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Kingsbridge Community Garden Autumn Watch in Kingsbridge Community Garden


“When the fair apples, red as evening sky Do bend the tree unto the fruitful ground, When juicy pears, and berries of black dye Do dance in air, and call the eyes around” Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770)


garden area have been laden with red apples and an ancient pear tree against the wall in the lower garden has also provided a delicious crop – ideal for stewing or, with the addition of fresh lemons and sugar, creating an unusual preserve, pear and lemon jam. Rogue blackberries creeping over the high wall at the bottom of the garden have completed the trio of fruits mentioned in Chatterton’s verses and so aptly describing autumn in Thomas Hardy’s novel The Woodlanders. The windfall fruit have, however, brought with them wasps, in abundance. A particu- larly tricky situation arose when a nest was formed behind a knot-hole in a wooden sleeper in the raised bed area, just by the side of the path. Fascinating though it was to see the workers streaming in and out of this natural tunnel, particularly during sun- ny days, action had to be taken to minimise the risk of visitors being stung. Meanwhile the resident bees and visiting butterflies were feasting on the late fuschias and buddleias. Dragonflies regularly appeared over the pond and an elephant hawkmoth was discovered amongst the enchanter’s nightshade in the wild garden. Apparently that plant is its preferred food source. There was a good crop of vegetables too with the runner bean row being particularly popular with


T


he young pre-Romantic poet might well have been describing the fruit harvest in the Community Garden this autumn. The small trees in the cottage


pick‘n’payers, who were also able to harvest a variety of tomatoes and courgettes in the greenhouse and polytunnels. For some reason the red chard, which looked so beautiful when covered with the early morning September dew, proved less popular and as for the lablab beans which grew with such promise – they were a culinary disaster! No one appreciated either the pungent smell of leaves and flowers which pervaded the greenhouse and beyond, or the non-descript taste of the beans. A trial too far it would seem! We look forward however to a bumper crop of sweet potatoes, which like last year have filled one side of the lower polytunnel with luxuriant foliage – and this season


surprisingly soft pink flowers of a convolvulus type. Maintainance work has continued throughout the autumn, improving the access to the lower garden by repairing steps and cutting back the hedges. The willow arch, only replanted in 2015 has had a well-needed pruning back and the actual willow beds have been thoroughly weeded, with ash saplings removed, and dead wood cut out, to allow new whips to form for later harvesting. So many visitors have commented this summer on the pleasure and tranquillity they have found in the garden, with its varied aspects, that we feel that our hard work is rewarded and that the garden continues to prove a genuine asset to the community. We now await the results of the It’s Your Neighbourhood challenge, set by the RHS as part of their Britain in Bloom programme. The judging panel seemed to enjoy their visit too - but we shall see...


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