Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Southwark 1 Lewisham 0

Gardened today with visiting celebrity Tofiq Pasha and Naheed his partner - and given a. the uncertain status of plants in the NX pits and b. that I haven't been back to Dog Kennel Hill for over a year, I decided on the latter as our locale. 

We planted at least 5 Verbena Bonariensis, 2 geum, 1 primrose, 1 strawberry, 1 hardy geranium, 1 Agave (and its offshoots) and 1 Alchemilla in a section almost as if it was prepared for us - albeit with some rock hard ground (suppliers: my garden and my parents' garden). It was really interesting to hear Pasha's stories about other compost conditions and his concern at my weeding and clearing! We also scattered a pack of bee-friendly wild flower seeds (thank you Liz!). After warning these troops for the day that it was likely to be a mess, actually the whole strip was really not bad! The star plants are currently: Iris, Rosemary, Acanthus, Artichoke [thank you Giovanni], Euphorbia, Fennel, Leucanthemum, Echinops, Vinca - and eventually after some strategic weeding around Hollyhock seedlings I found 3 surviving Red Hot Pokers.  I'm not sure what the weeds are [tall dandeliony things, tall probably pink flowering things]: they are ok - good for pollinators, not matting and easy to pull out where they are swamping more desirable plants. But the bad ones pretty much were not there [infernal grass, huge thistles, sticky sweethearts]! 

It is supposed to rain this afternoon. Yes please.

All of that was written then. Here, belatedly, are some of Pasha and Naheed's photos of our guerilla determination to plant. You can't really tell but it was hot and muggy.I've been past a few times and the Agaves are doing well. In the future people will make Tequila on Dog Kennel Hill.

View from the crossing: not exactly Gertrude Jekyll, but it is green.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Lament of the Guerrilla Gardener

Checked in at the New Cross pits today, worrying that someone might have pulled up the lovely extra Rudbeckia I put in last week. Luckily its doing fine. The same cannot be said for the pits in general. There has been a disaster, probably from the hands of Lewisham Council.

Essentially for the first time in ages - at least a year, more than that probably, someone has come and 'tidied up'. This person or persons has temporarily cleared the pits of litter - not much there since I've done them twice in the last 2 weeks. All well and fine (for about a week). They have also sheared back the larger shrubs. Not hugely sympathetic, but ok. What is really tragic and upsetting is that they have pulled up a lot of plants, clearly thinking that they were 'weeds'. 

The missing plants include, at least: 2 x strawberries, 2 x Verbena Bonariensis, all the teasels, 1 Acanthus, 1 geum, 1 large hardy geranium, 1 x fennel, Crocosmia, self-seeded wild carrots, leucanthemum daisies. These are all bee-friendly (Obviously).

They have left large bare spaces around the 'weeded' remaining plants. This means that the soil will dry out much more quickly, and more importantly that the folk who drop litter here will just fill it all up with rubbish (yes, bitter voice of experience here I know). With a range of flowering plants there is a chance that people might just think 'oh, that's looks nice'. 

The big shrubs in the central beds have been wildly cut back. Ok. And the Bay and Fig are still there. But now they have no protection and are vulnerable to the plant vandalism and general fighting/rolling around on the plants that can happen in this neck of the woods. 

Is it worth it, Lewisham, or were you planning on actually planting something nectar and pollen-rich? Frankly I'd like to see you donate some decent plants, as well as better instruct your team.