By Nick Condron
October experienced heavy rains that rapidly transformed our ever faithful garden once more. The browned and exhausted grassed areas were rejuvenated and are once more a rich swathe of lush green. There’s still time for making final cuts of the year on dry days and whilst it’s still warm enough for growth, it’s the ideal time for all the other lawn maintenance jobs of autumn to repair summer wear and tear.
Scarifying with a good rake, lawn mower attachment or purpose power tool to remove all the debris and moss is the task to begin with. Follow this by aerating with a hollow-tine aerator which will extract plugs of soil, or spike with a garden fork at 10-15cm intervals. Finish off by top dressing and filling the holes with a blend of three parts sandy loam, six parts sharp sand and one part leaf mould that you can mix together yourself or purchase ready-made.
We’ve been pressing on with our garden memorial to our dear friend and work colleague Tim Mountford aka Tim Edwards, who very sadly passed away due to the coronavirus back in April. The three grass circles that Tim left to grow naturally earlier in the year have been marked out by Joe into pie-like slices, each with sufficient holes for those wishing to plant a hundred grape hyacinth bulbs. The largest will contain 1000, the middle one 600, and the smallest 400. When they flower in April and May we hope their bright blue flowers, in recognition of Tim’s support for Portsmouth football club and his beloved Italian Azzurri national team, will be a fitting tribute to all that Tim most generously gave the Garden Gate and all of us.
Elsewhere in the garden, Jeff has been busy applying his expert carpentry and wood working skills to transforming our lean-to bike cover into a secure tool store, complete with well organised hooks throughout and a good, solid door that really looks the part. This enables us to free up the big shed next door to become a new covered project space, that will be invaluable in light of our need to socially distance for the foreseeable future whist sheltering from the worst of the weather this winter. Once Paul has dried it out we’ll be refreshing the ceiling with a lick of a suitably tasteful shade of pink, and picking out the joists in bitter chocolate to complement the characterful peeling yellow on the walls that remind us of its former glory as our original tea cabin.