To enable people to continue to garden, and as a predominantly outdoor public space, we are hoping to continue our garden volunteering in November on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, keeping the gardens and shop open to the public at weekends between 11 and 3.
Save the dates: Over the coming months, we are also hosting a series of online talks for you to enjoy at home: Women on Nature and Wildlife. Our first talk is on Tuesday November 24th 7pm to 8.30pm. Emily Millhouse will talk about Froglife’s work, especially in London, conserving amphibians and reptiles – frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards – and saving the habitats they depend on. Emily has run some lovely workshops at BPCG and locally and is a great speaker – she is highly recommended! Book here.
Future Women on Nature and Wildlife talks are on Tuesdays 8th Dec (Alice Vincent, author of Rootbound – Rewilding a Life @noughticulture), 12th Jan (Carolyn Steel, Author of Sitopia – How Food can Save the World), 9th Feb (Sue Stuart-Smith, author of The Well-Gardened Mind, psychiatrist and psychot) and 9th March (Jo Ferguson, Built Environment Manager for the Bat Conservation Trust).
This week at the greenhouses, we will develop our plant propagation equipment. Matt, one of our volunteers has kindly made a wooden frame for the new heated propagation bench in the upper greenhouse. The next stage is to line this structure with mypex, ( a weed control fabric) in preparation for installing a heating cable and potting grit. This will then give us a propagation space with bottom heat, ideal for making plant cuttings.
We will continue to blet the last of our medlar which aren’t yet quite ripe. The others we have popped in the freezer til we are ready to make medlar jelly or paste with them.
This is the time of year, before the first frost, when we prepare our frost tender plants for overwintering. With our potted Canna lilies this means we will first cut them back and reduce the watering so as to allow them to dry out. Drying out is in itself a form of frost protection because frost kills tender plants by making the water inside the plant cells expand. The expanding water breaks the cell walls damaging the sugar conducting tissue (phloem), and this causes the plant to die. Therefore the lesser amount of water in plant tissue, the less risk of frost damage.
We will be moving the potted Canna lilies up to the upper greenhouse and placing them under the staging for the winter months. They will be fine there because they are not in growth so they will not need light or moisture until we bring them out of dormancy in the spring time after the risk of frosts has passed.
By moving the Canna lilies out of the lower greenhouse we will also make space for moving our potted bulbs into the lower greenhouse. This in turn frees up space in the upper greenhouse for plants we hope to propagate using our new heated propagation bench, and of course by late January also for all the seedlings that we will be germinating in our heated propagators.
Does this all sound like a complex piece of choreography?!
We will be potting up some more spring bulbs, including Muscari so that we have an attractive selection of flowering bulbs in our shop for springtime.
In the freshly prepared corner bed in the lower garden we will be sowing broad beans.
The garden DIY for this week will involve more carpentry as we raise the wooden sides of the Oudolf border in the lower garden.
The boysenberries, (one of a number of hybrid berries that we grow) are layering well in the bed beyond the open sheds. We will be weeding this bed and checking how many new boyseberry plants we are likely to be able to produce by this, the simplest of propagation techniques, that of ‘layering.’