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November's sky is chill and drear

Updated: Nov 5, 2018

"November's sky is chill and drear, November's leaf is red and sear." - Sir Walter Scott

Well it’s November, or Blotmonath – the blood month, as the Anglo Saxons called it. I think that’s because animals used to be slaughtered about now to avoid having to feed them during the winter.

Winter seems to have started with some frosty mornings, falling leaves and some darker days. But it’s also the month of festivals of light, such as Bonfire Night, Diwali and Samhain. All three of these festivals involve sweet foods too. Parkin, toffee apples, soul cakes and Diwali sweets. I love this comfort food.

We’ve just had Halloween too. This used up the last of our pumpkins. And during the week Dinosaur World got invaded by a giant spider. I don’t think the dinosaurs were too happy about it though.

We aren’t doing anything for Guy Fawkes. Although visitors to the Fireworks in the Old Town on the 5th are very welcome to spend time in the garden while they are here. Did you know that Guy Fawkes wasn’t actually the leader of the 13 Gunpowder Plotters. It’s just that he was the first to get caught when he tried to ignite the gunpowder barrels in the cellars underneath Parliament. I also assumed that he died whilst being hung, drawn and quartered, the expected fate for those committing treason. In fact he died from a broken neck after leaping to his death to avoid such a death. Well, he got islands in the Galapagos named after him, anyway. Not sure why though.

It’s been a busy week with volunteers making things for the new display in the garden. So there’s not been much weeding done. We now have our WWI nurse keeping an eye on things. But I think she’s too busy to do any gardening.

We’ve just done a bit more repotting using the pots that have been emptied of sunflowers. And I’ve cut down the asparagus now ready for the winter. I’ve sprinkled some chicken manure round some of the shrubs to keep them fed. And started to put shredded bark round plants as a mulch. There’s colour in the garden still with some hollyhocks just starting to open up, and the pansies in the herb troughs.

Some volunteers went to the Royal Horticultural Society Awards for the North West on Thursday. We were entered in the ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ category. Last year we got a regional Outstanding award. We were stunned to get a top award in our first year. But this year we not only got this level of award again, but also a National Certificate of Distinction. Amazing. We are very proud to see that our little garden is seen as one of the best of it’s type in the country.

The Blooming Old Gardener

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