This morning I’ll be…

at the Newton Park Horticultural Society‘s trading shed as usual, but this week in my official capacity as one of the stewards.  It’ll probably be quiet with just a few people calling in to renew their membership for next year, and to buy some raffle tickets for next week’s Christmas Party.  Following that it’s then closed for the next two Sundays before reopening on the 6th January.  My next official day isn’t until 27th January by which time we should be selling onion sets and seed potatoes.

I’ve made a tentative start on pulling up the now dead and manky pot marigolds.  Unlike most annuals these have a tap root so I have to loosen the ground, which is still dry an inch or so under the surface, first with a fork.

I’m thinking about swapping where I grow the shorter varieties of cosmos and sunflowers next year.

    

Yesterday I received an unexpected, and generous, early Christmas present which certainly put a smile on my face and which will be put to good  use.  I’ll tell you what it was, and who sent it, in a forthcoming post.

Have a good week!

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There have been…

too many damp, dull days lately so a sunny day on Tuesday was most welcome.  There had been a hard frost overnight although it was rather soggy underfoot so all I did was have a look round.

These two-tone teasels looked good, and I was pleased that the crocuses have started to appear.

Over on a neighbour’s plot I was surprised to see this rhubarb stem and leaf.

 

On my walk to and from the plot I pass Miss Froggy, who always makes me smile.

Have a good weekend!

 

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The Gardening For Disabled Trust…

is a small charity that I started supporting this year.  It gives grants to people in the UK so that they may continue to garden despite age, disability or illness.

The Gardening for Disabled Trust gave its website a major revamp during the summer following which the blog has featured weekly guest posts.  The first of these was by Alan Titchmarsh, the charity’s president, followed various other notable gardeners.  I was surprised when Anna one of the charity’s voluntary fundraisers contacted me asking if I would write a post.  Needless to say I replied that I would be delighted to do so. It’s titled A Good Cause and was published on Friday.  I hope you enjoy reading it, and the website generally.

As well as liking the charity’s objectives the Trustees and Executive Committee are all volunteers which I find admirable.

This year the charity has been celebrating it’s 50th anniversary, which must make everyone who is, and has been, associated with it proud.

The charity can be found on Facebook and Twitter , and the Trustee’s Report and Annual Account for the year ended 31 December 2017 can be read here.

Have a good week!

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Despite the mostly damp…

and dull weather so far this week I did some plotting on Monday and Tuesday mornings.

I put a new layer of wood chips on the path between the raspberries and vegetable patch, and dug out/sieved a couple more barrow loads of compost, which I’ve piled up out of the way next to the blackberry bush.  I hope to add more to this over the winter to use next spring.

In contrast to the other flowers the primulas are still doing well with new flowers, as this picture shows.

Have a good weekend!

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During the past week…

I saw a magpie drinking from one of the ponds, and one morning I arrived to see a charm of goldfinches flitting around various plots including mine.

I took these two pot marigold Flighty’s favourites photos on one of the sunny mornings.

  

All the leaves had dropped from the blackberry, blackthorn, dog rose, dogwood, raspberries and rose so I went round and collected them to add to the compost heap.

The crocosmia leaves I’ll won’t remove until the spring once new growth is visible.   It looks like I won’t be doing much plotting next week if the weather forecast, mostly damp and dull, is right so I guess that I’ll be doing some more seed sorting.

Have a good week!

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I grow sunflowers…

every year as they’re such cheerful flowers, and great for wildlife.

I’ve tried a number of varieties, of varying colours and heights, and really like the knee-high Musicbox that I’ve grown the past couple of years.  One advantage of this dwarf variety is that they don’t need staking, unlike taller ones.

 

The past three years I’ve supported the good cause The Big Sunflower Project with a link over on the right-hand side and posted pictures of sunflowers I’ve grown on the Facebook group page.  I’ve also written several guest blog posts on the Projects website,  the latest of which was earlier this month.

This year I’ve saved seeds to give to Toni, who will send them to participants next year.  It looks like there’ll be well over tw0 thousand   Musicbox seeds and nearly five hundred of the yellow unknown variety that appeared.  I also hoped to save seeds from the red and yellow Ring of Fire flower heads but the parakeets and/or squirrels got them.

 

Have a good weekend!

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A November miscellany

 

Further to last Thursday’s post here’s a closer view of the sedums which I mentioned.  As you can see the leaves and stems have gone very pale and positively glow under the dark flower heads, especially in the sunlight.

 

 

 

The red valerian in the stone feature was looking rather sorry for itself a couple of months ago so I lifted the clump, cut the stems right back, then replaced the soil before replanting it.  Thankfully it’s now looking much better.

 

 

Yesterday I ate the last of the tomatoes, a handful of the yellow Golden Sunrise.  Looking back I see that I picked the first one, a red Gardener’s Delight at the beginning of August.  It wasn’t just the good weather that made it such a good year but also the notable absence of blight which usually affects them by early September.

 

I usually buy myself a non-fiction book, often about gardening, for Christmas and this year it would almost certainly have been The Bumblebee Flies Anyway by Kate Bradbury.  However during the week I learnt that I’d won the free copy in the prize draw on Karen’s Bramble Garden blog post where she reviewed the book a couple of weeks ago.  I received the book yesterday and look forward to reading it.

 

It’s been a dry, sunny and relatively mild weekend but the weather is set to get much colder from tomorrow with a biting easterly wind making it feel close to 0C.

Have a good week!

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