• The Blooming Old Gardener

Stress is caused by being here, but wanting to be there

Stress is caused by being ‘here' but wanting to be ‘there.'– Eckhart Tolle

Well I am here at home, but really wanting to be there, in the Bloomers garden. There is so much to do at this time of the year. It could be stressful, but I am focusing on growing things at home for the garden. That is helping me feel useful and gives me time outside. Better for mental health.

April is a busy month. Easter, Passover, Buddhist New Year, Ramadan, as well as a time for planting and sowing. There was a full moon on the 8th. And as this coincided with the moon being it’s closest to the earth, this made it a ‘supermoon’. One that is larger and brighter than usual. It was quite a sight.

Volunteers are generally staying at home to avoid catching or passing on the virus that is affecting everyone in some way at the moment. We have removed the books and toys from the garden as a precaution. ‘Distancing’ volunteers have used time in the garden as their exercise session. Some were even able to give it a water. Something very much needed in this dry spell. We badly need some heavy April showers whilst we can’t have watering teams in the garden.

I’ve enjoyed my sessions in the Bloomers garden. It’s the time of year when everything starts growing. So much is flowering already. Bulbs, shrubs, weeds. And the birds are busy there too. No sign of slugs yet, but I am sure they are there somewhere.

I’ve been working in the veg area mainly. We still have winter veg hanging on, such as purple sprouting, kale, cabbage, spinach, chard and winter lettuce. This has been a welcome source of veg to pick and saves queuing outside a supermarket. If only we could grow eggs and toilet rolls…

I’ve planted some broad bean seedlings, something I’ve not grown before. And sown the first of the salad seeds. Let’s hope they survive neglect and dry weather.

Staff at the railway station seem to be watering the vegetables there. I’ve now added a frame to one of the beds and planted broad bean seedlings there too. This will be followed by some more beans over the coming weeks, which will grow up the frame. A blackcurrant cutting and some herbs have been planted there too, thanks to our volunteer Phoebe.

To reduce the amount of plants that need watering, we decided to look at having a rockery this year. I have been growing and propagating alpines at home ready for this. The rockery hasn’t been built yet. So, I decided to plant up some hanging baskets with alpines. Originally, I was planning to make orbs and grow sempervivums round the outside. My orbs weren’t very orb-ish though, so I decided to make more conventional hanging baskets. With sempervivums hopefully spreading round the base as they grow. Each basket has an oasis in the middle. This not only helps make it lighter but will also hopefully help with water retention. I’m making sure that the plants are settled before putting them in the garden.

At the moment every windowsill at home has seedlings growing on it. Beans, herbs, courgettes, tomatoes. My bedroom looks like a greenhouse. After a mad moment in January when I ordered 6 dozen geranium and 6 dozen lavender, plugs, these have now arrived. Another volunteer, Lorraine, has half the geraniums to look after and plant in the garden when they are ready. It will probably be a few more weeks until they are ready to plant out, though. I am hoping we can sell some too, as we are missing out on our plant sales this year. For those of you still looking for something to pass the time, how about making a windchime for the garden? For example, hang natural objects like shells or pebbles from a branch. Perhaps look at hanging cutlery or bottle caps. Nothing too big, sharp or heavy please. Feel free to hang them from the ivy bush by Bugingham Palace or from the railings at the end of the garden.

The Blooming Old Gardener

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