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Volunteers' Blog - May 2019

This month’s blog is more of a pictorial diary than an essay allowing you to see, as well as read, about the work of the Volunteers.

The beginning of May saw the Volunteers deadheading daffodils in glorious sunshine. Starting on the plants leading to the entrance to the Visitor Centre we then moved on to work on the large area between Wildflower Meadow and Woodland and Pond Garden.

The following week was very wet and dismal, with little discussion necessary a unanimous decision was made to have an early coffee break before commencing work indoors. As always, the tidying up and re stocking of the seeds in the Visitor Centre was required, and the money from donations for seeds was counted. For those not wishing to get their hands dirty, counting money, Mike Hughes had lots of plants that needed potting on. These included the Castor Oil plant Ricinus communis, Spanish Broom Spartium junceum, Tree Echium Echium pininana, a native of the Canary Islands, and Dahlia ‘Bishop’s Children’. The Broom and Bishop’s Children being prepared for sale at the Friends Plant Sale.

The following information, culled from online sources, I pass on for your enlightenment and interest:

Dahlia Bishops Children: A fiery mix of such striking colour, yet with the innocent flower faces of Bishop's Children. Mid-height, and blends extremely well into borders. However, be warned that a colour eruption may occur! Spectacular in bedding and containers, and as a cut flower. Height: 60-75cm (24-30 inches). Planting distance 12-18 inches.

Culinary note: All dahlia flowers and tubers are edible. The flavours and textures can vary greatly depending on the soil and conditions in which they were grown. Flavours range from water chestnut through to a spicy apple or even carrot.

The latter part of the month saw more fine weather enabling us to again work outside. There was more deadheading of daffodils and we also worked in the Woodland and Pond Garden where the Candelabra Primula are looking especially fine this year. Additional Primula plants were planted, and horsetails, which have become rampant, were removed…….. for now. Those of you plagued with this interesting ancient plant will know how tenacious it can be once it has got a hold!

As always, a morning with the Volunteers would not be complete without a hot drink, convivial conversation and perhaps even a very large slice of cake!!

Alex Taylor.