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  • Writer's pictureThe Blooming Old Gardener

I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers

"I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” Claude Monet

Well, gardens have been an inspiration for a lot of painters. I know of a few people who have used pictures of our garden in their work. It’s a very creative place too, with all sorts of things that volunteers have made dotted around. Everything from Bugingham Palace to bunting.

July is here and we have what is called the ‘wyrt’ moon on the 5th. Wyrt is an old English name for herbs and is probably related to the abundance of herbs available at this time of the year. Herbs that are great for making fresh pesto sauce, by the way. If you need any, we have troughs with herbs in at the front of the garden with a selection in for you to pick.

Volunteers have been planting up the raised beds at Unlock Runcorn. There’s quite a selection of fruit, veg and salad stuff growing in their compound. Everything seems to be growing well, loving the environment and just being disturbed by squirrels and birds who occasionally help themselves. The raised beds both there and at the station mean that you don’t have to bend to work on them. And some of the beds at Unlock Runcorn also have seats which is a bonus.

Talking of the station beds. There have been a lot of comments on the large angelica there. However, it is coming to its end now, and the seeds are ready to collect. I’ve already taken the seeds from the smaller plant in the garden as it has been dropping them everywhere. It will be interesting to see if a mass of them grow where they have seeded themselves. The borage we had by the herbs last year seeded and there are small borage springing up this year.

It’s a very productive time in the veg area of the garden. I’ve been picking kale, peas, gooseberries, blackcurrants and salad stuff. If things like spinach don’t get picked they just bolt, so we need people to use it regularly. The radish and salad leaves weren’t being picked, so they bolted to nearly 2 foot high and burst into flower!

The broad beans have been ready for the last couple of weeks. It’s weird how the beans grow up, rather than hang down. I’ve been trying to find ways to use them apart from just as a veg, which I hate. I should eat them as they are full of protein, A and B vitamins and low GI. My favourite so far is a broad bean and pea hummus. It’s just a case of cooking up the peas and beans from the garden, and whizzing them with some garlic, lemon and olive oil. I added a bit of mint from the garden too.

We’ve had to replant a couple of the tomato plants, as they mysteriously died. And we have planted squash. Not sure if the slugs will get our young plants, something they love. And the rain is bringing them out to hunt for food. They seem to have eaten all the carrot shoots already.

I know I have been going on about our fruit and veg a lot, but there are also plenty of flowers in the garden too. I’ve planted the geraniums that Lorraine and I have been growing. These are dotted round the garden as they are easy to look after, as well as being colourful. The sunflowers are doing well, particularly those that grow against the wall where there is shelter. Lilies are flowering and looking amazing.

The raised bed had been taken over by Creeping Jenny, with its pretty yellow flowers. So I’ve just tidied it up a bit and planted in some phlox and geraniums where there were gaps. These join the fuchsia and geranium that were there already.

We are pleased to have a new blue plaque in the garden too. Thanks to Runcorn and District Historical Society, our old one has been updated and moved to the middle of the garden wall. It gives the history of the Johnson and Hazlehurst families who ran the soap industry in Runcorn. The garden is situated next to where the Hazlehurst’s ‘Camden Works’ was.

The Blooming Old Gardener

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