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Volunteers' Blog - November & December 2022

Although the weather has fluctuated from unseasonably warm to unseasonably cold the Volunteers have continued to be active in the Garden and beyond.

In November the Volunteers joined other groups, in a marquee on Palace Green, as part of a Community Fun Day organised by the University. Peter Thompson, newly installed as Garden Manager, provided a selection of plants which were distributed around the marquee. Children visiting the event were given a quiz sheet and set off to find and name the different plants, in doing so dragging their parents round the various stalls belonging to other groups. As with the Chick Hunt, those who completed their sheets were rewarded, in this case with a small sweet. We met and chatted to many visitors and extolled the virtues of becoming a Friend of the Garden.

Back in the Garden we have continued to work tidying the paths. Weeds from the sides of the paths stretching down towards Fungate have been removed and we have continued to work at keeping the block paving weed free. The Cherry Circle and steps in the Winter Garden have been regularly swept. This latter job allowing us to admire the new planting in the Winter Garden which includes a Cornus (dogwoods) collection and Daphne. The different varieties of Cornus with their bright stems will provide some attractive winter colour whist the scent of the Daphne flowers is an unexpected joy during the colder months. We have also been able to observe the development of the Japanese Garden, including the new bridge, constructed in memory of Mike Hughes.

Inside, the seed cleaners, sorters and packers have been hard at work ensuring that there will be a plentiful supply of seeds in the Visitors Centre. We have also laboured in the green houses tidying up the cacti and weeding around the pond. As in the rest of the garden hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsute) seems to be everywhere, more of a surprise was the large nettle (Urtica dioica) hiding amongst the papyrus (Cyperus papyrus).

The Marie Curie charity donated over a thousand daffodil bulbs to the Garden. Joining forces with Peter and his team the Volunteers planted the bulbs in the grass bank within the Garden carpark. A plaque to record this gift is to be placed at the edge of the bank. No doubt come the spring this will be a lovely sight that will continue to develop over the years.

There is always much to do in a garden as large and diverse at the University Botanic Garden. Knowing we are contributing to the upkeep of the Garden whilst working in such a beautiful environment makes Volunteering such a pleasure as well as a sociable activity. If you would like to join us, we meet every Wednesday at 10:00 am, where you will be made most welcome.

Alex Taylor