"Remember, remember the 5th November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason that gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!"
mmm! I have always enjoyed "Bonfire Night" without the burning of the effigy. Standing around a raging fire with a mug of hot cocoa to warm my hands and stomach waiting for the jacket potatoes to cook.
The recent high winds have brought down huge heaps of leaves just crying out to be bagged up and composted. They'll have to cry a bit louder and the rain will have to stop before I will take notice!
This winter I am finally giving up on trying to manage the ivy that has taken over my fence. Despite my bi-annual efforts I simply am unable to keep it under control. So it has got to go. And, yes, I then will have to replace the fence panels . . .
After the proud achievement of winning a ‘gold’ at the Anglia in Bloom Event last month we now are focusing on our own award events. Last night it was the children’s turn to be awarded their certificates in recognition of both their gardening efforts and their art work.
On Monday 4th November it is the adult award ceremony and annual AGM.
Meanwhile autumn fast approaches, with the nights drawing in ever earlier and the last of the blackberries ripening on the bramble bushes. Time to pick any remaining fruit, sweep up the fallen leaves and plant spring bulbs.
Are you going away? Remember that unwatered planters/ baskets and neglected plants at the front of your property are an invitation to burglars! Perhaps a neighbour would help out?
Now is the time to sit back and relax and enjoy summer. The roses in Southend's parks have been glorious - a mass of colour. And the wild flower meadow in Southchhurch Park is worth a visit. Of course, after all this sun the blooms now need dead-heading and I was tempted to help. However I do not suppose the Parks Department would appreciate interference - I would probably be arrested for vandalism!
Thank goodness: the sun is shining. The past few months have seemed gloomier than usual and we are due a little warmth to lift our spirits. My black tulips are still blooming, their glossy petals glistening with dewdrops.The rest of my tiny town garden is a tangle of dropping foliage as I allow six weeks for the bulbs to die off. My Mother used to tie all the leaves in knots. Have no idea how she found the time in between raising six children and managing the large house.
One mor eweek and I will dare to plant out my vegetable seedlings. Cheated this year and bought them from Homebase. First I have to wage war on the snails - they have already shredded my Solomon Seal.
Dare I mention the weather?! it is only a month until midsummer's day and I have had to retrieve my cashmer jumper from winter storage.
The last of my tulips are nearly over. They are 'black', beautiful and glossy. Next comes dead-heading, then six or so weeks of straggly leaves shabbily rotting away.I tend to leave my bulbs in the ground. This winter's display was from bulbs planted in 2011.
What next? Well, I need to replace some of the soil in my pots with fresh compost before I re-plant with summer bedding.
SNAILS! The bane of my existence and scourge of my tiny garden. I kidded myself that we could co-exist. That there was enough garden for both of us. But, no, they relentlessly chomp their way through every tiny plantlet that I am nurturing, ignoring the vigorous ivy and invasive bindweed.
This morning I collected over two dozen large specimens and stomped on half a dozen baby ones. Now what? I can’t possibly squash the large ones. Not only does it make a nasty sound, it releases any unlaid eggs – and those I definitely do not need.
Maybe I should release them on the stuff at the end of my back alley. Would they crawl back? I know: I shall mark their shells with a cross so that I can recognise them again.
Meanwhile, do I have to sacrifice my principles and resort to ‘metaldehyde’ pellets?
At school I learnt that "March brings breezes sharp and shrill, Shakes the dancing daffodil" and "April brings the primrose sweet, Scatters daisies at our feet". This year it is different: "April brings the snow showers chill, Freezes the golden daffodil." Oh for some warm sunshine - and a chnace to get outside to do some gardening without feeling miserable with cold.
To walk or not to walk? After all, it is Sunday - the day when I usually stride out along the Sea Front. Gardening is out - better to leave the sprouting bulbs beneath their insulation of snow than to struggle to clear winter's debris with frozen hands. However, it is sort-of snowing: teeny particles of the white stuff slowly drifting down. No: I am NOT complaining. Southend has had an easy winter so far, compared to other areas in the UK.
Today is the day to stay in the arm and peruse seed / plant catalogues. Is it safe now to invest in "Busy Lizzies"? Last year I planted nasturtiums in my 'hanging bags' but prefer the display given by Busy Lizzies. It is easier to plant the nasturtiums: I filled bag with fresh compost them poked a seed through each hole. Next time I use seeds instead of plug plants I intend to put 2 seeds per hole in case one does not germinate.
Browsing seed catalogues brings back fond memories of my paternal grandmother. She taught me to cut out the flower images from the catalogues to arrange in my scrapbook and stick down with flour and water paste. In those austerity days immediately after The War, when words such as "upcycling" and "recycling" were not part of everyday vocabulary, it is what we DID. And as for food bins: well, all food scraps were scraped into a smelly old lidless dustbin that stood outside on the grass verge. Presumably this 'pigbin' was emptied daily - I just recall the flies and the smell. Felt really sorry for the pigs!
After last Monday’s blizzard it seems strange to realise that the Vernal Equinox is on Wednesday. It certainly does not feel as if we are near to having the same number of hours daylight as hours of darkness. Hopefully we will not have any more snow.
Anyway, spring brings with it the launch of this year’s “In Bloom” campaign.
“Oh, I couldn’t possibly enter my front garden. It isn’t good enough.”
Committee Members hear that comment time and time again.
How do you know it is not good enough?
Have a look at the ‘In Bloom Campaign’ page. Then take a long hard look at your front garden. Do you keep it weeded and tidy? Do you dead-head the flowers regularly in the summer? Are the plants in good condition? Then fill in the online form and enter the competition. Judging takes place the first two weeks in July.
It is a glorious spring afternoon. Now: do I get out there in the garden to start removing the detritus of winter or do I take a bracing walk down the Sea Front? Decisions! Decision! One thing is certain, it is time to slough off winter sloth and get outside in the fresh air. If I make haste then the daylight should last long enough to do both.