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Be like a flower and turn your face to the sun

"Be like a flower and turn your face to the sun." - Kahlil Gibran

It’s a long blog this week as I’ve been out and about quite a bit, making the most of the sunshine and a few days off. First I headed to the Malvern Hills for a few days. Whilst there I found myself getting the chance to go to the RHS Spring Show. It’s a large site with just a few garden layouts, but lots of garden products. Also crafts and food, so it kept me happy.

It was interesting to see what the popular garden products are at the moment. There were lots of wooden seats and benches there, particularly hand carved ones, very rustic. Nothing like the reading seats we have in the garden though. Different types of plant supports seemed to be everywhere too, particularly in willow, some of which was living. This of course has given me lots of ideas. So don’t be surprised if a few appear in the garden over the next few weeks.

There was also an area of bug hotels produced by local schools. I loved the one that was done in the style of a Tudor house. There was another in the form of an air raid shelter on the theme of ‘dig for victory’. I still like ours best of course. And soon ours will have a name too. The entries are all in now and a shortlist will be going on the website for people to vote for. So head to the website in the next week and vote for your favourite.

The friend I was staying with has quite a large garden, with a lot of different plants, including a variety of fruit and vegetables. They have a few plants less now. I have come back with some chocolate mint, ginger mint, strawberries, asparagus, artichoke and chives.

On Sunday I went to a hanging basket making session at Norton Priory. They hold classes in a variety of garden related topics and I can certainly recommend them. I made two varieties of basket. These are now balanced on pots in my garden until they are established. Then they will be put in the garden to brighten it up. I have also planted some strawberries and tomatoes in baskets now too, as a way for them to avoid being eaten by slugs. Although I understand snails like to climb!

My hanging baskets have not been successful in the past and I learnt so much on the Sunday. Not just about hanging baskets either. Did you know that aphids shed their skins? So when you see what looks like white bugs on your plants, but they don’t move, they are probably just their skins.

One thing that surprised me was that you should take flower heads off the plants in your basket when you first make it. It’s so that the plant concentrates on developing its roots and other growth, producing more flowers later. I just couldn’t bring myself to take the flower heads off mine though….

The sunshine has brought quite a few seeds up in trays and pots now. We have planted more to replace those that did not come up from an earlier sowing. A variety of flowers, along with pumpkins, squash, beans, tomatoes. The rainbow carrots seeds are coming up in the pea tub in the garden too. Despite the local blackbirds digging about in the tubs for the seeds.

This week volunteers have carried on spreading chipped bark round the edges of the garden. It’s amazing how much bark it takes. We’ve also moved the trays containing dinosaur world and put them on top of the bug hotel. This will insulate the hotel a bit more as well as giving it more colour. Dinosaur world is being rebuilt soon, so look out for a few changes.

We are preparing for a delivery of compost next week, ready for planting our veg and plants. We have ‘compost day’ on Sat 26th when you are all invited to come along from about 10am and fill up the tubs and pots with compost. There will be other garden jobs to do too. Kids are welcome and can plant sunflower seeds to take home. You can also join us in making healthy duck food to feed the local ducks with.

The Blooming Old Gardener

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