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I know well that the June rains just fall

“I know well that the June rains just fall” - Onitsura

And rain has definitely been falling over the last week or so. And more to come. But this is really saving us a lot of watering time, which is a big help when we are so busy. I just hope our plants don’t drown. The sunshine between all this rain has been really good for the growing plants too. Particularly the weeds.

Birds have been busy in the garden. With the 2 pairs of blackbirds who live nearby finding lots to eat. The rain seems to be making all the worms come out of the soil for them. Swifts are also arriving in towns now, from their winter homes in Africa. I get confused between swifts, swallows and house martins. But apparently the swifts are brown all over, whereas the house martin and swallows are have white stomachs if you are looking up at them.

Volunteers have been spending a lot of time tidying the plants in the garden. Getting rid of finished pansies and winter plants. Lots of repotting as well as planting out cuttings and the small plants we have been growing in the yard. Adding them to existing containers and putting them round the garden. Fuchsias, lobelia, lavender, petunia. A lot of the seedlings such as sunflowers, pansies and marigolds have been grown from seeds that we dried and saved from last year’s flowers. We have lots of sunflowers to plant as they were so popular with visitors last year. They make our garden look so sunny.

Some flowers also spring up amongst the grass, either self-seeding or just arriving by magic. Tim, who mows our grass, often cuts round them to make the most of what we have in the garden. It gives parts of the garden a wilder look too.

Some extra herbs have been grown from seed and planted in our herb containers. I love this area as the herby smells are released as you touch them. We are growing blue flowered borage, ready for our summer Pimms in the garden.

The veg garden seeds and plants are all in now. The veg has expanded this year and we are trying a few new things. Some seedlings were up within a week as the weather was ideal to get them started. So we will have radish and lettuce leaves ready to pick very soon. The perpetual spinach is ready to pick already. Great in a stir fry or quiche. Claire has tested it already.

We seem to have lost our rhubarb, which I am upset by. Rhubarb was very popular with visitors making a crumble last year. So we are hoping someone will donate us a new crown for the container. The good news is that our gooseberry plant has gone mad and has loads of gooseberries this year. Green at the moment, but they will turn purple as they ripen. And we are trying a blueberry plant this year. Not sure how successful that will be though. But we like to experiment.

Each year we have at least one theme in the garden and this year the main theme is to be children’s stories. So different groups of volunteers are putting their heads together to come up with ideas. Peter Rabbit is going to invade the veg garden. And I’ve heard that the Owl and the Pussycat are going to be at sea in the garden too. And the WI group seem to be collecting jeans. ..

The Blooming Old Gardener

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