• The Blooming Old Gardener

It is not just plants that grow

"When gardeners garden, it is not just plants that grow, but the gardeners themselves."- Ken Druse

And with lockdown, this gardener has certainly grown! There’s a lot us of who have got bigger during lockdown. I am currently trying to lose a bit of weight by filling up with veg rather than chocolate. It’s great to have so much coming up in the garden. Mainly beans and salad stuff now. So I am devising 20 healthy ways to cook beans. My freezer is already full of them, so the neighbours are being given some too. I’m getting some funny looks when I offer them purple ones though.


We haven’t been able to meet up weekly, but it’s great to get together with other volunteers and be active in the garden when we can. It’s a bit of normality. But some volunteers work by themselves, often unnoticed, but still very important. For example it’s volunteers like those from Hazlehurst Studios that make sure the garden gets watered. And the co-operation of the solicitors next door whose tap we use.

The Incredible Edible beds at the railway station are being looked after, thanks to volunteer Phoebe and station staff. The beans there are almost finished. But the chard has been filling in the space well. The beds have thrived whilst the station has been less busy. But travellers like using the beds as a seat, which obviously damages the plants. Although if they sat on the prickly gooseberry it might damage them! And the beds at Unlock Runcorn are doing well too, with Claire and Heather keeping an eye on them.

We’ve visited recently to start planting cabbages for the winter and sowing more salad seeds. The veg there seems to be feeding squirrels and birds that live nearby, as we keep finding plants dug up.I am currently sowing winter veg seeds at home for all three veg areas. Unfortunately, the cabbage white butterflies are making sure their offspring have plenty to eat by laying eggs on everything cabbagy that I grow. However small a seedling is. I check all the seedlings each morning and wipe off every egg, but they still managed to decimate my dwarf kale. I only have stumps left. I’ve taken to sitting in the garden squirting water at any butterfly that gets near my seedlings. But I can’t sit there all the time, so if anyone has any ideas let me know.

Despite the dry weather the flowers in the garden are doing well. Some are more resilient to dry weather than others. The geraniums that volunteer Lorraine grew don’t mind not being watered regularly and are brightening up lots of the garden Although our gooseberries and blackcurrants are finished now, we still have crab apples growing. And the Japanese wine berry plant burst open to show it’s fruits. It wasn’t long before they got eaten though. I‘d never come across them before and thought it was an exotic plant. But I’ve been shown a mass of them growing near the station. So perhaps they aren’t.

The noughts and crosses board beside the bench lost its stones over the winter. So volunteer Yasmin has painted some new ones. The set is suitable for people who have sight problems, as they can feel the difference between noughts and crosses. And the board is marked out with grooves that can be felt. The set consists of spiders painted on flat slates and butterflies painted on round pebbles. I’ve had a couple of games with them already.


A lot of people asked about growing angelica, after seeing our monsters in the garden and station. So I’ve been putting angelica seeds in the book tree for people to take away. Help yourself to a packet.


The Blooming Old Gardener

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