Last month was another busy month at Auchincruive as the hardworking team from ISS transformed the terrace to a fantastic growing space with numerous raised beds and level paths to make life easier for everyone. Truckloads of sand and soil were delivered and transferred to beds using wheelbarrows and a lot of muscle power. We are especially grateful to Hugh, Henry, Andrew and team who kept smiling throughout whatever the weather.
Gardening continued throughout October despite all the machinery and mud! We have sown broad beans, sweet peas and successional sowings of lettuce and herbs. Harvesting continued from the original raised beds, the mild weather has ensured continual growth of salad crops and veterans are still harvesting salad leaves, herbs, turnips and carrots to make salad bags for Su Casa and the poultry shop.
Onions and garlic are already transplanted into the freshly painted raised beds and we will continue to plant crops into November. The first terrace looks lovely as old bedding has been removed and replaced with bulbs and sweet william which we can look forward to in the spring. Tubs of tulip, daffodil and crocus have also been planted into pots to sell on at Christmas fayres. The forced hyacinth are already showing signs of growth. The ornamental garden was given a makeover by a veteran from Hollybush House and is also looking much tidier.
In the wild flower garden we have planted out honesty, hardy annuals and clyde thistle plants, sown during the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, to flower next year. The area around this wild life garden is also looking great thanks to volunteers from the Air Training Squadron.
Woodwork continues in the Stovehouse where our woodwork volunteers work alongside veterans to help and encourage. This month they are busy making wall planters, bird boxes, bug boxes which are very popular, wheelbarrows and colourful butterfly houses not to mention a re-cycled table for a fellow veteran who has recently moved house. Logs have been sawn and are drying out ready for use. Once again it is time to use the willow grown on the estate that has been drying out since last January. The techniques need practice and it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, however so far we have made some woven bases for holly wreaths and obelisks.
We have also been very busy making jams and chutneys to sell at Christmas fayres and have made jars of all colours and descriptions including:- apple and elderberry, green tomato, gooseberry, and spicy apple chutneys, Christmas marmalade, gooseberry jam, redcurrant and rosemary jelly and even experimented with a banana flavoured parsnip spread used in WW2 when bananas were scarce. We were very grateful for a large batch of soft fruit donated by Cecilia a GL supporter.
We received a very warm welcome from Dunlop church guild this month and after a talk about our work at Gardening Leave were presented with a cheque for £60 together with proceeds from an auctioned picture and sales of plants. The group were interested to hear about the honesty campaign and happily signed honesty pledges.
We were delighted to welcome a group of ISS volunteers complete with machinery, a team from Strathclyde and Glasgow universities air training squadron USGAS and a photographer from the Ayrshire Post, who all worked non- stop to complete hard landscaping, painting raised beds, digging the Stovehouse border and taking great pictures. Shug made the soup ( four different flavours) served in the Stovehouse which kept everyone nourished and Colin took the in-house pictures. Thanks to all who gave their time and energy to make this fantastic day possible and greatly improved our working space at Auchincruive with raised beds and increased accessibility to horticulture for all veterans.
Until next month
Victoria and Pamela