June 29

Gardening book club

A little while ago I went with a friend to her gardening book club. I didn’t know such things existed and of course they are right up my street. Discussing books and gardening. What’s not to love?

We read and discussed Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A year of seasonal eating by Barbara Kingsolver, a book that has been out for a little while but felt quite prescient in today’s times especially if you grow it yourself. I absolutely loved it – and of course the tea and cake – and thought that I would like to join just such a group. I have looked around locally and online and can’t find anything at all like it and being a member of a large allotment association I wondered if it would be a good thing to have on our sites. The only thing is, I would have to set it up and run it and would it be more hassle than it was worth?

We could have it as an in-person group where we meet on either of our local sites in the sheds or on plots in the good weather or we could hold it online and discuss the book in our facebook group or on some other site we set up for that purpose. Or, we could have a meeting and discuss it online so that everyone has access to the discussion.

The other issue is about being able to buy the book. These days I don’t think we can assume that everyone can afford to do so. We don’t want to limit ourselves to books that you can get in the library because good as they are, the gardening section in our local library is not always the most up to date selection. I did wonder whether the allotment association would buy one copy of each book we discuss and then people could borrow it for a week, read it and then pass it on to the next person. It would also mean that the allotments start to build up their own small library of gardening related books.

Oh, what to do?

June 2

The wildlife plot in May 2022

May is possibly the best month for the plants in the wildlife garden. They are all types of green, there is enough moisture to plump them out and start them of growing and it can be quite warm and sunny. Below are some of my favourite photos of the plot this month.

First up is the mint moth. I found it sitting on a Nepeta (catmint) leaf in the sunshine. It is tiny and flies in sunshine and at night and can apparently often be found sitting on mint leaves – I planted a lot more catmints last year so they have done their job.

Mint moth on catmint.

One of the best places at this time of the year is the path behind the shed. It is like a glade with some sunshine but deep shade later on in the day. In the afternoon, the plants seem to glow and if you sit and listen you can hear the birds pecking through the undergrowth. You can see the difference in growth from the 2nd and 3rd photos taken at the start of the month to the 4th which was taken at the end of the month.

It has also been the month of butterflies. There have been the whites and painted ladies but also Speckled Woods.

The Tree Mallow has been in flower all month. It has taken two years to get to this size and the bees and other insects have loved it, including Asian Ladybirds. These pictures are of one of the flowers and a bee covered in pollen and trying to sort itself out.

Finally, we have the chairs in the beds. They are not for sitting on because they have broken. They are here to rot away decoratively and provide some of that man made environment that wildlife has become so adapted to. There is also an old wheelbarrow leaning on the apple tree as if the gardener has forgotten it.

Leaving these elements in the beds is all part of the Permaculture principle of creating no waste. Things aren’t waste if they can be used aesthetically in a flower bed. No trips to the recycling centre and no fires to burn the wood.