Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I visited the most beautiful community garden in France recently. It is in the countryside, surrounded by trees and fields, next to a small village. The circular fruit and vegetable garden is designed around a very large pond full of frogs and newts and other pond life. The beds slope down towards the pond and a smaller pond at the top of the site trickles water down a small stream into it. Vegetables are planted according to where the sun falls at different times of the year. The top of the garden is flat and these planting areas are defined with box hedge edging. Permanent plantings of rhubarb and artichokes are also incorporated in the design.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
We have life! Finally, after a very slow start in spring, lots of work digging to create raised beds and paths, everything being eaten overnight by about a million snails, we now have what looks like a functioning garden and more important than the fruit, veg and salad: people in the garden! It always makes the garden feel like a fun place to be when everyone comes along to lend a hand and work together. We have had some plants donated which has helped fill a few spaces as we had so little room for raising seeds. We were given the tip of using tin foil as a slug and snail deterrent; a cheap version of copper tape. I think it's helping. We had a load of bark chips donated from a landscaper friend which we have started to put down on the paths. It makes the site look so much nicer and feels soft and spongy to walk on. We have had a couple of people come along to the horticultural therapy group. I have asked them to start keeping a diary of their experience of working in the garden. I hope we will have a number of people staying for the whole year so we can see how beneficial they have found the experience. They work alongside our other volunteers and our two trainee gardeners, doing the same activities. We have a small sand pit which the children have been enjoying digging in. I hoped this would distract them from digging in the beds and it seems to be working so far. The gooseberries and raspberries are ripening. We have lots of lovely looking lettuce, a few sorry looking peas, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, radish, chard, broad beans, corn and some cabbages.