The star of the garden this week is the Crocus versus, they are all growing in the meadows and remind us how important it is to give that second meadow cut in the early winter so that the grass does not become a competitor to them, they need to be able to come up with space to open. Maybe one of the great things about seeing these open flowers is the bees collecting pollen, I did go and have a look at the bees just before I went to Israel. I just lifted the lid and had a smell, the smell was clean so I closed the lid and let them get on with things.
While cleaning around the vegetable garden I have been able to have a good look at my sweet little Alpine strawberries, I did not plant them they just turned up and have really taken over an area that nothing else really does well in, it is along the edge of a replacement yew hedge. I know that these strawberries like a rice soil but they are doing so well that I just want to let them get on with it. For me it is a joy to go up and have a look after lunch for some fruit from them to eat, of course there is not enough to share but I do not mind having them to myself through the summer, they do seem to fruit a long time. They do make a perfect ground cover, and the taste of the fruit is better than those big things others like to show off with.
The soil down in the South East is still cold and wet so there really is no point me getting on it just yet, also it is a little too early to plant, the potatoes that will go in first and the ‘Charlottes’ they are on the windowsill and have started to move but it is a little too early for us to go in. There is still a lot to do in the garden, today I started weeding around the edge, it will make things look tidy.
My trip to Israel has given me a lot of food for thought about the production of food in the form of vegetables in a city such as Jerusalem where land is very tight. My friends that I stayed with are very lucky to have a small park outside there front gate and I hope there will be vegetables produced in it, but a lot of people live in flats on top of each other and so I was able to see some of the work that is carried out to over come this problem in a small way. I really want to follow up on this subject. It is great to come back and see our rich soil.
We drove down to the Dead Sea area today to have a look at what is going on, I have never seen it look so green, they have had some good rain in Israel this winter and the snow last weekend is a great help to it all, they are going to enjoy a great spring for flowers. We had a walk up though a valley with a great amount of running water. It was a great day to go down and see something that dear Jose would have enjoyed, she died yesterday and is very much going to be missed by me, Jose gave me a great deal of support over the years and enjoyed this blog. Jose started the British Friends of the Botanical Gardens over 30 years ago and has sent over more then 120 students to help in the Botanical Gardens, including me. You will be missed Jose xxx
Yesterday we worked on a bench that we hope will be a part of the Chelsea Fringe, there will be one bench here in the Botanical Gardens in Jerusalem and the other in a school in London. This bench in made from recycled materials and then painted. It is a living bench that we planted, in the base of the planters is a water store, with a wick carring the water up to the plants. We had six great youths helping from a Green Team project and some of the staff from the Botanical Gardens including the Head Gardener, Eli. I also had my friends who I am staying with there, Lior, Ayala, Galbie, Aram. And thanks to all from the Jeresalem HUB. But the special thanks goes to Barbara from the British Friends of the Botanical Gardens, she has not stopped making sure this happens.
The friends that I am staying with in Jerusalem have a park outside their front gate, in a city like this it is a great thing to have some green space. Ayala and Lior and the children moved here about a year ago and now want to do something interesting with the park, so far all they have done is to put in a compost bin for those living around the park to use, it is a very good start I think. Now it is time to really start doing something, I think there is a good area for some fruit trees and another great area for growing vegetables. I will watch this space.