Well, we’ve been very busy down at Chelsea recently and we’ve been lucky enough to welcome a few new people on board. We have three wonderful new volunteers who have joined our team – welcome to Anneka, Georgina and Philippa!
In preparation for winter I am clearing out a previously unused area of office to transform into a storage area and workshop. This will give us a little more indoor space in which to hide from the cold and rain and will also be an area where we can let our creative juices flow. Watch out for our holiday themed wreathes, decorations, flower arrangements etc etc.
We have also gone from having just one session for the Chelsea pensioners on a Monday to two! We now have a morning and an afternoon group who keep me nice and busy (and often laughing uncontrollably).
Wednesdays are our day at East Acton. We have been reorganising the contemplation area which essentially meant ripping out most of the plants (which were looking extremely tatty) and replacing them with pansies, polyanthus, decorative cabbages and other pretty winter plants. The hanging baskets got the same treatment!
Our pond is coming along nicely, we have some lovely aquatic plants in there, one of which I have forgotten the (very obscure) name of and the other which is some form of marginal grass. The whole effort will make a nice swimming pool for our resident rat. Things are currently looking a bit thin on the ground in terms of veg, but we do have some cabbages which will soon be ready to go in. Thankfully we still have carrots coming out of our ears and our peppers are still producing a nice crop. The onions are coming along nicely too. We are also planting broad beans and peas like mad in the greenhouse for later!
Chelsea is looking surprisingly colourful for this time of year. We’ve got a lot of very healthy veg on the go (onions, garlic, potatoes, Jerusalem artichoke, carrots, beans etc) and there are little splashes of colour everywhere thanks to the wallflowers, pansies and polys. It’s such a shame it’s been too wet to work outside and enjoy them recently. We’ve spent more time lurking in the greenhouses planting things or in the shed cooking up a storm.
Our Scran Book is coming along nicely and between Acton and Chelsea we will have a super cookbook ready in no time! I predict that it will soon be whizzing off the shelves in your local Waterstones. Even if this doesn’t happen, it will be a good collection of memories of being too stuffed to move.
Chelsea is not only buzzing with activity in our little garden. The Chelsea pensioners’ allotments are in the process of being moved/rebuilt around our little patch so we have lots of workmen pottering about the place across the wall. Although some of the pensioners are very sad to be losing their old and loved allotments, this exciting new area will become the gardening hub of the Royal Hospital. We’re really excited about this at Gardening Leave Chelsea! Not only because it means I will have on average 80 years of knowledge to call on, but also because we will have the opportunity to make some new friends!
Unfortunately, I’m very sad to say that one of our good friends at the hospital, IP James Taylor has recently passed away. He was very much loved, he and his wonderful sense of humour will be sorely missed.
“Old gardeners never die, they just spade away”