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Newark: Get gardening with Gillie building bamboo wigwams for sweet peas

I’m all behind with my sowing and planting. You will have read that my lovely George passed away last month. One of my Flower Farmer friends said that what George didn’t know about growing, you didn’t need to know, writes Gillie Wilkinson.

He was all about the flowers. I’m more into vegetables but I do love my flowers too.

All the peonies and dahlias are in large pots on the patio waiting for James and me to clear the front garden ­— all the “stuff” from the allotment is still sat there ­— and remove the stone chip.

Gillie Wilkinson of Eaton Growers Associaton. (5160178)
Gillie Wilkinson of Eaton Growers Associaton. (5160178)

Once that is done we can decide what is going where.

I have a few shrubs and some other perennials that will be permanent and all the gaps will be filled with annuals.

I’ve got a lot of 8ft bamboo canes and some of these will be formed into wigwams for sweet peas. I’ve had to put them into bigger pots as they are growing rather quickly now and I’m not ready to plant them out.

Blossom in Sconce Park. (46692115)
Blossom in Sconce Park. (46692115)

I’m also going to grow runner beans in the front garden. They are pretty and my front gets quite a lot of sun. I might even grow some other veg there too.

James has redesigned the back garden so that we can cram as many vegetables in as possible but also have some flowers for pollination.

The small polytunnel didn’t come through the winter very well. The winds did quite a bit of damage.

It now has a new life at the far end of the garden.

Huge sunflower head. (46692109)
Huge sunflower head. (46692109)

At the end of March an email arrived from the British Hens Welfare Trust. Lockdown was easing and the avian flu lockdown was being lifted and the next re-homing Newark date was April 3.

James scrubbed out the hut and I repainted it. It is now covered with chicken wire which is dug in round the edges and bricks put all round. It is stapled to the hut and he’s made a door.

It now houses four little girls who are just starting to grow nice new feathers and have presented us with quite a few eggs.

Blossom on the Bloody Ploughman apple tree. (46692113)
Blossom on the Bloody Ploughman apple tree. (46692113)

My tomatoes got hit with blight last year and the year before. This year some are going in the front garden, some near my cordon fruit trees, some in the polytunnel and the rest in the greenhouse.

With a bit of luck, I will get a few apples from my trees.

The pear tree blossom got hit by frost this year so no pears for me.

I will have to remember to drape them with fleece next year if frost is forecast.

George loved sunflowers so I’ve got lots of different ones to plant. Our great-granddaughter has sown some to go in pots on the window sill and had some seed from the huge one I grew a couple of years ago.

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