Erskine Newsletter

April 2015

Erskine greenhouses getting ready for spring

Cheered by a couple of beautifully bright sunny days early on, we have been galvanised into action here at GL Glasgow site.  Seed sowing in earnest has begun now that the frame of the largest of our greenhouses has been scrubbed clean and the glass put back in. The medium greenhouse, which you may remember was very kindly donated to us last autumn, has also had its glass put back.  With some minor repairs to our smallest plastic house, all three are now fully functioning and are filling up by the day. So far we have all manner of tomatoes (we’re really going for variety this year!) courgettes, peas and beans, kale and spinach, lettuce and mixed leaves, basil, leeks and spring onions.  Most of which has been very kindly donated by Franchi Seeds. And we’ve put in the first of our early tatties in the newly constructed raised bed outside.  We have also started off sunflowers, aquilegias, sweet peas, Nicotiana and more.

The polytunnel is slowly emptying of its overwintering occupants as we move things back outside but is filling up with seed trays and pots just as quickly. Our rhubarb is growing away nicely in there too.

Here at Glasgow recently we have been on the receiving end of several very generous, and very humbling, donations.  And although we always send a thank you note, on a lovely sunny day last week we took a run out to go and thank two of them in person.  One of them has been a long time supported of GL and last month made us their ‘charity of the month’ for the third time and since they weren’t very far away, we thought we should go and shake their hands.

Watering the wildflower seeds

We’re continuing to develop the shady wildlife garden too. The beds have been topped up and fed, planted with more bluebells, plants  and shrubs, and one area seeded with wildflowers courtesy of a very generous donation of wildflower seed packs from Kew, The Royal Botanic Gardens as part of their ‘Grow Wild Campaign’ supported by the Big Lottery Fund.

Smartie birthday cake for chef Derek

Our very smart new compost bins are now in-situ and working hard already. The project has very much been a team effort on the part of the veterans – from building them to painting to clearing the new site and using pyrography for the re-vamped signs. Alongside the bins we have our wire containers for leaf mould together with one ton bags of compost we’ve had from the council recycling depot.  Combined we should have the ingredients for a very good mix indeed.

Our regular monthly visit from chef Derek was on cake and scone baking. And yes, of course, we had to sample the goods – using our own home made raspberry jam and fresh cream. It was Derek’s birthday so we made him a birthday cake. But not just any old birthday cake – the centre was filled with smarties so when he cut into it, ta da ! the smarties all came tumbling out ! A few of the lads from Auchincruive  came up to join in and it was lovely to see them.

In the woodwork area we’ve been sanding and painting or varnishing benches, making more bird and bug boxes – oh and a very posh bug hotel. We made our first owl box thanks to help and printed instructions from our Auchincruive site. Our bonsai table has had a re-build by one of our veterans and is resplendent in its new paint colour which shows off the trees and plants beautifully. What started out as a paint job ended  up with rotting strips being replaced, sanded, new feet made and fitted too. Our lovely bonsai volunteer Iain is now back regularly once a month so we’ll be keen to hear his verdict on the table.

We’ve been having our regular fortnightly sale across in the main Hospital building. Even this early in the season our varied range of merchandise makes our table look (we hope) inviting. We had the first of our veg and flower seedlings for sale last week.  We also had preserves too, piccalilli and chutney as well as bird feeders, bug boxes, our cards and notelets, our own poppy and honesty seeds both presented in their very attractive envelopes. Word has been going round our neighbours that we needed jars and folk have very kindly started returning them and handing more into us. We’ve sold out again so we need to make more preserves and jam.

Kitchen looking bright

Our kitchen and work area has been having a fresh coat of paint after a major tidy up. It was a big job as we had to empty the various areas but it looks very bright and clean now. Huge thanks to the veterans and volunteers who made it happen. Amazing what a bit of sunshine can do for activity levels and motivation. As always, we couldn’t manage without our brilliant volunteers. They have been swopping days and filling in when we’ve needed them – so a huge thank you to Derek, Graeme and Bob.

Wendy and Karen

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