‘Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds, You can grow flowers, or you can grow weeds.’
It was my birthday at the beginning of the month. My cousin, knowing how much I like gardens, stitched this quote and framed it for me as a present. So I thought I’d head this month’s blog with it. As usual I wanted to show who it was a quote from. This was easier said than done. There are so many similar quotes, including those from William Wordsworth, Whitney Hess and an Indian mystic called Osho. But I’m going with the well-known author called ‘unknown’.
October is know as ‘putatengero’ by the Romani, month of the potato. As this is a main potato picking month and probably a main source of food. But apparently there is a Welsh Romani name for October. ‘Urchengero’ or month of the hgedgehog. Hedgehogs would be fattened ready for the winter now, so a good source of wild food. I won’t go into detail and don’t worry, it wont be the recipe of the month.
There’s not been much work done in the garden this month. The students have tidied, planted some cabbages and pulled up the potatoes. But they have moved on to another community garden in Runcorn for a bit. I’ve cut down the Jerusalem artichoke stems to about 6 inches high. That way the growth goes into the roots and will produce bigger artichokes in the winter.
Most of the plants are past their best, with flowers and stems dying off. But this is when you notice the changing colour on the leaves, and our variegated shrubs. Of course we have berries, and some plants still flowering too.
I hate ivy. But we have quite a lot growing up one wall in the Bloomers garden and a tree of it hanging over Bugingham Palace. We have kept the ivy here tidy as it is a good place to shelter when it rains. The only shelter in the garden. But I’ve found out that its not just us that use it for shelter. Bumblebee queens often hibernate in holes or behind ivy when it gets cold. It also gives shade in the summer, which bumblebees prefer as they have thick furry coats on.
We try and encourage pollinators in the garden so having ivy is good too as it produces flowers in the autumn. One of the last plants to flower, giving a longer period of food for all pollinators. There is even something called an ivy bee, a new arrival to the UK. First recorded here in 2001, it is slowly spreading north, probably because of climate change. It feeds mainly on the nectar of ivy flowers and can be seen in autumn when this plant is in bloom. So keeps your eyes out for a bee that is just bigger than a honeybee, with a ginger thorax and distinct orange/yellow striped abdomen. Bee the first to spot it in the Bloomers garden.
The Blooming Old Gardener