This is an unusual time…

This is an unusual time. We’ve all heard these words a hundred times already; words we say to each other when we don’t know how else to sum it up. Scary, unsettling, disquieting, unique… unusual. Here in the Garden the atmosphere is stoic but worried; its hard to know how to plan or what is around the corner. There are no volunteers in the Garden, any risk is too much so it wasn’t a big decision to ask them all to stay at home. Staff who have symptoms are self-isolating and we’re cancelling events, courses and workshops. (more…)

Irrepressible Spring

The shady daisy..

It’s been a wet winter; it started raining in September and doesn’t seem to have stopped. I’m typing this with the sound of raindrops drumming against the glass of our Propagation House, a familiar tune this year. The ground is saturated, and the trees have lost a few branches here and there from the strong weekend winds that have been the theme of this February. Despite it all, Spring is gamefully peering through the rainy curtains to see if it’s safe to start, and there are a few punctual arrivals that are bringing smiles to our rain soaked faces. (more…)

Get more from your shop…

This week we held a workshop for students about how you can get a little more from supermarket food and scraps; this provoked so much interest from staff and volunteers that I decided to write a blog detailing the workshop.

The aim of a shop is to sell things, and preferably to come back and rebuy those things again and again; while we can’t avoid supermarkets to buy our food, we can win a few little victories. For example, take herb pots. Has anyone ever managed to keep a pot of basil for more than two weeks before it dies? I certainly haven’t, and the reason is that they are designed to die on our windowsills. Each stalk in the pot is a separate plant and once these plants begin to get bigger the small pots can’t possibly sustain them, so they starve. Instead, why not divide the pot and then pot up a few individual plants to grow on; this could give you up to a dozen basil plants that will last you ten times longer than two weeks; This goes for most of the herb pots and is also effective by dividing them into smaller clumps. (more…)

Parasites of the plant world

A model of Rafflesia in our Sub-Tropical zone.

The plant world is vast, so many habitats and landscapes colonised, synching with weather patterns and animal habits to reproduce and feed from light, water and soil to stay alive. All the while, in all these biomes, there exist plants that live on other plants; extracting the hard-earned food for themselves. (more…)