’ pallets in the Kitchen Garden. (Our pallet tables seem to confuse the slugs enough to keep seedlings safe. Ish.)
THAT’S tulip bulbs, and also the little lightbulbs above the Glazebrook Growers’ heads as they reflect on the 2017 growing season and look ahead to the spring. Read on for the Growers’ midwinter thoughts and wishes, shared over Christmas. Then enjoy pics of the rainiest Garden event ever, our bulb planting session. That, weirdly, we enjoyed.
An abundant midwinter, and Growers’ thoughts…
I really enjoyed the day in April we all spent working together in the Pleasure Garden, we accomplished a lot that day and it was a good feeling.
I enjoyed having a rivalry with Jeanine over the height of her black kale.
I’m just amazed that we are going to have beds full of healthy (ish) plants on Christmas Day – definitely a lesson learned for me..!
As for wishes, I would like to improve on my growing skills, (this year my tomatoes didn’t show themselves). It was nice to have the great additional beds and to bring in more folks with all the busy energy that entailed from those involved.
I’ve enjoyed the Paul Richens workshops – particularly about fertilising soil and worms etc. Also satisfying to eat home-grown Kale in the middle of winter.
2018 we hope to grow some sweet potatoes and having richly composted soil!
Highlights of 2017: Workdays with neighbours and visitors from other estates and growing projects – somehow it’s always been a pleasure, even in the drizzle. Paul & Harry manoeuvring massive timbers in spite of dodgy backs. Seeing Growers who only started a year ago become more confident gardeners, and their plants suddenly a lot more happy. Does moving to a whole bed to yourself give you a boost? It seems like it.
For 2018: My wish is for more confident gardeners, more happy plants, insects, birds. Hope to be welcoming new faces and putting down deeper roots for our group.
A thought… ‘Feeding the soil’ was the lightbulb moment for me and I loved Paul’s workshop teaching us about all the different ways of doing this… the beautiful circle of using our homemade compost to create compost tea and add further nourishment with what would have been prior to this garden just more waste going to the landfill. Since learning about compost tea, worm tea, comfrey tea and seaweed my vegetables have grown like the weeds I love so much (as a herbalist)… and the bounty of food even moving into the winter darkness has shown me just what magic can happen when we work with the seasons and prioritise feeding the soil.
Wish for 2018… I’d like to bring more awareness of the weeds all around us that are medicine to our estate / gardening group… so I’m planning to offer a medicine walk around the Kitchen Garden and into Bel Air park in late Spring / early Summer. Perhaps if there is a spare bed we can dedicate it to growing some ‘weeds’ and do a medicine making workshop come Autumn…
Bulb planting & close of season celebration
LAST NOVEMBER we welcomed familiar and new faces from Croxted Road Estate, as well as guests of honour from One Tree Hill Allotments and Rosendale Estate (thank you Martin, and Elaine and family) for a day tending the Pleasure Garden. 110 tulip bulbs were planted – their fiery colours will complement our Hotbed flowers – and leaves raked and stashed away to make leaf mould. Then fire, mulled wine and marshmallows provided an antidote to the damp, damp weather…
ON 22ND APRIL, the Glazebrook Growers tapped into Capital Growth’s Big Dig day, Kew Gardens’ Grow Wild initiative, and the support of our Tenants & Residents Association to get together and plant up our new Pleasure Garden. Anne Cleary reports.
FIFTEEN ADULTS and lots of children turned up to make a wonderful Big Dig Saturday in the Croxted Road Pleasure Garden. The sun even came out! Sam, Paul and I erected the big gazebo which was fun, and under it Gina organised all the hospitality, with sandwiches, cakes, crisps, drinks and a homemade cake from Georgina.
Sam and Paul did a lot of the digging, but the women were magnificent too: Madeleine proved to be a very strong digger, as did our Grow Wild mentor, Jess. We created a large, curvy bed for the wildflowers, which Jess then taught us how to scatter correctly.
Madeleine did much of the digging for a Tunnel of Beans with Harry, and new Grower Paul then assisted Harry in erecting the canes for the runner beans to climb up. Gina started planting up our new Hotbed of Flowers with young plants raised from seed on the estate, and Zoë oversaw everything, giving advice and instruction as needed.
Theresa at the potting table
Ali drew on her gardening experience to lead the group potting on flower seedlings, showing Theresa, Charlotte and some of the children how it’s done. Sarah from Capital Growth had dropped by to see how we were doing, and also lent a hand. The children were magnificent, enthusiastic, willing to help with everything and to take instructions from the grown ups. As you can see from the photographs they were involved in every task and didn’t flag. I was very impressed.
It was a great day; I really enjoyed being out in the fresh air and having fun, doing something positive with my neighbours.