Derek – Thursday 19th July

Another hot day, 28°C, and the drought continues. We have gone seven weeks without rain. People are bringing water to the garden, for which we are grateful, but the bulk comes from Kevin who lives across the road. His flat is up on the second floor; he puts a hosepipe out of his window down to the gate of the block. There we fill up, and carry containers into the garden to fill our barrels. We did this for 90 minutes today, giving us water for three or more days. We are now coming in most nights at 7.30 pm to water, concentrating on the pots and nursery plants, plus a few specials like the hollyhocks and the bright yellow coreopsis.

The pond is very low and quite sad to see. We give it a few watering cans each night but that amount evaporates during the day. There are many snails in the pond, and damsel flies flitting around. I look closely and see water fleas (dathnia). Not as many as there were, but it’s good to see some as they are an important element in the food chain. There’s a single white water lily. We are having to water the plants on the shelf of the pond; they were in water when it was higher but no longer.

There are Californian poppies flowering in the small wild flower bed, and some in the large one. There, blue cornflowers are still in bloom, along with a few camomile, though most of it has gone to seed. The thistles are smoky with thistledown. Each head contains hundreds of whispy floating seeds, known as a fairy when you a single one floating in the air.

About 10 teenagers are here today, volunteering as part of National Citizenship Service. Two girls painted a welcome sign. Other volunteers emptied our plastic compost bins. All the compost is going on to a large heap where it will break down more efficiently. And we will give away the old bins. More space has been created, including another passage into the buddliea jungle.

There are globe thistles (echinops) in a raised bed between the buddleia and the side door. The flowers are blue, perfectly round and spiky. Next to them are spearmint with cones of tiny florets. The leaves are narrow spearheads. Rub a leaf and you get the spearmint odour.

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