This week in the garden, temperatures are predicted to be up around 28 degrees, so it is safe to say that summer is really here! This means we will be kept busy watering the garden. Areas to keep a particular eye on are those where plants find it hard to tolerate dry conditions, in particular the fern bank at the edge of the woodland and around the margins of the pond.

In the pond the first water lily flower is emerging, with a beautiful large white flower, (Nyphaea alba.) See if you can spot it.  Other flowering aquatic plants are the water butter cup, (Ranunculus aquatilis) with its white flower with yellow centres, and the water plantain (Alisma plantago aquatica).

In the garden we have been creating new planters from a range of materials. Down on the decking by the cob oven we have a new set of attractive wooden planters which need to be planted up.  We also have some plastic barrels that we have been converting into planters by sawing in half and drilling drainage holes in their bases.

Container gardening as it is known is ideal when you have difficult soil to cultivate as many people do in London where garden soil is often full of builders’ rubble. If this is you, then container planting is an easy solution. (However, one draw back in warmer weather is that this can prove to be quite high maintenance on the watering front!) that is unless you go for drought tolerant plants. See this link for some exciting drought tolerant plants you might like to try, a number of which you will probably recognise from our garden.

On a plant adaptation note, it is interesting to understand how plants that live constantly in dry habitats or areas with very irregular rain fall, have adapted to manage these environmental conditions. Plants lose water through the pores on their leaves called stomata. Drought adapted plants like marram grass has adapted to growing in very exposed conditions on sand dunes by the sea, have developed a clever way of hinging their leaves so that the leaves curl up in dry condition thereby reducing the moisture lost through their stomata. In this way they deliberately create a more moist micro climate around the surfaces of their leaves thereby reducing water need. To find out more about Marram grass and its uses in keeping back deserts and stabilising sand dunes see this link

Other than watering, there is plenty of weeding, fruit and vegetable harvesting to be done around the gardens.

In other BPCG news, we held our monthly Volunteer Meeting last Sunday. Here are the minutes Do have a read! Lots of interesting stuff in there.

On Saturday June 30th, 11am to 2pm, Diane Sullock and Penny Walsh are running a Natural Dye workshop when they will teach you environmentally sound methods of the preparation and use of plant dyes on a variety of small fabric and yarn samples.  There are still a few tickets left for this fascinating session. Book here

On the next 2 Sunday evenings, we have two great gigs coming up. When booking please book the concessionary rate as you are a BPCG volunteer.

Sunday July 1st 6pm to 9pm. iyatraQuartet Gig at the Greenhouses multi-instrumentalist quartet with violin, cello, bass clarinet and percussion, iyatra are ‘a band who live by their wits and produce something different each night’ Mark T, fRoots. Iyatra will be playing masses of new material from their about-to-be-released second album.  Book online

Sunday July 8th 6pm to 9pm. Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith Gig at the Greenhouses one of the finest duos to have emerged onto the British folk and acoustic scene in recent years. ‘Making common cause between antique songs and present circumstances is one of the grails of modern folk, one this young duo pull of impressively’ The Observer  Book online

Saturday 7th July, there’s a lovely Family workshop coming up. Fermenting Fun: SummerSauerkraut! 10.30am – 12.30pm. Fermenting fun with Jelena at Brockwell Greenhouses! Join us for the first session in a special series of fermenting workshops for families. Find out why and how we preserve fresh food. Then chop, grate, squish and squash vegetables to make your very own jar of summer sauerkraut to take home! £5 / £2.50 concession.

Saturday 14th July in the evening, we are having our BPCG Volunteer Party.  Please put the date in your diary!  You are welcome to bring a friend with you too, just please let us know their name so we can put you and them on the list and we know how many are coming.  We also need a group of people to help organise the party. Please let Kate know if you’d like to be involved. The more the merrier!

Thursday 19th July at 7.30pm Under the Two Borough scheme which offers free tickets to charities and community organisations in Lambeth and Southwark, the Young Vic have offered us free tickets to go to see Fun Home .  If you would like to go, please let Kate know. We still have 4 tickets available.