It’s a cold day, the breeze adding a chill. Spates of sunshine warm us up, but they don’t last long as the sky is full of drifting cloud. This is autumn seasonal weather, while we have been spoilt by an Indian summer with temperatures in the 20s, so temperatures 10 degrees cooler are a shock. Its scarves and fleeces today, and if its warm again, we’ll be overdressed.
We’ve had a dry couple of weeks, but the last few days, we have had rain, enough to replenish our water barrels. Not that we’ll be needing the water until the spring, as cold temperatures inhibit growth. Winter is the season of dormancy, and we are in its foothills.
The course ‘How to Build a Rubbish Garden’ was held this morning. It began its first session, of four in all, by going round the garden and looking at what we have built from cast-offs. There’s the fence of doors at the back. The old fence was close to collapsing, but we had the idea of making one out of doors. We put the call out, doors please! And many of our supporters brought in doors, they were only too pleased to get rid of. The door furniture was left on the doors, as if you might open them and find yourself in Narnia. Three leftovers became the giant Toblerone like structure by the sleepers, where in the last three years, we have had displays of cereals, Americana, herbs and spices, and this year – wild flowers.
Our Dare to Dream back stage is made of handouts, as is much of our front stage. We have gathered wood where we can, from friends, from skips, from stuff dumped in the street. We throw away things far too easily and go for the new when, with a little ingenuity, cast-offs can be re-used or made into something new, like a raised bed or a pergola. It’s part of the battle against climate change. Anything brand new uses energy in its construction, which produces CO2, the main climate gas. The manta is: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. And somehow persuade our reluctant government change that 2050, for zero net energy, is another way of saying too late.
Our Japanese anemones by the side gate, and in a raised bed at the back of the pond, are still in flower as are the marigolds, which are too easily taken for granted as they are always there, flowering through the seasons. But the Japanese pumpkin plants, we were given, have not got anywhere near producing pumpkins. First off, snails ate half the plants. Those left were protected until they were too big for the cover. They flowered, snails came back to feed, but the plants did not get beyond flowering. No pumpkins of any size were produced. Could it be we have only one sex? Or we simply started too late.
We are in the shortlisting for the Council’s People Powered Places and have applied for a grant of £20,000. This would give us a covered area, with roof and sides by our container to allow us to do classes such as yoga, art classes etc. It would give us more signage saying what is where in the garden, and have friendlier pathways to ease travelling by wheelchair round the garden. The next stage is the public voting which runs from 21 October until 12 November, when the public vote for the projects they support. We will, of course, ask our supporters to vote for us, and hope we have sufficient support elsewhere to get the cash to enhance the garden.