Monday, 4 July 2016

Cross Country

Finally I've been back to the pits of New Cross - aided and abetted by Rosie, guerrilla gardener of the highest order. Actually we started at 'her' patch  - the triangle of scrub land near the Sainsburys carpark now covered in wild flowers, chicory, lavender and hardy geraniums (pics to follow). I had pooh-poohed that patch as a lost cause of desolation a couple of years ago, but she has persisted, combatting Sainsburys' habit of mowing over the 'weeds' and got them to stop that nonsense. Apparently they even conceded to plant a tree in the middle of it, which is ok. Anyway she cleared away some of the poppies that had gone over and I brought down some more iris foetidissima and a pink hardy geranium. 

Next up - arms weighed down with the plants I've set by (planted up in heavy London clay), we set off for the pits near the bus stops and shops. This time we concentrated only on the first and largest pit - also the most filthy. Rosie spent over an hour digging out some very tenacious matting type of weed (thus giving the self-seeded sunflowers there some room to grow). 

I did the litter clear up as well as some rough and ready pruning back - of tatty Acanthus leaves, and of the unknown shrubs that were crowding 'my' Fig, Holly and Bay (all of which are otherwise happily growing). R planted a red hot poker, 2 batches of crocosmia, and a penstemon as well as some roots of chicory and rudbeckia. A very nice young man from the Yip Oriental Store gave us water for them. Really hoping no-one a. yanks them up, or b. has a fight on them. Despite the amount of time we spent - and great work was done - there's a lot more weeding and pruning to be done. In fact I went back a couple of days later and put in another day lily, another verbena, and did another whole sack of weeding and pruning. That said the middle 2 pits are doing quite well - they are overcrowded with self-sown flowers and tenacious matting weeds (still) but mostly good. 

Spot the Fig tree thriving in the middle here...

 The Holly and Bay are both doing great at the back of this pit.

The pit at the end nearest the London Particular gets a lot of vandalism (urination?) but the rudbeckia Rosie donated about 3 years ago is going strong.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Botanising the asphalt

New Year's Day 2016. Thought it was Time to revisit NX pits.  

Above: the biggest pit. The Acanthus has come into its own and is now swamping a hardy geranium which really should be moved. As a temporary measure I cut back a few leaves on the Acanthus. The Jack Daniels was underneath it, along with a load of other trash. Several blokes eyed that bottle and didnt dare pick it up. Yet. On the other side I just pulled out a few dead sunflowers and transplanted some of the zillion teasels. 

Below, in one of the middle beds, the Fig tree is making it! Obviously there should not be any leaves on it, but 2015 was the hottest year on record and December stupidly warm. This is the bed with the zillion teasels. I spread them around a bit, but there are still way too many. You can't quite see but the blue thistle - echinops - I planted maybe 2 years ago just beyond the irises is also bedding in well. They seem to be fussy at first and then invincible. Forgot to take a pic of the other side - I added in a pink japanese anemone and more transplanted teasels.

In the next pit along, below, you can see the leucanthemum doing nicely and also flowering 4 months later than normal. Just behind it is a small Holly tree I put in during the summer (its a great plant - but as it turns out is viciously prickly and we already have at least two in our new Telegraph Hill garden). On the right is the summer burnt but now recovering bay tree and in the middle a small hydrangea I rescued from a neighbour's bin [!].  

There's Rosie's red hot pokers growing away. Again these should be dug up and replanted really as it has rudbeckia all mixed up in it but its kind of weird enough doing basic public gardening here (with no-one speaking to me except to say 'where is the station?' - not one 'Happy New Year' or indeed much eye contact). Also, I'm not used to 7 degrees when it has been 13 or so for December, so my hands were actually getting cold. I added in the primrose from our garden today and noted the wild carrot seedlings.

Yeah. Rubbish. Two full binloads of bottles, cans, paper, pens, takeaways, and umbrella and a rank pair of shoes. The least fun bit of planting in NX. Euw.