• The Blooming Old Gardener

Have them plant a garden

Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden? Robert Brault

It’s been lovely to see so many families coming back into the garden now that the weather is getting better and lockdown is easing. The book tree and reading circle are getting lots of use and it’s been fun using the new chalks on the pathway. There are enough spring plants for them to look at too. I’ve seen adults giving kids a guided tour of the veg and playing hunt the rabbit between the containers. The garden is coming alive again.

We had a volunteer get together on the 16th, by holding a distanced plant swap in the garden. It was busy, with indoor plants, shrubs, fruit, veg, alpines and a few things we weren’t sure about. Very popular with visitors and passers-by, it was a great opportunity to talk to people about the garden and what we did. It was also a good way to begin to clear out the surplus plants from my cold frames and the indoor plants from Hazlehurst Studios. Another is planned, so look out for details.

Halfway through the plant swap, a large police van pulled up. We were asked if we were Old Town Bloom, so we pointed to Claire in case we were in trouble. Then the side of the van opened up and we could see it was full of plant food and compost. Another donation from a marijuana farm via the local constabulary! A very productive day.

There’s masses to do in the garden. Watering has just started and needs to be done a few times a week now. Meanwhile there’s the never ending weeding and I’m still pulling up and cutting back anything that isn’t growing. We are hoping to get a team together soon to put down the weed suppressing fabric and woodchip. Then we can make a brick border, rearrange and refill containers, sow and plant up the veg and replant some of the shrubs. I feel exhausted just thinking about it. But teamwork will help and we hope to be getting more gardening teams soon.


I’m also going round the garden throwing out the pots and containers that have broken over the last year or so. There are a lot. Some break as the plant in them grows too big, or pots are destroyed by the weather. I think some just break of old age too.

Meanwhile, there’s still a spring cabbage to eat in the edible area and I’ve just started pulling the first of the forced rhubarb. I was really excited when I noticed the first of the asparagus peeping through on the 16th. British asparagus season started on the 23rd, and only lasts a couple of months. So, keep an eye out and cut them at soil level when they get about 6-8 inches high.

The large rose container has lily of the valley shoots showing for the first time. This container isn’t in a valley, but I decided to plant them here last year as I count this as a ‘family’ container. The rose grew from a cutting my uncle took from a rose of my grandmothers. Lily of the valley was my mums favourite flower and is also a favourite of mine. The forget me nots were grown from seeds left by my mum. And I’m trying to grow winter flowering Jasmin cuttings in there too, a reminder of my daughter.

Talking of my daughter, Yasmin and Josh spent an afternoon putting together our new rockery. We had been donated sandstone which has been built into a mini mountain with soil filled gaps. Hopefully, no one will want to climb it! It will be planted up soon, using alpines I’ve been propagating over the last year.


Did any of you do the Big Garden Birdwatch this year? Well, the RSPB have published results. It was the biggest ever with over a million people being involved, spotting 17 million birds. It was something to do in lockdown. The most spotted bird was the house sparrow, next was the blue tit followed by the starling, blackbird and woodpigeon. The house sparrow has been the most popular for 18 years now. We get a lot in the Bloomers garden, along with our adopted blackbirds and the pigeons that roost nearby.


The Blooming Old Gardener

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