• The Blooming Old Gardener

Run with hope in your heart

“An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.”– Emil Zatopek

There’s a lot of sport on this month. The Euros, Wimbledon, cricket, the Olympics. So if you aren’t into sport theres not much to watch on TV. So why not do some gardening instead. Or if you take part in sport, perhaps you can keep in training by doing gardening activities. There’s the throwing of the hose over the wall. Weight lifting containers. Tossing the weeds into the bag. Running after your kids in the garden. Who needs the gym when you have a community garden. And even if we don’t win medals, we have won a few RHS awards in past years.


July is here and summer holidays are looming. It is known as the Romani month of Kaseskero, month of the hay. The next few months are named after the work they did at each month of the year. And this month, as soon as the weather was right, they would be cutting and drying hay for the farmers. It would be very labour intensive, as they would cut it using a scythe, or ‘kasarengi’.


The mixture of sunshine, rain and watering last month has resulted in the garden flourishing. And the weeds. The watering teams have worked hard and it really shows. We also had lots of help on a Wednesday from students. Much of the garden edging has had weed suppressant and woodchip laid down. And last week the ivy tree was tidied up. There’s a lot of blackfly appearing on the fruit, veg and plants. This is being blasted with water and sprayed with neem. The ladybirds in the garden are having a feast on them too. The garden is full of bees. They love the clover flowers that are covering the grassy areas now.

Talking of grassy areas. The grass has had a cut now, with areas of wild flowers being mowed round. Dandelions and ‘weeds’ that had been left to grow have seeded and planted themselves in many of the containers. So extra weeding is needed. Some of last year’s borage has also seeded itself. It looks like it’s trying to escape from the garden, though.

Our wild flower area itself, hasn’t seen many wild flowers yet. But we have had a rethink anyway. It is being walked over a lot, by watering volunteer, as well as visitors. So we have decided to give up on it as a separate area and just look out for anything that needs to be mowed round. And of course we have some grasses growing in containers nearby. They are looking interesting now with the colours and heads that have shot up.

It seems to be a busy time for fruit. The gooseberries, blackcurrants and Japanese wineberries are all ready for picking now. And the rhubarb is still being pulled. The apple trees have been thinned out a bit to allow the remaining ones to grow to full size. It’s good that the gooseberries are being picked as caterpillars are munching their way through the leaves. In the past, my gooseberry bush at home has been stripped overnight by these hungry monsters.

Our rockery and alpine plants are all over the garden now. The hanging baskets are being coated by spreading sempervivum. We have a yellow carpet in one of the troughs at the front of the garden.

Some have found a home in the sunny wall, along with other wild plants, ferns etc.

The rockery plants are settling in, with some spreading over the rocks. And others in flower. The rockery has lost a couple of its rocks and some of the plants on it’s edge. Small people have imagined it to be Ben Nevis or a Jurassic Park for the dinosaurs. The rockery is not happy about being climbed on, as it loosens the rocks and soil. So it’s best that people, of any size, don’t try out their rock climbing skills in the garden.


The Blooming Old Gardener

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