A lot has been happening in the garden this month, as I’m sure you’ve seen. The Open Garden Estates was a good incentive and deadline to get the garden looking nice. This is the first time that this event has been organised across the borough, mainly to draw attention to Lambeth’s demolition, sorry – ‘regeneration’, of their estates. Whilst we didn’t have many visitors coming to view our gardens, it was still great publicity to be featured, with photos, in the Brixton Buzz.
The first thing I wanted to do was to get the garden notice board put up – a finishing touch to our Edible Garden. My kitchen fitter made it free of charge, then presented me with the bill for materials – £180! I spent a further £180 on getting the graphics made, printed on aluminium, so that should last us quite a few years. It was a way of saying ‘thank you’ to the companies who gave us money towards the gardens over the past year, and also a way to inform and engage residents in the garden itself.
The posts took me nearly all day to dig out – as I kept hitting rubble from the block of flats that once stood in the centre of our square.
The Noticeboard has the permanent graphics on the outside, facing out towards the street, as a way of introducing the garden to visitors, and the other side has a blackboard, pin board and leaflet dispenser for publicising our gardening events. I’ve also made a series of information sheets to inform people what they can propagate, plant out and harvest. These will also be put up in the greenhouses at the rear of the community hall.
I also refreshed the laminated information sheets, which had got water logged, on the wormery, propagation garden, bottle bin and tumbling composters.
Here’s a photo of two volunteers that assisted in the Open Garden Estates, part of the London Festival of Architecture. I think this is a really good initiative, and whilst this year was a bit of a dry-run for us, I think next year we could really make a day of it, with a bake sale, plant sale, Edmundsbury ‘Ginger Beer’ and homemade lemonade.
The water garden (pond), suggested by one of the residents, was an idea to attract frogs and toads who eat the caterpillars and bugs that attack our lettuces. I had put the laminated sign up before there was any sign of frogs themselves, though I had discovered several families of toads behind the community hall. These two frogs are lovely specimens, and I was delighted to see them and hope they enjoy (and stay) in their new home!
We got some free fertiliser from Bruno at Pop Brixton (if anyone’s there – please pick up as many bags as you can carry!) – and also a tray of plants for our new ‘Shade Garden’, underneath the cherry tree. Only mud (not grass) grew under the tree, and the red hot poker was a magnet for slugs and snails. The tray of 24 plants were a fantastic bonus to our hostas, ferns, lilies, heuchera, grasses, coleus and a fantastic hydrangea, which Monty and I bought at the garden centre at Cross Ways (Wallington).
This garden inspired the transformation of another muddy area under a tree, this time outside of Fosbury House – thanks to Lynda. And despite not having as many plants to hand (I bought some black and Japanese grasses and ferns), residents have been spontaneously planting this week. Every time I look at it there’s something else there.
And whilst we haven’t quite seen summer yet, we’re already harvesting crops.
The strawberries are ripening, the lettuces are getting bigger, the courgettes are looking amazing, the herb garden is going mad, and the rhubarb is tasting fantastic, along with Brian’s potatoes and the radishes that Judith harvested.
Keep up all the amazing work and I hope to see you at the next gardening session, with community gardener extraordinary Poppy. Our events calendar has all the dates of the future gardening sessions on.
- Monday 11th July 7-9pm
- Monday 22 August 7-9pm
- Monday 12th Sept 7-9pm
- Monday 10th Oct 6:30 till 8:30pm