FLOWERS attract bees and passers-by

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A quick trip down to the garden with my camera this morning turned into an hour of marvelling at the number of bumble bees on the purple flowers whose name I’ve temporarily forgotten…I could sit and watch them all day.
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We haven’t grown these before so I’m not sure how long the flowering lasts, but we have plenty of Lavender and Hyssop about to flower so hope the bees tell all their friends via the bee dance. Valerian is having a great year and we have it in three colours behind the back fence with plenty of Buddleia for butterflies.
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The wildflower meadow we had so much fun sowing with is already brightening up the corner of our plot. We had a family of blue tits in the “meadow birdbox” but now that they have fledged we’ll be able to sow more seed to fill in any gaps. The nestbox will be cleaned out and with luck we may have another brood this year.

Vegetables are coming along nicely – we have red cabbage; tomatoes, peas, kolrabi, lettuces, oats, calvo nero, curly kale, parsnips,carrots,onions, garlic, spinach, squash and rather amazing globe artichokes.
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We’re training our beans up the fence by the pavement and hope passers-by will enjoy a bit of scrumping on their way to the station. Unfortunately snails have discovered our vegetables and they are chomping their way through our brassicas, potatoes and beans. The peas and broad beans have escaped their ravages and they show no interest at all in carrots or parsnips. Some gather them up and put them over the fence while others surreptitiously step on them – each to his own… but the snails always seem to have the advantage. Maybe our tadpoles will grow into frogs that gobble up snails.

July may bring a heatwave and with school holidays coming up we hope that local kids will be tempted in to help us keep the raised beds watered. The garden is such a peaceful sun trap we’reexpecting lots of new volunteers to come along and enjoy growing together this summer.

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A BLANKET OF SNOW

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Fresh snow brings transitory beauty to a scruffy urban area like Western Road and I find myself wishing for a lot more of it….
enough to build a row of gardener snowmen and women ….and perhaps some snowdogs too.

A few of us got together for a photo opportunity in the garden today when our local community policman Mark Dicker handed over a cheque for £250 to help us with running expenses in the garden. The police have been very supportive to us from the word go and really understand what a positive impact the garden has locally. Big thanks to them!

Broad beans and herbs

Broad beans and herbs

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Our wheelchair friendly grid pathway into the tunnel

Our wheelchair friendly grid pathway into the tunnel


The rich liquid fertilizer run-off from the wormery soon fills the red can.

The rich liquid fertilizer run-off from the wormery soon fills the red can.


Cat has moved the wormery into the polytunnel to protect the worms from any hard frost and they are really thriving now. It was donated by a well-wisher and these worms are going to make a massive difference to our next growing season.
close-up of our wonderful worms

close-up of our wonderful worms


Amanda's Sweet Peas
The sweet peas that Amanda planted in the Autumn are proving to be highly resilient and it was a joy to see them poking through the snow today and the marigolds simply refuse to stop flowering!
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GROUNDWORKS

Two very hard-working guys, Jason and Hassan, from Veolia came to help us last Wednesday and their main task was to clear the debris and buddleia roots away so that it would be all clear for fencing. Determination is great but sometimes there nothing quite like man-power to lift and shift.

Saturday was our first big volunteer work day. The men from Tate fencing¬† were on site first thing and after a slight misunderstanding about the position of the gates, they got stuck in. We now have a pair of very big gates but the old blue hoarding had to go back up, so still no fence…yet!
Saturday was a joy though and everyone who came along really got stuck into the hard work of levelling the end of the site. It was real chain gang stuff – shovelling and carrying rocks and rubble, spreading shingle and laying down pallets for the containers. There is nothing quite like working hard together when the sun shines – and luckily it came out and did just that, as did everyone who came to help. We achieved!

This week the meadow seed is being delivered and we have some topsoil to spread before that can be sown. We’ve also ordered a metal shed with donated money ( thank you)
and we’ve got helpers coming on Thursday to put it up – weather forecast is grim, so that might speed things up! Tomorrow is another volunteer workday and may be our first chance to put some compost in the containers – I’m desperate to take some pictures of green growing stuff as most of these look like we’re on an archaeological dig in Palestine.
Official Garden opening at 6pm on 29th June.

PLANNING PERMISSION GRANTED

Celebrations all round – we have been given planning permission for the garden and the digger is booked to remove the rubble and level the site next week.Our public meeting will be on Thursday where we hope to sign up lots of volunteers.

There ain’t no stoppin’ us now!

Finally, the sun has come out

We’ve been plotting, planning and potting-on like fury and are still surprised by how long everything is taking. Our planning consent should be through within a week and today we had an informal meeting with local police on the site. They were very helpful and are enthusiastic about the garden and the positive affect it will have on the neighbourhood. Plus they’ve promised we will top of their list to receive compost and flowerpots the next time they successfully raid a cannabis factory locally. It makes perfect sense.

Our final hurdle before we begin laying out the garden is to hold an open meeting for local residents to address any fears they have and see about setting up a rota of volunteers. We realise that we should have done this a while back, but you have to start somewhere and its been a steep learning curve for us too.

The good thing is that the Moveable Feast Garden is definitely going to open in June! All the seedlings we’ve been nurturing will be planted out in the large containers and we will get our own little gardens back.¬† In mine, as you can see, there’s not even space to sit down with seedlings on every raised surface as I battle to keep them off the ground and out of reach of the armies of slugs and snails that want to come dine with me every night.