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  • Writer's pictureThe Blooming Old Gardener

Allow yourself to grow

We have an ‘official’ patch for wildflowers to grow in this year to encourage the bees and other wildlife. However, we have had a ‘No Mow May’ for the whole garden, to help any wildflowers get established. So, I’ve been wandering round looking down at anything growing in the grass, which may look odd to passers-by. But they are probably used to seeing stranger things happening in the garden by now.

There are the usual dandelions sending their seeds floating everywhere. Daisies for making daisy chains with and buttercups for testing whether you like butter or not. Unfortunately, these are probably the only wild flowers I can name. There are several patches of flowers and leaves that I can’t. The pretty blue flowers round the reading circle, for example. I need to find another volunteer to name and label them for me.

As we have so many dandelions in the garden, I was looking to see what we could make from them. I always fancied making dandelion wine when I was younger. Until I realised how many you needed and that you only used the petals. A Romani recipe where you cook the leaves in butter as a replacement for spinach looks more realistic. And Gypsy Coffee, where you roast and grind the roots as a replacement for ground coffee. Funnily enough, I remember my mum doing that when the price of coffee shot up over 50 years ago. It didn’t taste like coffee at all.

Well, it’s the Romani ‘month of the summer’ now. A time when they would start travelling round to farms to pick produce and of course go to a horse fair or two. Places where traveller families could meet up, park their wagons and have a bit of a party. We aren’t picking much in the garden yet. And we aren’t selling horses. But we are planning to meet up for another plant swap/sale soon. 10.30-11.30 on Fri 11th June, if you are around.

In addition to regular watering sessions, there has been an amazing amount of work going on in the garden recently. Students from Riverside College are helping each week. So far, they have been laying down the weed suppressant and covering it with chipped bark and re-organising pots. They have been brilliant. So enthusiastic and enjoying it too.

The two raised beds at the railway station weren’t needed there anymore, as a result of the station quarter redevelopment. So, they were moved into the Bloomers Incredible Edible garden ready to be planted up. There’s a tomato plant and some broad beans in them so far. By the bench we have a spiders and butterflies, noughts and crosses style, game. There’s a new, kid-sized, table, with a reservoir in the middle. This has replaced the broken table near the front of the garden. And we have something called a ‘mud kitchen’ too. Looking forward to watching young kids using them. Even if it’s only to find out what to do with them. Big thanks to Claire and Dan for the table, kitchen and other marvellous pallet creations, we love them.

The Blooming Old Gardener

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