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June is the gateway to summer

“June is the gateway to summer.”
Jean Hersey

And with the weather this week, it certainly feels like summer. Although hot sunshine brings the challenge of how to water the garden and keep plants alive. Learning from the experience of the dry period last year, we put water retaining granules in the soil this year. This has helped provide the plants with a reserve of water. But with so many dry days, even the water granules dry out without a good drench.

Our Friday morning watering session this week was a bit earlier than usual, 7-9am rather than 10-12. This early start was better for watering plants and was less exhausting for the small team of volunteers. This gave us the chance to give the garden a good feed and water. We are also leaving water for our passing pets and birds, as they get dry too.

One good thing about all this dry weather, is that we haven’t been seeing as much slug damage this year. I don’t think they like this weather and have gone into hiding under our pots, where it’s cool and damp.

The raised bed is doing well, with the plants spreading out. The wallflowers that have survived a couple of years now, are almost over. So I’ve cut them back to allow other plants to grow up. This bed has some lovely colours to cheer you up when you visit. And we are getting a lot of visitors of all ages to the garden now, so lots more people in Runcorn must be cheerful.

You may notice that we have a lot of marigolds dotted round the garden and among the veg. And it’s not just because we sowed 3 packets of seeds and they all came up! We are using it as a companion plant. It repels many insects with its smell, and wards off whitefly, if you plant it with your tomatoes. The marigold planted with the rose doesn’t seem to be keeping the greenfly away though.

Meanwhile the veg garden is doing well. Courgettes and radish are being picked, along with our purple and green French beans. Green tomatoes are appearing too. I have been sowing additional peas, beans and radish to replace those that are being eaten

There was a Bloomers Picnic in the garden last Sunday as part of the Great Get Together. This is one of many community events all over the country, celebrating what we have in common, as well as remembering what would have been Jo Cox’s 44th birthday. Over a dozen people came along and had their lunch and chatted in the sunshine. It was a diverse group, with ages ranging from a few months old to those quite a bit older. And we even had Fred the tortoise, join in. Though I think he was mainly interested in eating the clover.

Changes are happening in the garden. A red street door and some railings have appeared...

The Blooming Old Gardener

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