the Garden Project
Garden Project Lead, Charlotte, went on maternity leave in April, and we were all delighted to hear that she had a gorgeous, healthy baby boy. I’m Rachael, and I’m very happy to be running the Garden Project while Charlotte is away. I have been warmly welcomed and supported by wonderful Sydenham Garden staff, Co-workers, Trustees and Volunteers and have enjoyed settling into this exciting role.
We have had a busy, bright and beautiful Spring in the garden at Wynell Road. The past few months have been incredibly dry, and lots of our time in all four of our sessions has been spent watering our precious crops. It has been interesting to see which plants are coping well with the heat and lack of rain and which have struggled. Many seedlings have been very slow to get going, and others have bolted (started to flower) prematurely. Our sweet peas are well and truly off and up now though, and we were excited to spot the first flower buds. Our rainbow chard is the gift that keeps giving, and we have harvested armfuls of this delicious crop every week, for our co-workers to take home and enjoy for a healthy dinner. Salads and herbs too have been bountiful and we can hardly keep up with the picking. The broad beans are ready now – we have all been watching them swell by the day. We are looking out for some tasty recipes for our next community lunch. We have also been trying out some more ‘exotic’ crops, such as Oca (a South American plant with edible tubers) and ginger root, which we hope will give us beautiful flowers and some tender stem ginger later in the year. We made the most of the short elderflower season in one of our groups, and foraged for the highly scented flowers in our nature reserve. Our Monday group has made the most delicious, refreshing cordial, which we enjoyed drinking in our break.
Thanks to fantastic planning months ahead by the garden team, and some serious propagation and organisation, we managed to raise a fantastic sum of £882.95 from our greenhouse plant sale at the Spring fair. We had a gorgeous display of perennials, herbs, vegetables and annual flowers. Tomatoes, cosmos and violas were very popular and sold out quickly. Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to get it all ready and who ran the stall on the day, and to all the lovely customers who bought plants and supported our work. We have seen lots of our co-workers graduate, after their year in the garden, with new found skills, confidence and a great sense of achievement. It has been fantastic to hear how far they have come on their journeys – remembering their first days and weeks at Sydenham Garden. We continue to welcome new co-workers to the garden, with brilliant care and support from our volunteer teams, and look forward to a productive summer, growing our garden together.