28 September 2019
I’ve written earlier about how tricky it can be to grow wild flowers, and how we’ve been warned that poppies prefer to grow in newly-disturbed soil – we knew about the ‘disturbed’ bit, but just how often can we produce the ‘newly-disturbed’ area they like? Anyway, we had another go this year, and in line with not digging or forking the soil over (because it destroys the soil structure), we just hoed it after lifting this year’s dead poppies.
Then a couple of weeks ago, the children from the local preschool (Mentmore Road Under-Fives) came round to help us. They raked the soil level again and added leaf mould liberally, then sowed pinches of poppy seed saved from this year’s crop. Then the seed had to be in good contact with the soil – in some situations, this is done by animals trampling the seed in, so the children duly became very obedient cows, and stomped all over the area they’d sown. They thoroughly enjoyed being not only allowed to step on the bare earth, but positively encouraged to do so!
Here they are helping us get the poppies well into the earth
And ten days later, their seeds germinated; there are hundreds of tiny seedlings that you can just see if you know where to look. When the children came round again this week to lift the carrots they’ve been growing, they were able to see how well they’d sown them. And we know we’ll have poppies again in June, as usual.
10 September 2019
We’ve just heard that Leighton Buzzard and Linslade has retained its Gold award from ‘Anglia In Bloom’ for the fourth year running – great news.
This is great recognition for all the work done over the past year by the In Bloom volunteers, the Town Council staff, and South Beds Friends of the Earth (who look after Linslade Memorial Gardens, and some 18 other wildlife-friendly sites round the town). And ‘Keep the Buzz in Leighton Buzzard’, the campaign run jointly by the Town Council and South Beds Friends of the Earth, was nominated in the Best Conservation Project category – that’s the community gardening equivalent of being nominated for an Oscar! We didn’t win it, but it’s not so much about winning, as about being assessed by experts and found to be doing a great job.
So thanks in particular to everyone who helps us look after Linslade Memorial Gardens – the team of local residents, members of South Beds Friends of the Earth who help in so many ways, the Town Council, who support us in everything we do here, the various organisations and businesses around town who collect leaves for us (to make leaf mould, which improves the soil), the many passers-by who stop to chat and encourage us and thank us, Mentmore Road Under-Fives, whose delight in the place is such a joy. Its great to be assessed as doing well; but mainly, it’s a privilege to be able to make these gardens a peaceful haven for people and wildlife, and, we hope, contribute to being a fitting memorial to those who gave their lives in war.
08 September 2019
Back in April, the children from our local preschool had a great time planting out some tomato plants, and they’ve enjoyed watering them on subsequent visits. It’s been hard keeping the plants watered over the long, dry summer holidays, but we’ve had enough tomatoes for all the children, including a few for the older children who often come round to see the gardens even though they’ve moved on to school and are no longer involved regularly.
Here are a couple of photos of some of the children harvesting their crop:
It’s really good to see how pleased they are – as gardeners, we just see a poor crop because of the drought, and we make a note to add much more compost and leaf mould this year to try and retain more moisture. But they’re just delighted with the very sweet, tiny tomatoes they’ve grown.
Looking ahead, it’s nearly time to sow the poppies in the bed nearest the car park, and this year we have some very special helpers – watch this space!