Derek – Sunday 26th June 2022

These are busy summer days, making up for the listless covid days of the last couple of years. The Garden organised the Forest Gate garden trail last weekend, when 18 gardens around the area opened up for visitors. The week before, we’d had a preview morning for the gardeners so they could at least see some of the other gardens, as they be too busy on the two days of the Trail. Last Sunday around 5 pm, when the Trail was over, we invited everyone involved in the Trail for a pizza and cake picnic in the Community Garden to celebrate a successful weekend.

This weekend, there is Forest Gayte Pride which began Friday evening. Saturday saw lots of LGBT+ stalls at Woodgrange Market, Hazel’s art show with music at the library, and the big night at Forest Gate Tavern. Today, our local football team, Clapton CFC which has not been in Clapton since 1888, has a match: their Women’s Development team are playing Stonewall Women & Non-Binary team as part of our local Pride.

This coming Saturday (2 July), the Garden has a stall at Forest Gate Festival. Keep up! We’ll be selling plants and running an activity. There will be 120 stalls in all, with community groups, charities, arts and crafts, and plenty of food. The main stage will have music: bands, choirs and dancers. Kay Rowe are doing an assortment of activities for under-8s. The popular climbing wall and T-shirt challenge are both back, and street entertainers too. It all happens on Osborne Road from 11 to 6pm, with no traffic or parked cars in the way. We claim the street, from Woodgrange to the roundabout.

It’s ultra dry in the Garden, and we are rapidly draining out tanks, even our three metre cubes are close to the bottom. We water as much as we can, but hot and dry days beat us. It seems this is what  climate change is telling us. The SE is heading for a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers. There have been decades of warnings, but our political masters do little, and we fly here and there for our hols, oblivious of the harm we are doing.

The wildflower bed is at its peak with blue borage, bright yellow corn marigolds, daisy-like scentless mayweed, white campion and hedge mustard with its tiny yellow flowers. An overlooked favourite of mine is bristly ox tongue. I love the name. It has dandelion-like leaves and bristly long leaves.

Our tadpoles are a lot less numerous than they were. They have their predators in the pond, such as dragonfly larvae, water boatmen, and newts. And more mature tadpoles, which are now carnivorous and eat some of their less mature brethren. It could be disease culling them, though I wonder about the butyl rubber liner we use for the pond. Tadpoles eat the algae which grows off it. Could it be the liner is poisonous to them? It would certainly contain all sorts of nasty trace chemicals. So many variables, we need a PhD student to spend five years doing a study for a thesis.

In a few weeks most tadpoles will be gone anyway. Froglets leave the pond, though there are always a few tadpoles that stay tadpoles. Every so often, I spot a newt. They leave the pond too, and return in a few years to breed, if they survive birds, drought, cats and mowers.

It’s a hard life.

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