In the gardens this week, we will be doing more seed sowing of our multi seed pots of herbs to include Purple Basil, Lemon Basil and Sweet Basil, Coriander, and Parsley. Then we will get going with sowing our third batch of bush tomatoes and our second batch of dwarf sunflowers.

Meanwhile outside in the garden the squash archway is coming on well with seven of the eight arches constructed. We will be making the eighth archway this week and then comes the fun part of placing and spacing them evenly along the pathway, and constructing support pieces to join the arches together to give them added strength and stability. The arches will need a lot of strength in order to carry the weight of our squashes later in the year!

We have been spending quite a bit of time and effort on pond care recently and after weeding and dredging it, we are now ready to add oxygenating plants. This week we will be restocking the pond with two native non invasive oxygenators, Common Water Crowfoot (Ranunculus aquatilis ) and Hornwort, Ceratophyllum demersum.

Common Water-crowfoot is a plant species of the genus Ranunculus, native throughout most of Europe, western North America and northwest Africa. It grows in mats on the surface of water and can be seen covering ponds, ditches and streams with white flowers in spring and summer. Hornwort, commonly known as hornwort, rigid hornwort, coontail, or coon’s tail, is a species of Ceratophyllum. It is a submerged, free-floating aquatic plant, with a cosmopolitan distribution, native to all continents except Antarctica. Both Hornwort and water crowfoot are especially easy to ‘plant.’ They come as weighted bunches which we will just throw into the pond!

When buying or getting hold of pond plants it is important to heed DEFRA’s Plant Wise Campaign intended to raise awareness amongst gardeners and horticulturists about invasive aquatic plants that are threatening UK wildlife and waterways. Sales of these plants have now been banned, however there are still plenty of them growing in ponds and waterways around the UK so being able to recognise and avoid the tempation to transplant these plants is important. Always steer clear of these aquatic plants: Water Fern, Parrot’s Feather, Floating Pennywort, Australian Swamp Stone-crop (New Zealand Pygmyweed), Water Primrose and Curly pondweed/waterweed (lagarosiphon major). Curly pondweed used to be one of the commonest oxygenating plants and was sold everywhere throughout the UK!

In other news, the Norwood School has been awarded funding for an exciting new project to increase food growing space in the school grounds and to employ a community gardener to facilitate greater pupil engagement in the garden, learning about food growing/gardening, nutrition, biodiversity and composting. The project is being supported by Incredible Edible Lambeth  and funded by the Norwood Forum. For more details, go here http://ow.ly/tY1L50IjJoK  Closing date for applications Sunday 20th March at 12 midnight. Interviews will be held on 23rd of March in the afternoon.

Fergus Garrett head gardener at Great Dixter, is giving an online talk for the Dulwich Society on Succession planting for a long
garden season at 7.30pm on Monday 4th April 2022.  The online talk is being given in association with the Bell House Dulwich. Tickets £7 – book through www.bellhouse.co.uk/events