Lots of us use the old saying ‘putting the garden to bed’ when it comes to this time of the year. Our Gardening Leave gardens at our different sites go through that process at slightly different times – our veterans, staff and volunteers at Royal Hospital Chelsea are several weeks at least behind us here north of the border. It doesn’t mean that we have to make any changes to how we do things, rather that we’re all just at a different point on the horticultural curve. So for us in Glasgow, getting ready for winter is a big part of our week at the moment. At the tiniest hint of sunshine, we’re out in the garden. And if the weather really is too bad for us to be outside, we have our winter plan to get busy with. We’ve been setting out our stall (literally) for our Christmas sales and fairs. We set up a mock display table and, over the weeks, gradually filled it with goodies for selling including bird feeders, bug boxes, Christmas logs for the table, jams, piccalilli and different chutneys amongst other things. All the while arranging and re-arranging our wares so that we made sure we had a varied and attractive selection of items for sale. Over the rest of the winter months we’ll be busy with sorting seeds, making our planting plan for spring and cleaning and organising for the season ahead.
In our newly re-organised wood workshop we’ve been very busy making all sorts of lovely things with Bob our (long suffering) joinery volunteer. Accompanied by constant chatter we’ve had several great days where we’ve all been working together sawing, drilling, hammering and finally painting or staining the finished items.
Iain, our Bonsai volunteer, has been with us for his last visit for this year. But he’s left his ‘pupils’ with some homework and we’ll see him in the spring to pick up where he left off. If we’re lucky, we may replicate our success (a 1st and 2nd) at Ayr Flower Show next year – who knows.
We’re continuing with assessments of veterans who would like to come to GL at Erskine and Grace our CPN has been working through those. We’ve had a couple of lads start and we looked forward to welcoming them. One of them volunteered the information that he likes to make soup. And since we’re well and truly into what we call ‘soup weather’ he may well be fairly busy!
We’ve been lucky enough to have a few beautiful sunny days recently so we’ve taken the opportunity to empty the compost bins cleaning and repairing as we go. The veterans have been busy building a new vegetable bed from re-cycled stone so the compost has been ideal for starting to fill that.
We’ve had a couple of markets and sales which means, of course, we have to work hard between events to replenish everything we’ve sold. And, top of the agenda – putting up our Christmas tree which was kindly donated to us (www.dufftrees.co.uk/) along with decorations from ISS. We really enjoyed our Xmas lunch, especially as Derek, our lovely chef from ISSat Hewlet Packard, offered to come along on the day to demonstrate a few of his skills, whilst Brian across at the hospital eased the burden on our small kitchen by cooking our turkey. For our veterans and volunteers, the xmas lunch is a great opportunity to get together to catch up with each other and to meet new veterans who have started with us.
We hope you are keeping warm and looking forward to spending time with family or friends. Have a peaceful Christmas when it arrives.
Wendy and Karen