In a weeks time we will have reached the summer solstice, significant for gardeners in the Northern hemisphere as this is the time of the year with most daylight and consequently most rapid plant growth!

As a result we are working hard to keep the vegetation trimmed back away from our garden paths, especially our woodland paths that tend to quickly become over grown!

We will be planting up the large decking planter with our Brugmansia plants. These are plants we created from cuttings the year before last year and have been growing on in the greenhouse since then. They are lovely plants that produce large pale yellow trumpets.  However these are are not our only trumpeted plants.

We are also growing a close relative, Datura or Thorn Apple, and these are in the lower greenhouse. Both Datura and Brugmansia are in the Solanaceae family and are a part of this year’s Solanaceae exhibition.

Despite the family resemblances there are nonetheless quite a few ways to tell Brugmansia and Datura apart. The flowers of a Brugmansia dangle down whereas Datura flowers are upright.  Brugmansia flowers are white, peach or yellow. Whereas Datura are white or purple. Brugmansia are much bigger than Datura which rarely get bigger than 1metre whereas Brugmansia can grow to small trees. Datura stems stay green and die back whereas Brugmansia stems/trunks turn woody and thicken. Their seed pods differ too:  Brugmansia’s are smooth, beanpod like with fuzz on the skin.  They slit open, decay and the seeds fall off.  Datura seed pods are roundish, have no hairs or fuzz, with spikes on the husk, like a chestnut.  Their pods burst open with seeds propelled to a distance.

Their similarities are their gorgeous strong, heady fragrance that is delightful. In confined areas it can even become overpowering. Their fabulous trumpet shaped flowers and…their toxicity. No part of this plant should be ingested!  The leaves of both plants are typically shaped like those of other Solanaceae plants and have wavy edges. You will see they’re similar to leaves from aubergine, tomato and potato.

Elsewhere in the garden we will continue to weed, water, feed and stake the plants that need this.

As for harvesting, the first of our chard is now ready. We harvest its outer leaves little and often, being sure to leave the centre of the plants uncut so the are able to continue growing. In this was we will be able to harvest fresh leaf chard for many weeks to come.

There are a few spaces left for this Sunday’s media workshop 20th June with Josh looking at the kind of digital skills we need, how to spot and snap wildlife at the Greenhouses and in the wider world, and the very basics of video editing and project work. (Sorry Saturday is fully booked). Sign up via the spreadsheet here (if you’re yet to have a BPCG induction, please note it on the spreadsheet): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1v6nifAKcjYGHAnuKqehl4K2LWFFVZACBOjJ2LklBX00/edit#gid=0

Sally’s fantastic outdoor yoga on the BPCG decking continues on all Saturdays (except the last of the month), 11am to 12.30pm and 2pm to 3pm.  For booking details please go to https://www.naturalconnection.org.uk/yoga-for-all

In other news, Lambeth Council’s Climate Change and Sustainability team to invite you to an online screening of the documentary Diesel: The Industry’s Smokescreen. The screening will take place on Wednesday 16th June from 6pm to 7.45pm to mark Clean Air Day, and include a Q&A session with air quality experts and campaigners. For more information and to sign up for your free ticket, see here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/clean-air-day-film-screening-and-qa-tickets-158378832351

And last but not least, this coming Thursday 17th June 6.30pm to 9.30pm, BPCG are hosting a talk at the Greenhouses from young housing co-op,  the Rising Sun Collective on How to Form a Housing Cooperative.  For more details go here https://www.brockwellgreenhouses.org.uk/event/a-talk-on-forming-housing-cooperatives-by-the-rising-sun-collective/