Congratulations are due to all our volunteers because we shared first prize with Streatham Common Community Garden in the Blooming Lambeth Awards for Best Community Garden in a Park.  And congrats too to Cat who was runner up in the Best Community Gardener awards!  Thank you very much to Incredible Edible and Lambeth Council for the awards.

September and October are good months for planting bulbs, both in pots and in the garden. So this week we will be preparing the ground for the planting of bulbs in the woodland.

The bulbs we will be planting are: Erythronium Dens Canis, E. Pagoda, and E. White Beauty, Anemone Nemorosa, Anemone Nemorosa “Royal Blue’ and Iris Reticulata ‘Harmony’.

Erythronium is a genus of Eurasian and North American plants in the Lily family, most closely related to tulips. They originated in woodland settings and are sometime know by the common name of the Dog Toothed Violet (the name refers to the shape of the bulb). Erythronium like cool humus-rich growing conditions in the spring with a period of drier dormancy in the shade in summer. They all have good interesting leaves and grow well with Anemone Nemorosa.

Anemone Nemorosa, commonly known as wood anemone likes to grow in deciduous woodlands as well as at the foot of hedges and shaded banks. Its liking for light (it only opens fully in sunshine and does not flourish in deep shade) suggests that it may not have purely woodland origins. It flowers from March to April and we will be planting it in the lighter upper woodland area of the garden.

Iris reticulata or Winter Iris is often the first bulb to flower in January and February. It loves growing in pots or woodland borders.

Before planting these bulbs we will be preparing the ground by removing perennial weeds, then enriching the soil by adding a thick layer of organic matter, in this case bark compost. Then we will plant the bulbs to the correct depth.  Once planted we will cover the bulbs up with compost and spread a wire mesh across the ground. The mesh is to protect the bulbs from being dug up and eaten by the park’s large squirrel population!

There are a number of other bulbs that we will be planting in planters which can then be placed around the site to make an attractive and movable spring bulb display. These will include a range of different varieties of narcissi, (daffodils.)

Bulbs are easy to grow on window sills, in window boxes and planters so they are something you can enjoy even if you do not have a garden. There are many different varieties of dwarf Narcissi which work well in pots.

At the moment we are in the process of ‘forcing’ a selection of dwarf Narcissi. Forcing is the term used when gardeners trick a plant into flowering much earlier than it would do in nature. This is done taking bulbs in early autumn and placing them in a fridge and keeping them at around 5 degrees for a period of between 2-3 months.

Then in early November we will be removing the bulbs from the fridge and planting them in the relative ‘warmth’ of the greenhouse and they should then be tricked into thinking that spring has arrived. In this way you can persuade bulbs to flower for Christmas!

This Thursday 25th October we will be having our monthly volunteer meeting at 3pm.

Following this the other monthly meeting will be held on Sunday 25th Nov and Thursday 20th December. We will remind you nearer the time but you may wish to put these dates in your diary now.

In BPCG Kids’ News

Helen is running a Home School Session on Autumn Seeds and Soup on 31st October 10am to 12midday. There are just a few tickets left for this.

Story Stompers starts for the new second half of term on Tues 30th October with a Halloween Special.

Helen and Cathy need your spare empty egg boxes and tins!  Please bring them to the collection box which will be in the upper greenhouse on the right hand table as you enter!