Derek – Thursday 11th April 2019

The sun is shining, but it’s just 12ºC. It feels, though, so much warmer. That must be the effect of the wooden fence round garden, sheltering us. This is the first Thursday opening of the year, the beginning of our summer timetable. There’s flowers and blossom everywhere.

There are overhangs of white spiraea florets in a raised bed near the side gate. Below are blue anemones with yellow centres. The small apple and pear tree are in blossom as are the Japanese cherries in the children’s play area. The larger one is candyfloss pink, the smaller white. Nearby the buddleia is already five feet high.

Everything is green and healthy. We’ve had a lot of rain, and the pond is almost full. There are a few tadpoles, here and there. We only had one clump of spawn this spring, whereas last year there were five or six clumps. The summer drought has taken a toll on breeding frogs. There are water boatmen in the pond that dart to the bottom as they see you move. On the surface are a couple of gracile pond skaters.

Our new greenhouse, well new-ish, completed last autumn, is filling with small pots of infant food plants. There are turnips, aubergines, strawberries, peas, and artichokes. On the floor are small cacti. All are for sale in the coming weekends. Spring is the best time for selling plants as gardeners want them to mature over the summer.

I see a sparrow in the sycamore that pokes over the fence near the container. The tree has green inconspicuous flowers and small leaves. The silver birch is almost fully leafed. There’s anchusa here and there with its pale blue forget-me-not type flowers. The full name is Anchusa myosotidiflora. Myosotis is the botanic name for forget-me-nots, so the second part of the botanical name means with forget-me-not like flowers.

The developers next door have knocked down the wall that separated the area, that used to belong to Aston-Mansefield (of Durning Hall), and made it effectively part of the much larger area behind the boarded up shops on Woodgrange extending back to the HS1 ventilation shaft. For much of this afternoon, a drill was thumping into the ground. We suspect it is simply soil investigation, not a sign of construction. Some of the site may simply be sold on to other developers as there is more money to be made from land than in building.

Three developer are involved. Gateway Housing Association, one of them, has a social brief, so will eventually build affordable homes. As for the other two, well developer is a misnomer as the only development we have seen so far are of blue hoardings, along Woodgrange and up Earlham Grove.

We hope we have saved the Yew tree on the site, a Victorian survivor, unlike the arts and craft house that was demolished ten years ago.

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